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Guatemala: Lanquin and Semuc Champey

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The crinkly mountains of Verapaz form an almost Alpine-like transition zone between the chilly western highlands and the steamy jungles of the lowland Petén in northern Guatemala. It’s a damp, humid region suitable for the cultivation of coffee, and large fincas cover much of the territory around Cobán, the main town.

The influence of the Maya is less obvious here, and the region is considered to be off the beaten track by visitors: but it’s well worth a visit to the dozy Q’eqchi’ village of Lanquín, base for explorations of the limestone caves and dips in the turquoise pools at Semuc Champey.

Our insider tips for Lanquin and Semuc Champey


Hannah Donaldson

Walking in the pretty countryside around Lanquín. So enchanting is the area that a former Journey Latin America tour leader made his home here and opened a hostel.


Lina Fuller

Venturing into the Lanquín caves at dusk, when thousands of bats fly out in an agitated cloud to hunt by night.

Antonio Vaquero

Antonio Vaquero

It’s hidden away 9km south of Lanquín but once you arrive at the 300m long natural limestone bridge at Semuc Champey you’ll see above the bridge a series of stepped, picture-perfect aqua marine pools, so inviting for a dip.

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