Bedraggled and tired after a 10 hour crawling bus journey around Guatemala’s infamous winding roads, we perched on a tree stump with fresh fruit juice in hand. The view in front of us had made the last 10 hours worth it, as we looked out over the jungle as the sun began to set. We’d finally made it to our destination Utopia, in the middle of the mountainous Guatemalan countryside!After leaving the celebrations of Semana Santa in Antigua, we headed north to Lanquin, a tiny spec of buildings surrounded by rolling, forest covered hills. From Lanquin, we (along with 10 other hardy souls), jumped into the back of a 4×4 truck, crushed together with our backpacks as we made the final 30 minute ride along some of the bumpiest and steepest hills we’d faced. Luxury this was not.
But we hadn’t come for comfort, we’d come to see what would become some of the most impressive natural sights we’ve seen!
We were staying close to Semuc Champey, an area blessed with natural wonders, from trekking through lush forest, to swimming in crystal clear turquoise pools and exploring water filled caves by candlelight!
After our exciting (and slightly dangerous!) cave tour in Semuc Champey, it was time for some relaxation in the nearby lagoons of Semuc Champey. After gingerly making our way across a very ‘rustic’ and rather precarious bridge with only a few wooden planks, we made the short hike up into the valley towards the lagoons. As we approached, we caught our first glimpse of the crystal clear, turquoise coloured water glistening against the sunlight through the trees, paradise! As we got closer we noticed layer upon layer of pools, each one flowing into the other.When water looks as inviting as this, there’s really only one thing to do…I don’t think Barry’s ever looked this enthusiastic about swimming…With one natural pool flowing into the next, each teeming with fish, it’s worth bringing a pair of goggles and snorkel if you have them. With so many pools to choose from, you’re going to need at least a couple of hours here. We would recommend half a day after you’ve been caving by candlelight in the nearby caving system.After relaxing and exploring the various lagoons, it was time to make the climb up to the top of the valley to get a bird’s eye view. It may seem like a long way up, but with wooden walkways and stairs to aid you, the hike is worthwhile to fully appreciate the stunning lagoons below!Semuc Champey is breathtaking. And whilst it’s not easy to get to, the bruises from your jeep and bus journey will fade, aided in no small part by the soothing turquoise lagoons and fresh fruit smoothies on offer! Throw in some candlelit caving, river tubing and organic chocolate making, and you could end up spending a lot longer here then first planned.