Monday, June 2, 2014

Semuc Champey

It has been a long time since I last blogged. It is kind of a sad mess on here - and hopefully I remember some of the details that made our month of traveling so special. While my dad was visiting us, we made a trip to Semuc Champey, Guatemala. This is such a beautiful area that is relatively untouched (especially in comparison to many parts of the concrete covered Guatemala).
In order to get there you have to take a dirt road for about an hour, and then to get to the town to our hotel we had to ride in the back of a truck for about 20 minutes. My dad has a bad back so this was not the most enjoyable time on the trip for him, but the destination by far outweighed the transportation. 
Semuc Champey is very tropical. The birds, bugs, and lizards were incredible. We stayed in this cool hostel that Caitlin found where we stayed in a cabin surrounded by trees and the sounds of nature. The bugs were nonstop. My dad tried to take video of the noises they made, but it was hard to capture the essence of the insects on a camera. 
The focal point of Semuc Champey is a set of fresh water pools, completely unpolluted, and gorgeous. We were in awe once we got there - but instead of immediately swimming, we decided to take a "little" hike up to a viewpoint that overlooks all the pools. 
Our little hike turned out to be a strenuous trek, coupled with a grueling heat that practically melted us. We were dripping with sweat once we reached the top, but the view was well worth it. 
Basically you can go in all those pools, and there are little waterfalls and natural water slides that connect them all. 

We tried really hard to get a picture from the top with all the pools in the background, but the platform was crowded with out of shape tourists that were trying to catch their breath after the torturous trek from the pools to the top. Eventually we gave up and decided to cool off with a dip in the pools.

Going down was a lot easier than going up, and we made it down really quickly, which left us the majority of the day to relax in the pools. 

Like I said, the pools were incredibly clear water, and the water was the perfect temperature. It wasn't super deep all over, so you could swim, or wade all the way across the pools. 

Since this was the beginning of our vacation we were still pretty pale, so please don't judge how transparent our skin was. :)

We had to explore all over the pools, so we kept switching where we were. 

And of course, after that long drive on the dirt roads, this was the perfect place to relax... but once we were in the water we noticed that things were biting us. At first it was kind of shocking, but then we realized it was tiny little fish. These fish come up and give you a pedicure, eating away all the gross stuff from your feet, legs, arms, basically any part of your body that you decide to submerge in the water. 

With the pedicure and lukewarm water, we felt like we were enjoying a day at the spa. 

After spending the morning and afternoon in the pool, we got out to dry off and enjoy our lunch - then we set off to explore a little more of the area. 

There was a waterfall that went underground at the beginning of the pools, which was really strange. I asked one of the park rangers where it came out and he said further downstream (really specific, right?) and said that the water in the pools comes from natural springs rather than the river itself. Pretty cool, right? 

There were also a bunch of other trails that led to beautiful views of waterfalls and perfectly clear water. We absolutely loved it. 

We didn't have a lot of time at Semuc Champey, only two days really. But it was beautiful and I would definitely go back again, except I think I would spend more time at the pools and less time with the bohemian culture at our hostel... although that was an experience in and of itself. 

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