Semuc Champey Stepped Pools

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Hidden in the jungle in the department of Alta Verapaz, in Guatemala, about 11 km south of the Q’eqchi’ Maya town of Lanquín, is a stunning natural wonder. Semuc Champey, which means "sacred water" in the Mayan Kekchi language, is a natural limestone bridge about 300 meters wide under which passes the Cahabon River. Atop the bridge is a series of stepped pools filled with runoff from the Río Cahabon, and many are connected to one another by small waterfalls. The water is brilliant turquoise.

Surrounded by lush green forest, Semuc Champey is a perfect spot to swim and relax. Although the place is increasingly popular among travellers, going there is a bit of a challenge. The closest town nearby is Lanquin which takes 4 hours to reach from Guatemala City and requires braving the infamously dangerous roads. This is followed by a 30-minutes bumpy ride in a 4x4, and finally a 20-minutes walk to the pools.

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The most beautiful view of Semuc Champey can be had from “El Mirador” – a vantage point high above the natural bridge from where you can have a bird’s eye view of the turquoise pools. The path to “El Mirador” is however long and the most challenging. Along the way you’ll be able to see and hear howling monkeys, spider monkeys, and other wild animals.

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Sources: NYTimes / Trekity / Globotreks / Escaping Abroad

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