Travelling to the end of the tarmac road through beautiful countryside, past one of the few road signs seen in Guatemala, we turned sharp right onto a gravel road leading to Lanquin and Semac Champey 20 Kms away. Had one of those 'where the f—k are we' moments due to the rather inadequate maps that we all possessed. The river finally came into view having dropped just over a 1000 metres from the tarmac road. The bridge was safely crossed and on the final bend Mike decided to drop his bike. He said he can never find neutral normally but found it then just when he needed power. We cruised by shouting that we were sorry we couldn't stop to help him, fearing that we would also drop Nancy if we stopped. We booked into the Hostal El Portal, right by the river and only 50 yards from the entrance to Semac Champey. Pitching our tents that night it decided to rain for the next 2 days, sending our clothes mouldy and forcing Jill and myself into a palapa so we had some shelter to cook by. The site was very beautiful with steps to keep you fit leading up to the main area. The first attraction we did was visit the caves, just 100 yards walk once you have crossed the bridge. I don't have any pictures of this as my camera isn't waterproof but I rate this as the best thing to do while staying in Semac Champey. We went with about 10 others and a guide, following a river into the hill all holding candles. We had to swim through pools with the candle held high, climb ladders secured by string so tight against the rock that you only had the width of the step to put you foot on. Jump through holes that were full of rushing water into pools below where the person in front just vanished into the raging torrent only to be seen again once you had passed through into the pool below. A really amazing experience that lasted about an 1 ½ hours with memories that will last much longer. The next day dawned with no respite to the rain so we walked into the park with care as the stones were very slippery as Jill had already found out by falling hard the first night. Jason and Mike walked up to the mirador while we walked along the side of the pools. I went back later and climbed the mirador and took pictures. Here are some:- The climb up.
Nymphs that frequent and frolic in the pools.
The main river goes underground
rising some 600 yards later the other side of the pools.
The Pools are in fact a roof over the top of the river which has worn away the limestone underneath, making them warm and tranquil being only fed by small side streams. On my way up to the mirador I was privileged to see some howler monkeys making a noise like something out of Jurassic park when the T-rex is about to appear.
Here is the male showing off his genetic store. They were wonderful to watch, their tales automaticly wrapping themselves around branches to stop them falling if what they were standing on snapped. The next day Mike headed into Lanquin to find a laundrette as all his and Jason's clothes were rotting due to the constant damp. Later that afternoon we floated down stream in a rubber inner tube. Very peaceful but it was time to go as most people only come for a day and that gives a strange moving on sort of atmosphere, So next morning with the sun shinning, things were packed and saying our fair wells to Mike and Jason who were heading off for more off road adventures. We retraced our path and headed towards Copan stopping at the Hotel Hernandez in Chiquimula where we will do a days raid on Copan tomorrow.