Semuc Champey

Based at the Edenic hostel El Retiro in the nearby village of Lanquín, we traveled by public transit — always an adventure unto itself — to Semuc Champey, a fantastic stretch of the Río Cahabón where limestone bridges extend across the river.

The limestone bridges create turquoise pools perfect for swimming.

The turquoise color of the water, plus the abundant sunshine and tropical surroundings, also makes for ideal photos.

Especially from above — way above!

This minute-long video puts the vastness of the river valley into perspective.  We’re talking about an arduous, sometimes breathtaking hike to the top of the valley overlooking the river.

When we initially planned our trip, we didn’t include Semuc Champey. For one, it’s in the middle of nowhere. But at the last minute, we pencilled it into our itinerary, figuring that it would be a good halfway point on our trip from Antigua to Tikal.

In retrospect, I’m glad we chose to visit Semuc Champey, and El Retiro as well, because our time there proved among the most enjoyable of our entire journey. Certainly one of the most memorable swims of my life.

View the entire Semuc Champey gallery.

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