We were bedraggled and tired after our 10 hour crawling bus journey around Guatemala’s infamous winding roads. But the view in front of us had made the last 10 hours worth it. We had made it to the natural monument Semuc Champey!

semuc champey

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. From Lanquin, we jumped into the back of a 4×4 truck. All of us crushed together with our backpacks, we made the final 30 minute ride along some of the bumpiest and steepest hills we’d faced.

Luxury this was not!

utopia hostel

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!

Paradise at the natural monument Semuc Champey

We were staying close to the natural monument Semuc Champey, an area blessed with natural wonders. There is so much to do here. You can trek through lush forest, or swim in crystal clear turquoise pools. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, explore water filled Semuc Champey 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.

swimming at semuc champey

After gingerly making our way across a very ‘rustic’ and rather precarious bridge, we made the short hike up into the valley towards the lagoons. We caught our first glimpse of the crystal clear, turquoise coloured water glistening against the sunlight through the trees! It looked like paradise!

semuc champey pools

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!

barry diving into pools

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.

The Semuc Champey hike

After relaxing and exploring the various lagoons, it was time to make the climb up to the top of the valley. This is the best spot to get a bird’s eye view of the natural monument Semuc Champey.

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!

natural monument semuc champey

Semuc Champey is breathtaking. And whilst it’s not easy to get to, the bruises from your jeep and bus journey will fade. Throw in some candlelit caving, river tubing and how to make Guatemala chocolate from cacao nibs, and you could end up spending a lot longer here than first planned.

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