There are plenty of reasons, why you should travel to wonderful ancient Guatemala! Some of them are:
- fairytale landscapes like not from this world and gorgeous nature
- strong Maya culture
- tremendous ancient Maya temples in lush jungle
- delicious dishes made of tortillas, beans, plantains, vegetables, eggs and tasty corn drinks
- ancient colonial cities
- active volcanoes
- great handicrafts
- and so much more…
After you have read this articles, I´m sure you are really thinking about traveling through Guatemala
Places to visit:
- Lago Atitlan
- Western highlands (Chichicastenango, Rabinal, Salamá,..)
- Lanquin and Semuc Champey
- El Remate, Flores
- Climbing volcanoes, e.g. Volcano Pacaya or Acatenango
- Wandering trough lush jungle to a natural wonder in Semuc Champey
- Visiting Maya ruins – the most impressive one is Tikal
- Exploring the ancient (and most beautiful city in Central America) Antigua
- Enjoying the tranquility and peace in El Remate by the Lago Petén Itzá
- Get to know the vibrant Maya culture and visiting the biggest handicraft market in Chichicastenango
- Driving along deadly roads in the western highlands
- Relax and eat good food in the small colonial city Flores
Lanquin and Semuc Champey
After I spent some relaxing and active days (kayaking, visiting other villages around the lake) at Lago Atitlan, I continued my journey by shuttle bus to Lanquin, where I planned to meet a friend of mine, who was also travelling around Central America during this time.
In the early morning, I drove back to Antigua, and from there via Guatemala City to Lanquin, which is really in the middle of nowhere. The whole journey took around 12 hours and costed about 40 $.
When we arrived, I didn´t see where I was, because it was already dark; but the next day, when I woke up, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of tropical nature in this place!
But now to the beginning:
When I arrived, Thomas, my friend, was already there, awaiting me in the hostel “Zephyr”. But we didn´t really like it (too loud and too many people). So we decided to go to another hostel, which was a bit downhill, directly by the river – it was way calmer and cheaper here. Not too many people around and no party all the night 😉 The name is “Oasis – the Traveller”. It was a nice, relaxing and personal atmosphere here.
They offer some small huts, distributed on their hilly area, close to the river and surrounded by pure nature. The main hut is a bit bigger and serves also as restaurant, bar and reception. The food here is quite good, and you can enjoy a beer or two in the evening.
The next day, we went by Cheep to the close Nature Reserve Semuc Champey. This means: “there, where the water hides”. By car it´s a journey of around 40 minutes, and if you stand during the bumpy and windy ride on the back of the Cheep, you can gaze at the beautiful and unreal seeming scenery around you.
Be careful! Some of the guys who offer to bring you there charge way to much. Normally you pay around 4 $. Some even take you there for free on their Cheep, if they anyways travel this way. On the way back, we also hitchhiked 😉
Semuc Champey is just a natural paradise, where you can wander around, relax and swim in very special and gorgeous, by nature formed turquoise blue limestone pools! The turquoise colour is just so intensive that it seems unreal, and the surrounding green of the jungle helps, to form a very sharp contrast.
You can swim and dive with fish, get under some small waterfalls, and there are even some small limestone caves, that can be discovered!
Make sure, you don´t get to close to this hole (that´s where the name comes from “there, where the water hides”). We have heard, that some people fell inside, and were never found again!
After swimming and relaxing some time, we were wandering up the limestone cliffs. There is a small path up, and after around 40 to 45 minutes, you reach a platform, from where you will have a fantastic view to the jungle paradise all around you! The blue sky, green jungle and turquoise water pools below you, are matching perfectly.
After a whole day of exploring everything, we made our way back, first by foot. This little friend followed us for some time.
We crossed rivers, and walked uphill, along the dirt road, that led to the village Lanquin. Perfect sceneries have shown up!
Back in the village Lanquin, we ate something and reflected the day. There are some good restaurants, with really cheap, delicious and typical Guatemalan food! Moreover, there are some churches, a weekend market, a bakery with tasty little cakes and some little grocery stores.
A very special day, full of adventures, new experiences and natural wonders ended. Next adventures are awaiting!
Thanks for reading!
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