LANQUIN | Guatemala
Lanquin, Guatemala was wild! So many adventures packed into 3 days. The craziness started on the bus ride there. The trek from Flores to Lanquin is 8 hours on a very small 16 passenger bus/van, costing Q250 ($18 per person). Winding along the edge of the mountains, the bus was swaying back and forth rarely slowing down. It was intense to say the least. The landscape was beautiful, but the roads not only snake through the mountains, they are narrow, and a lot of places in terrible condition. Our seats were in the very back with two British girls squeezed next to us. The snaking curves and crashing into each other lead to us becoming friends and bonding over our nervous laughter! Finally, a sign read ‘Lanquin 11 KM’ – we were close! Little did we know, the 11 KM dirt road (roughly 6.5 miles) into the valley was going to take an hour. The sign should have read ‘INCREDIBLY bumpy road awaits’. The driver even stopped to replace a hubcap at one point.
Once we arrived in remote Lanquin, local kids swarmed the bus yelling the names of different accommodations. Everyone headed to the Zephyr River Lodge piled into the back of giant diesel truck with large off-road tires toting our luggage and backpacks. The 5 minute ride to the river lodge was equally as outrageous! 15 people in the back of a truck riding up a hill at about a 60 degree angle. As we approached, we could see the Zephry River Lodge set atop the Maya Mountains with the sun setting behind it.
Zephyr River Lodge is such a special and unique place! The views mixed with the laid back vibe are incredible. It overlooks the mountains, valley, and Lanquin River. Everyone there is backpacking and so much fun to talk with! We spent every evening in the bar/common area playing cards and drinking Bravha beer with new friends. The two girls we met on the bus taught us how to play 'Shit Head' and we taught them bar dice. A couple from Portugal joined in one night too! The hostel shuts off the wifi at 7PM to encourage guests to build real relationships instead of social media followers! During the day the infinity pool is the place to be for backpackers not spending the day exploring Semuc Champey.
Semuc Champey and the Kanba Cave adventures! This is our favorite day so far! Semuc is a series of natural pools, a limestone bridge, and waterfalls where the Cahabon River flows underneath. The first part of the day we toured the caves, a much different experience than the pools and waterfalls! Led by two guides, a group of us entered the completely dark caves with no lights… just candles! We climbed, swam, and walked through the caverns for a couple hours. Sometimes we were forced to turn sideways to squeeze between rocks while swimming. I definitely came out with some bruises! The next stop was bridge jumping. I chickened out, but Ron jumped into the beautiful water from 30 feet up.
The lookout was the most rewarding part of the day! The 1 hour trek up was harder than we expected, but so worth it! Looking down on Semuc and the turquoise pools was incredible. Afterwards, we hiked down and spent the last hour of the day swimming in the crystal clear pools with the group. So refreshing!
One thing I should mention is that Ron forgot to charge the GoPro, so our only option was his Iphone. It has a Lifeproof case, but he was pretty nervous because it wasn't designed for cave exploring and bridge jumping. Thankfully the phone survived and we escaped with some pretty great footage.
This place was so unbelievable we decided to extend our stay another day. Our last day we spent tubing down the river for a couple of hours. There were 15 of us, all floating with inner tubes, beers in hand, giving us one last look at the crystal waters and surrounding mountains. We spent the evening relaxing and telling stories with our new friends. This place is going to be hard to top! Our next stop is Antigua, Guatemala where we climb Volcan Acatenango. Hefners Out!!
Views on the ride from Flores to Lanquin.
Almost to the remote Zephyr River Lodge. You can see it in the distance!
Our ride the last leg of the trip.
Our room for 3 days.
View of Lanquin from the lodge.
Early morning views.
The awesome infinity pool and bar!
Pool game with a view!
Heading to Semuc Champey through Lanquin! It was a 45 minute ride in the bed of a truck.
Amazing views on the ride to Semuc!
After exploring the caves we jumped off a pretty awesome rope swing!
The 1 hour hike to the lookout.
We made it!
After hiking down we swam in the pools.
Amazing sunset shot Ron took with his Iphone at sunset in the Zephyr Lodge pool!