Semuc-Champey & Lanquin

Guatemala   /  
  • Semuc-Champay, vue d'en haut

  • Un des lacs de Semuc-Champay

  • Un des lacs de Semuc-Champay

  • La balançoire de Semuc Champay

  • Un des lacs de Semuc Champay

  • Zephyr Hostel à Lanquin

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    Un petit coin de paradis

  • Zephyr Hostel à Lanquin

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    Une vue magnifique sur la vallée

  • Vue depuis la chambre au Zephyr Hostel

  • Vue depuis la douche au Zephyr Hostel

  • Ambiance lounge le soir au Zephyr Hostel

  • Ambiance festive le soir au Zephyr Hostel

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A pearl which we do not talk much in guidebooks but is nevertheless one of the most beautiful natural heritage of Guatemala. Semuc-Champay is a set of turquoise lakes and waterfalls that you can’t miss !

How to get to Lanquin ?

You can come from Antigua or from Flores (approximately 9 hours the way, with departures at 5am from Hostel Los Amigos in Flores, or at 7am with an agency in Flores). Please note that the road is very challenging…

BEST HOSTEL to stay next to Semuc-Champay?

The accommodation is already an experience in itself. There are some hostels in Semuc-Champay itself, but we strongly recommend to stay in Zephyr Hostel in Lanquin, which is by far the best hostel we had ever experienced in our lives of backpackers! Once there, you won’t want to leave. It is located on a secluded middle of nowhere and offers a magnificent view of the valley with its small river in distance hill. The hostel itself is very friendly, with a restaurant and bar that serves delicious dishes (curries are excellent, and in the morning there are pancakes with fruit and chocolate) and a crazy atmosphere in the evening because all backpackers are forced to stay at the hostel since there is absolutely nothing in town. We had a “all you can eat” BBQ (one of the best we have ever eaten), happy-hours from 4 to 8pm, flip cup, beer pongs and entertainment through the night. In addition, the rooms are clean, the beds comfortable, with a beautiful view and, last but not least, you’ll want to take endless showers and take it twice to three times a day because the water is hot and you have a view of the valley … It is magic! Only negative point: the juices are not very good. We have also heard only positive things about the other hostels of Lanquin, El Retiro and another called Utopia.

How many days in Lanquin / Semuc-Champay?

Pay attention, do not plan to stay only one full day in Lanquin and Semuc. While Semuc-Champay can be visited in one day, hostels usually organize activities on the river, like tubing, and it is impossible to combine the two activities the same day. The tubing, what is it? Basically, we let ourselves go with the flow in large buoys, a beer in the hand. The start is at 11am, and you stay there half a day. We could not do it and it is one of our biggest regrets of the trip, so do not make the same mistake :-)

How to visit Semuc Champay?

We took the tour organized by our hostel for 175 Q. Attention, it is quite sporty so take good shoes and do not go with a hangover!

You will start at 9am and go there in the back of a pick-up, which seemed to last like an eternity because of the chaotic roads. Then, you go in a cave, in the light of your candles, and will have to swim, jump, climb, avoid being hurt by rocks, and all that with a candle in hand :-) You’ll feel like Indiana Jones… it is very fun. The bravest ones can then jump from a giant swing into the water (but careful with the rock below) or jump from a high bridge. Before you can enjoy the lakes of Semuc-Champay, you’ll still face a stair climbing by almost half an hour (or less depending on your fitness level) to get a beautiful view of the lake. The view is worth it. After the photo, we can finally relax in the lakes and got your dead skin eaten by small fishes … a real free pedicure :-) For lunch : you can take a box lunch from the hostel or you can eat there.

Back to the hostel at 4:30 – 5pm.

A question ? Other tips to add ?

Share your experience with other backpackers to enrich this article! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below, we will answer with pleasure!


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  1. Haley /

    Your blog has been more than amazing and informative!
    I’m going to Guatemala on December 24 and this particular section of your blog is what made me realize how excited I am to go to Semuc-Champey.
    If you don’t mind I would LOVE to ask you a few questions and see what your opinion is.
    A main one would be; Should we book hostels ahead of time? Especially for Zephyr Hostel in Lanquin.
    Hope to hear from you soon, thanks again!

  2. Celine Delacharlerie /

    Hey Haley, thank you so much ! Ask as many questions as you want. We had booked the hostel ahead of time because we wanted to make 100% sure to sleep there. There’s quite a few beds but It gets quickly full I think, so If I were you I would book it at least one or two days ahead. But if you don’t want to plan it too much, I heard that the other hostels in Lanquin are also great :-) Whatever, you’ll have a lot of fun there !! IF you have any other question, don’t hesitate :-)

  3. Emma /

    Hi, I’m going to Guatemala from 1-11 march and was planning on going to Semuc-Champey but was wondering what kind of shoes are appropriate for the hike? Would you recommend hiking boots or is something like trainers or converse ok?

    • Celine Delacharlerie /

      Hi Emma !
      You’ll need good shoes for a climb of the hill to see the view, there’s big steps so converse or trainers is definitely ok tough. But to go to the caves and in the water, it’s also good to have sandals for water too :-) Have fun in Guatemala, but we are sure you will !!

  4. Estelle /

    Salut! Votre article est vraiment super: vous me donnez le goût de partir! Mais j’ai quelques questions! Avez-vous oser sauter de la balancoire et du pont, ou est-ce vraiment Dangereux (à nos risques et périls?) Y avait-il des gens qu’ils l’ont fait? Merci de votre réponse!

    • Celine Delacharlerie /

      Bonjour Estelle!
      Merci, ça fait super plaisir :) Tu aurais bien raison de partir! Aucune de nous n’a osé la balancoire, mais Coralie a sauté du pont. La plupart des gens avaient sauté du pont, même si c’est super impressionnant. La balancoire, juste une poignée parmi les plus courageux l’ont fait, si mes souvenirs sont bons :) Si tu n’as pas froid aux yeux, je pense que tu peux foncer!! Bon voyage !

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