The Mixed Culture

Semuc Champey: Where the river hides

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Semuc Champey and the caves of Lanquín are among of the most visited attractions in Alta Verapaz, northern department of Guatemala. Amid the tropical forest are large karstic walls forming a natural bridge of limestone approximately 500m long. Under this bridge and Cahabón River flows over are breathtaking turquoise colored water pools formed above it. These natural swimming pools are located in a small canyon formed by sedimentary and limestone rocks. At one end of the formations, you can see how the Cahabón River enters a limestone cavern, then passing underneath is what now known as the pools of Semuc Champey, which in Q’eqchi ‘means “where the river hides.”

Semuc Champey, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
Photo Credit: Santiago Billy Prem. http://santiagobilly.prosite.com/

It is in the Municipality of San Agustín Lanquín, about 2 hours drive from Coban (city capital of Alta Verapaz). In the surface are formed 7 emerald swimming pools from 1 to 3 meters deep, feeding by spring from the mountains. Thanks to its geographical location, Semuc Champey is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, high biodiversity that is home to species of birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish.

Semuc Champey, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
Photo Credit: Santiago Billy Prem. http://santiagobilly.prosite.com/

Its relative closeness and calm waters make it a great family destination as well as the accessible caves of Lanquín. There is a view deck from which visitors can appreciate the captivating and impressive scenic view of the natural pools and karst walls. By the characteristics of the warm subtropical very humid forest, there is a range of flora and arboreal canopy. No wonder, with the natural beauty of Semuc Champey, this important tourist destination was declared as a protected area by the Guatemalan government. It was declared as a Natural Monument in 2005 by Legislative Decree 25-2005. Semuc Champey, a paradise to discover.

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