Semuc Champey is a beautiful natural area near the town of Lanquin in Alta Verapaz of Guatemala. It consists of a series of tiered limestone pools of varying shades of turquoise. A wild river runs underneath the pools here. Hike up to the mirador for a view pools. Swim in the pools and jump off of the rocks. Attention there is no ATM in Semuc Champey There IS ATM in Lanquin, next to the market, 5B Bank (May 2017)
Flora and fauna
(Entrance fee of 50Q per person for non-Guatemalan citizens)
You can sneak inside El Portal hostel, descend to the river and walk along it towards the falls - there's no fence there and nobody checks. Do it accurately.
There are few options for eating in the town of Lanquin. As you get out of the town, there are a few tiendas along the road. There is one small outdoor comedor up the hill from Semuc Champey, which offers delicious grilled meat and vegetables for 50Q/person.
Hamsa Restaurant - Located 400 meters further south past the entrance of Semuc Champey at Greengo's hotel, open to guests and non-guests alike. Offering large portions of world cuisine (with vegetarian options) and ice cold beers, all food is prepared using purified water and kitchen staff observes Western hygiene standards. Mains from 40-50Q. Open 8am until late.
Cold beers, sodas, liquados, juices, coffee and iced coffees can be purchased at Hamsa Restaurant 400 meters south of the entrance to Semuc Champey. However, no food or drink is allowed inside the park itself (nobody checks this).
Apparently, there have been some instances of mugging on the "mirador" trail in the Semuc Champey park (approx 1x a month). Only carry what you need and if you are alone, try to follow other people on to the trail. As of May 2015 there are a few security personnel posted on the trail, but not enough to cover all of the sections.
All hotels/hostels in the area can book you onward accomodation out of the Semuc Champey/Lanquin area. Prices to Antigua are about 155Q (June 2015).