Semuc Champey, Guatemala - #AtoZtravel

Friday, November 21, 2014

Semuc Champey - one of the most peaceful and naturally beautiful spots in this dear world that I've seen with my own eyes...

Where and what is Semuc Champey?
Semuc Champey is a natural 300 metre limestone bridge that crosses a series of stepped pools and waterfalls close to the Maya town Lanquín in Central East Guatemala. In the Maya language Semuc Champey means 'sacred water', a name which it most definitely lives up to!

On top of the bridge is a series of stepped, turquoise pools - which are a favourite swimming spot for those in the know.

view of Semuc Champey, Guatemala from above
view of Semuc Champey, Guatemala from above - 2009

How do you get to Semuc Champey?
Ahhh... I'm glad you asked, because if you want to see this gorgeous wonder and bathe within the liquid turquoise you need to have time and be determined! Semuc Champey is also famous for being notoriously hard to get to.

I visited this amazing spot back in 2009 during my back packing adventure in Central America, and at that time the only way to get there was by hitching a ride in the back of a pickup truck from Lanquín. Hubby and I negotiated our price and climbed aboard for what was one of the bumpiest rides I have experienced - 1.5 hours on a non-sealed road full of pot holes. We held on for dear life.

the local town in Semuc Champey (from the back of a pickup truck)
the local town in Semuc Champey (from the back of a pickup truck)

Where do you stay in Semuc Champey?
We stayed in Hostal El Portal de Champey, which was the only accommodation at the time when we were visiting. However it was lush - imagine lots of small, private bungalows dotted all over a some rolling hills, alongside a river. We hired a bungalow, complete with hammock and cat (a added bonus we later discovered) for a few days and relaxed...

our bungalow in Semuc Champey, Guatemala
our bungalow in Semuc Champey, Guatemala

local cat that would leap into my lap whenever I was in the hammock :)
local cat that would leap into my lap whenever I was in the hammock :)

Why is Semuc Champey so amazing?
Firstly the isolation - there's no tour buses, gift shop, restaurant or cafe. Just a single man selling tickets. On our first day at Semuc Champey we checked the tatty, ancient-looking visitors book to see that only two other people had been there that day, and twelve the day before.

swimming at Semuc Champey, Guatemala - 2009
swimming at Semuc Champey, Guatemala - 2009 

Secondly the swimming and nature. It's very rare to be somewhere so beautiful that's not teaming with noisy tourists, and be able to soak up the beauty alone. For half a day it was just us and two others - and the schools of small fish nibbling at our feet as we floated on our backs and squinted up at the sun.

This November I'm blogging every day in a A to Z travel challenge, where I'll share some of the amazing but more obscure places I've travelled to in the world as I make my way through the alphabet. 

If you'd like to join me on this travel blogging challenge please do. I'd love to hear about some of your favourite travel destinations. Tweet using #AtoZtravel and I'll retweet you, or just share your posts in my comment feed. Enjoy and Happy #AtoZtravel November!
Also - I'm entered in the travel category of the 2015 UK Blog Awards. If you enjoy reading somewhere... beyond the sea then I would love you to vote for me. It's pretty easy - just click on this link. Happy travels!

You Might Also Like


  1. wow wow wow! Looks gorgeous! Catching up on this weeks posts and you've been to some incredible places. Loving this A-Z may have to attempt it myself one day! Also voted for you, good luck!

    1. Thanks Sara. I'm really enjoying the #AtoZ, so would totally recommend it if you're up for the challenge :)