Not sure what it was but i had a constant itch of moving to the next place after I recovered from my food poisoning in Antigua. The problem was that i also had big problems deciding on where to go. I had kind of already made a list of places I wanted to see in Guatemala, the only place that i was really super excited to go to on the list was Semuc Champey which is kind of North. In the end i skipped Chichi and Xela, did three quick but restless days by Lake Atitlan and after that I finally made my way up to Semuc Champey.
For you that read my previous post on how to get to Semuc Champey have also read that i stayed in a place called Utopia Eco Hotel or more hostel if i get to say my view... This place is just in the best place ever if you want peace and quiet in the middle of the forest, next to a river where you can go swimming when you need to cool down. I stayed in the dorm which only had walls on two sides of the room, the other sides were completely open except for a banister. This made it really airy and you could always hear the river. Its not in the Semuc Champey nature reserve but its just 3 km away, just a perfect 45 minute hike if you want to walk to the pools. Other then walking to the pools, swim in the river, do a chocolate tour, read a book, stare out in the never ending forest or just socialise with fellow travellers then there is not much to do. Except for the Semuc Champey tour that is, this is a must and it was so much fun!
The tour started at 10 am, just a perfect time so I had plenty of time to enjoy a lazy breakfast and a couple of coffees before take off. At 10 am we all got scrambled together on the back of a 4*4 which would take us to the start off point. Here we got ready by stripping off, just wearing our swim gear and what ever footwear people wore. A very very sexy look on any person! To accompany the outfit of swimwear and in my case trainers, we were also kitted with a candle each. It was time to enter the water filled, very dark caves.This candle would be our only source of light entering the caves which would take approx 2 hours to get through...
It was a easy walk in knee deep water at first but then it got a bit more challenging. There were times where we had to swim with our candles and at this point a Canadian girl realised that one of the guys in the group couldn't swim since he all of the sudden just latched on to her, taken by surprise she basically sunk under the water for a few seconds... I did appreciate her warning when she told us to stay away from this guy, still couldn't help to laugh a bit! After a while we reached a wall with loads of water gushing down. It was time to do some climbing with the help of a rope and the tiniest steps that was spread very far apart for my short legs. I have to admit that i completely failed on the first try, I slipped on the third step and just hung on to the rope for dear life for what I felt was forever but was more like 10 seconds max. Managed to get down again, had another go and with the very impatient guide shouting at me to keep right i finally made it to the top.
Next step was to lower yourself in to a tiny tunnel with even more water gushing down. Being the second person go down the tunnel with not much explanation from the guide, I got hanging on to some rocks with about all the water in the world just gushing in to my poor ears and nose. I had no clue how far down it was or if i should keep left or right, so my instinct just made me hold on! Finally the guide screamed that i should keep left and just let go. I felt somewhat stupid what i did let go and realised that it was less then a half meter drop in to waist high water!!!
After everyone was through the tunnel or for the one's who didn't want to had taking the steps down then we continued even further in to the caves. Finally we reached a big pool and for the ones who wanted to jump in to the pool they could do so. First a 4 meter steep climb up the wall and then a quick jump down. I'm normally up for this but this time i just couldn't bother!
This was the end of our journey in the cave and now we just had to go the same way back as we came. When we all came out of the cave i was surprised that no one lost their candle...
Now when we done the caves it was time to get on a super big swing and jump in to the river! Easy piecy and very fun! At least most people thought it was fun, except for the girl who somehow managed to get a bit to high and land flat on her belly with a huge splash -she was sore!!!
After the swing they took us to for me a very not to impressive waterfall, just so people could take pictures. A bit pointless in my opinion!
But what we did next made up for the boring waterfall! Now it was time to jump in to the river from a 12 meter high bridge:) After some short instructions from our guide on where to jump and where not to jump unless you want to jump on to some pretty big rocks, it was time... A local kid that must have been around 7 or 8 years old cut in front of us all, climbed up on the side of the bridge, shouted "FUCKING BUENO" and jumped!!! Some of the guys in the group followed quickly and then it was time for me to climb up on the banister, it was not yesterday i done a 12 meter jump but i thought that this will be no props. But getting up on the banister it felt more like 30 meters then 12 and I hesitated big time. But me being me, I had to do it, so with a countdown from the group I finally took the leap and jumped. Ohhhh it was fun!
After the bridge it was time for all you can eat BBQ with tons of salads, guacamole, tortillas and more. It was all so tasty and after i think we all were ready for a nap.
But no time for a nap, as soon as last person finished her plate we had to get up on our feet and hike up to the mirador of the Semuc Champey pools. This was a steep half an hour, extremely sweaty hike leading you up a mix of trail and stairs. So worth it though, the view was amazing even if it was kind of a hazy day. Then we had about a ten minute walk to the rewarding cool down in the Semuc Champey pools. Here we swam around from pool to pool for about an hour or so, just chilled and enjoyed the cool temperature of the water.
We were now ready for the final element of the tour, tubing back to the hotel/hostel, which you had to pay extra for so not everyone joined in. So with a inner tube of a tire and a beer in hand I entered the cold water of the river again. One thing that surprised me here was that at first it was only me and a German girl who bought a beer to bring on the journey down the river. I thought the boys would be quicker to purchase a beverage. But when people seen the beers in our mine and the German girl's hand then many was quick to follow!
The tubing took us through calm water, some rougher water and some strong current in places. It was a bit nerve wrecking to see the guy that couldn't swim joining on this adventure as well. I mean its not like you get a life west so if you can't swim and let go of the tube then you kind of screwed! Luckily the guy held on and didn't fall, we had two girls that fell off and one of them had a really bad fall were she crashed in to some big rocks and then she lost her tube. She caught a ride with someone else until a guy managed to get a hold of her tube again. There was tears but thank god she was away from me so didn't have to deal with it, oh Im a horrible person!!!
About 45 minutes later we were back at the hostel, I could have easily continued for the same amount of time. It was just so relaxing to lean back and just let the water take you down the river. Ok sometimes you needed to paddle with your arms like a maniac to avoid crashing in to tree trunks or rocks and sometimes you needed to keep your behind up high to ensure it wouldn't scrape against big rocks under the water but other then that it was very tranquil!!
Semuc Champey tour: GTQ 185/ USD 24/ EUR 21.50
Tubing: GTQ 60/ USD 8/ EUR 7
BBQ: GTQ 50/ USD 6.50/ EUR 5.50
I decided that it was time for a career break. So handed in my notice to the company who I worked with for the last ten years. It's time to pack my bag and depart from Amsterdam which been my home town for the last 4.5 years. -"Amsterdam, it's not you it's me and I need a break!". Read more
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