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Semuc Champey Pools – Lanquín, Guatemala

Semuc Champey, Guatemala
A view of Semuc Champey from the Mirador viewpoint

Semuc Champey is a natural attraction tucked away in the mountains of an isolated jungle in Guatemala. Situated in the town of Lanquín, get ready for a bumpy ride if you plan on visiting the pools. Semuc Champey sits above the Cahabón River, in an area where the harder rock on the surface has held strong while the river eroded the softer rock beneath. Now the pools sit a brilliant turquoise color while the muddy river runs beneath them and out the bottom of a large waterfall on the other end. The water in the pools is all rain water, which is why it’s so clear, unless it rains extremely hard for a long period of time, in which case the river may flood over the pools as well.

If you’d like to visit the pools, you can stay in Lanquín at El Retiro Lodge which is pretty cool, or at El Portal which is a short walk from the Semuc Champey park, as well as the nearby caves. If you stay in Lanquín expect about a 30 minute transfer to and from Semuc Champey. It’s easy to get there, but plan for the extra time, although you need to do the same ride to get to El Portal anyways. If you stay in Lanquín you have access to the town (no ATM’s as of July 2010), and if you stay out by Semuc Champey you get to stay in the middle of nowhere, you can count on only 4 hours of generator powered electricity per day (6pm-10pm). Hostels are really nice, both are located directly on the river, and both offer all the same tours for the same price.

If you come from Antigua, you can try book a package tour with transport, tours, and accommodation included. We seemed to have gotten a good price doing this compared to others who booked separately.

The Cahabon River going underground in Semuc Champey, Guatemala
The Cahabon River going underground. Don’t get too close, according to our guide in the mid 90’s a tourist slipped while taking a photo, his friend tried to grab him and they both got sucked under to come out 45 days later in pieces
Jumping into the deeper pools of Semmuc Champey
Jumping into the pools of Semuc Champey
Waterfalls dropping into the middle pool of Semuc Champey, Lanquin
The middle pool and some waterfalls
Inside a Guatemalan waterfall at Semuc Champey, Lanquin
Playing in the falls on the way through the pools
Semuc Champey from inside the jungle, Lanquin, Guatemala
A peakaboo view of the pools through the trees
The big waterfall of Semuc Champey and where the Cahabon River comes back to the surface
The big waterfall at the end and where the river re-surfaces. My spanish is not great, but from what I understood our guide said 500 people have died jumping off this??? I wouldn’t try it

Semuc Champey Videos

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