~ It’s only paradise until discovered! ~

Bliss, high pools panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Bliss, high pools panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Semuc Champey has been known about to locals and few nationals until the last few years. Once a few hearty explorers and adventurous backpackers made the precarious trek deep into the remote valley of Alta Verapaz, the secret began to spill out slowly. Nowadays, it’s the absolute premier destination in Guatemala, if you are enduring and venturesome. Though infrastructure near the area has been vastly improved as far as the town of Pajal, the last 22 kilometres remain a steep and beaten path impassible to anything less a 4X4 machine with high clearance and horsepower.

Good!

Lower pools, panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Lower pools, panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

I not so secretly hope that it never improves.

Extraordinary places like Semuc Champey should require tremendous efforts to be reached.

Semuc - LowPool

And an extraordinary place it is!

Cascading pools of Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Cascading pools of Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

In the deepest of the towering jungle valley where the howler monkeys howl, the mighty Rio Cahabon suddenly plummets deep into the earths crust under a magnificent limestone bridge. A waterfall of crystalline pools extends for 300 meters between the fiercely wild cliffs of the Guatemalan mountains.

Río Cahabón as it plunges into the caverns below Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Río Cahabón as it plunges into the caverns below Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

The translucent waters rush gently from one natural natatorium to another with a sense of placidity and infinity. 

It is possible to stroll the shallow divides, swim the chilly waters, practice your acrobatic dives from the highest shelves or slide down smoothly eroded waterslides.

Semuc - Tourists

For best vantage point, make the strenuous half hour climb to the mirador. From high above the mirador platform the turquoise waters look completely still, a heavenly break from the stirring jungle surroundings.

For those willing to brave the way to Semuc Champey, the rewards are sublime.


 

~ People create wastelands of natural paradise ~

Help protect this fragile habitat by staying on the designated trails, hiring a local guide and respecting the local Q’eqchi’ people. (Q’eqchi’ are the dominant Maya group in the central highlands.)

Semuc - TopPools

Also, don’t poop in the jungle valley! Where do think it washes down to? There are designated bathrooms. Yes, they are out of the way, but do you really want to watch/smell the port-a-potty while you swim?

Semuc - Upriver

Other information:

Price

  • Q50 for foreigners
  • Q30 for Guatemalans

What to bring:

  • Swimsuit, sunscreen, sturdy shoes for the climb, camera and lunch.

Semuc - Peek

 

Other activities in the area, specially given how hard you worked to get here:

  • Caving, Tubing, Hiking, Chocolate farm, Zip Line

Semuc - LowFalls

Cannot contain our happiness 🙂 Sharing is caring!

~ A Wise Tale By Karina ~

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