Visit Semuc Champey | Limestone Bridges in Guatemala

by Vanessa Wanders Miles
Limestone Bridges at Semuc Champey Guatemala

Limestone Bridges at Semuc Champey

You will hear travellers and backpackers in Guatemala talk of this beautiful paradise called Semuc Champey, surely they wouldn’t all be wrong? Visit Semuc Champey to find out for yourself!


About Semuc Champey

In the language of Maya, Semuc Champey means “Sacred Water” and consists of 300m of limestone bridges. The tiered formation creates turquoise pools from the Cahabón River and is hidden amongst the lush green jungle in the Alta Verapaz region near Lanquín.

How to reach Semuc Champey

The epic journey to Lanquín started from Rio Dulce with a boat from the jungle river hostel were staying in. We were told we would need to wait longer for the bus, something you need to get used to in Guatemala so we stopped for lunch in the SunDog Café overlooking the jetty. We finally got settled in our small bus ready for the dust and wind in our hair!

Be open to the possibility that the 5-hour bus journey will turn into 7 on the bumpy roads, if you suffer from car sickness this is the right time to neck the meds. The bus will drop you off on the road and a truck is sent down from the hostel for you to pile in the back for the last leg 40 minutes of the journey up the steep dirt road surrounded by jungle. It was a bit tricky to see the views, it was raining and it was now dark but we had a few beers and lots of giggles! We were excited to finally visit Semuc Champey…

Accommodation in Lanquin

I do recommend you book your accommodation before you get to Lanquin, we called a number of hostels with no room for the 5 of us in the group. We got lucky with Utopia Eco Hotel, a double room, and 3 hammocks left.


Take a tour of KanBa Caves

If you’re feeling adventurous and not scared of the dark, take the tour to the Kan’Ba Caves by Semuc Champey. You’re supplied with a 4-inch candle to help you light the way through the pitch-black caves. The guides advise you on the rock formations along the trail to avoid you hurting yourself, the water starts off shallow but you will need to swim in certain parts with one arm in the air to keep your candle alight, not the easiest of moves.

There are some small waterfalls where you need to use a rope to swing yourself around or climb ladders, there is an option to jump off a ledge in there. I was pretty careful not to swallow any of the stagnant water, there was a group back at the hostel that was pretty sick after their time in the caves.

Hiking and Swimming in Semuc Champey

After the caves, we walked across the bridge toward the National Park of Semuc Champey. The 1.5km hike to El Mirador is around 45 minutes up the steep steps surrounded by the mountainous jungle with the birds and monkeys making background noise. The view is breathtaking from the top overlooking the pools down below.

What better way to reward our efforts than getting down to the pools, stripping down to bikinis, and jumping in? It sure felt amazing after the hot, humid walk! We made our way through the pools, slipping down on the rock into the next pool below. Couldn’t help but take a moment to lie back and listen to the sounds of the jungle and happy people… absolute bliss.

Semuc Champey is open from 6 am to 6 pm daily.

Swimming in natural water pools in Semuc Champey, Guatemala



Book a tour to Semuc Champey 

Plan ahead for your Lanquin trip


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Cath 30th July 2017 - 7:33 pm

This sounds incredible, you have inspired me to explore more

Masa 31st July 2017 - 12:55 pm

Hiking and swimming ideas are great! Would love to visit it. 🙂

Jen 31st July 2017 - 3:56 pm

Looks awesome! I have a couple of friends who’s been to that area there in Guatemala and they’ve always wanted to stay longer.

Janine Thomas 31st July 2017 - 3:57 pm

I have never heard of this place, but now I have I will just have to visit it!

Mel | The a Wandering Darlings 31st July 2017 - 11:06 pm

Those caves sounds amazing to explore but also a little scary. What a fascinating place!

Ruth 31st July 2017 - 11:35 pm

I never heard about it before! It’s on my list 😄

Barry 1st August 2017 - 2:34 am

Still need to explore more of Central America. Looks like a fun trip.

Sandy Dobbs 1st August 2017 - 8:25 am

What a tropical paradise! Loved your description. Can almost hear the birds and the monkeys chattering.

Arnav 1st August 2017 - 11:37 pm

What an amazing place to be. First the caving and then swimming. My kind of vacation.

Madison Taylor 2nd August 2017 - 12:38 am

Loveeeeee this, beautiful pictures!

Joyce 2nd August 2017 - 8:32 am

This place looks so serene! Would love to visit some day 🙂

kristelle 2nd August 2017 - 4:10 pm

love the nature

Charity Valenzuela Marces 4th August 2017 - 4:53 pm

I am very curious about that “Sacred Water,” I wonder why it is sacred. Anything link to some sort of folklore is cool.


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