One of the most beautiful places I have seen has been Semuc Champey. It is not a place you would come across just from reading from the internet, but you really need to do your research.

It is a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere Guatemala. There are these beautiful limestone pools in which you can swim and have fun in. Truly it is an amazing place to put on your Guatemala bucket list.

Finding out about Semuc Champey:

When you are leaving Tikal area you have a couple of options on where to go next on your adventure. First you can choose to go to Belize, since it is quite close. You can also choose to journey all the way to Lake Atitlan for some lake fun and relaxation. Lastly, you have the choice of Semuc Champey.

 Going to a foreign country, Sarah and I have always looked up what things you can do in a place. Going to Guatemala, we had looked up a place that is called Semuc Champey. Now, Semuc Champey is not just an ordinary place. It is a place with beautiful limestone pools in which you can swim in, which totally interested us.

Semuc Champey
The Bus Ride
To get there you must take bus. We were in Flores, Guatemala having fun at Tikal. There were several tour agencies offering deals for a bus ride to certain locations. So we went around and found one with the best price. It was time to take a long journey to Semuc Champey.

Get ready for a ride. Bring a book, kindle, music, and be ready to have a 9-10 hour ride along the rough roads of Guatemala. We had probably one stop that involved getting lunch, but for most of the ride we were in bus with 15-20 other tourists on our way in Lanquin, Guatemala.

 The day will be full of driving. You are heading to the little Mayan town of Lanquin. This is where the buses drop off tourists for Semuc Champey. The ride will be long, tedious, bumpy, and there will probably be like two to three stops for restrooms and lunch. Please remember to listen to the bus driver on how much time you may have for the stop. They may say it in Spanish, but listen carefully they will leave you. I saw a couple left at a stop because they didn’t hear the correct time.

To your Hostel or Hotel

Once you hit Lanquin, your accommodation would have sent a driver and a truck to help direct you and drive you to your hotel or hostel. We stayed at Hostel de la Porto, which was right by the entrance of Semuc Champey. We rode about a 45 minute ride on the back of the truck holding on as we drove the rocky roads.

Most of the other hotels and hostels are in and around Lanquin, which there is not much of anything. They would have to ride the next day on the rough roads hanging to dear life for that 45 minutes as well to Semuc Champey.

Once you get to your hostel get settled in, get acquainted for the next two nights, and relax. The next day will be full of excitement, adventure, and some pretty good sights.

The Hike:

Right by the entrance is of course an entrance fee. Since our hostel was so close, we walked to it early in the morning to beat the crowds.

There is a lovely 30-45 minute hike up the mountain to get an aerial view of Semuc Champey. It can be slippery due to possible rain from the night before so be careful. The hike itself is not too difficult. There are steps guiding your way to the overlook destination.

 At this point, you will have the opportunity to take as many photos as time permits. The other tourist will be arriving soon and crowding the entire place.

The hike of Semuc Champey
The view from up top of Semuc Champey

The Limestone pools:

Once you hike back down, you will have the opportunity to swim in the limestone pools. These pools are a refreshing dip as you have been hiking for the last 2 hours. You will have the pools almost mostly to yourself in the morning. As the afternoon drags on, more and more tourists will be arriving. So take advantage of your time.

There will be multiple spots to jump from high distances into the clear waters of the pools. The fish in the pools may snack on the dead skin of your feet or knees. If the fish annoy you, just swim away.

 You will have the opportunity to make multiple photos and enjoy the feel of the cool water in the Guatemalan humidity.

limestone pools at Semuc Champey
waterfalls at Semuc Champey


After much activity in the morning, there will be some locals cooking up some food right outside the entrance. Make sure to bargain and find the best deal. There may be little boys or girls trying to persuade you to one place or another the price may be around 25 Q for a good box meal of chicken, rice, and vegetables.
Food at Semuc Champey

Other Activities

Since you may have already taken the truck to Semuc Champey you might as well use up all the amenities. There will be other activities you can partake on.

There is the guided cave tour, which is near the river. The tour will give you candles in your hand to light your way as you go through this cave to reach your destination. People have mixed reviews of this activity, but it is an adventure.

 You will also have the opportunity to go tubing down the river. The guides will be drop you off at one spot, and you float down the rushing river. There will be locals that will try to sell beer and other drinks as you float on. It is quite interesting to watch the locals literally throw a beer or even run and jump into the water to help cater to their new clients floating in tubes. Now that is what I call service.

The Rest of the Afternoon

During the afternoons, you will have lots of more tourists coming to Semuc Champey. Be wary, that the later you wait the more people that will arrive.

 During the summer time, it rains a lot during the afternoon. If you get there early and have as much fun as you can, you can then leave and get back to the place you stay and rest of an afternoon nap.

Places to Stay:
Last Words:
Semuc Champey was a great place to visit and to have fun at. The pools were a gorgeous addition to our trip. If you take the trip make sure to take some photos, swim, hike, enjoy the cooked food outside, and have fun. It was a blast for Sarah and I, and I hope it will be blast for you as well.
“Life is short and the world is wide.” – Simon Raven

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