The natural turquoise baths of Semuc Champey are beautiful. The baths are located deep in the jungle of Guatemala far away from civilization. Semuc Champey is surrounded by mountains which makes it a special place. It is important to mention that it is quite a long drive from Lake Atitlan to Semuc Champey. Our ride lasted approximately 14 hours. Keep this in mind to avoid frustration. Despite the long drive, we recommend Semuc Champey, because as a nature lover you can indulge yourself. In this article you read our experience about Semuc Champey. We tell you how to get to Semuc Champey, what you can do in the Semuc Champey area and the best way to visit Semuc Champey. We share our tips and give you our favorite places to stay.
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How do you get to Semuc Champey?
Most people travel from Antigua, Guatemala City or Lake Atitlan to travel to Semuc Champey. It is not difficult to arrange this, because in the three places are enough small travel agencies where you can buy a bus ticket. It is also possible to do this without an organization. We recommend buying a bus ticket through a travel agency, because the prices are almost the same and be smart by saving yourself all troubles.
What to do in Semuc Champey and the surrounding area?
Of course you visit Semuc Champey to see the 300 meter long natural limestone bridge with the stepped natural turquoise baths on it. In addition to this natural wonder, there are a number of other things you can do. We show you the top 4 things you can do!
#1 Go for a swim in the limestone baths
The number one reason to visit Semuc Champey is to swim. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy! Keep in mind that when you visit Semuc Champey independently, it is better not to do this in the early morning, because it can be busy there. In the morning, the organized tours first visit Semuc Champey and then the KanBa cave.
#2 Hike to El Mirador
When you enter the park you have two choices: you walk straight to the natural baths or you first walk to the viewpoint of the park. For this you follow the sign El Mirador, this means viewpoint in Spanish. The walk to get to the top takes about 45 minutes. The view is great, because you can see from above how the natural baths are built.
#3 Visit the KanBa cave
The KanBa cave is often combined by an organized tour with a visit to Semuc Champey. Visiting this cave is very popular. During your visit you will receive a candle and you will walk through the cave with your guide. If you do this independently, it is best to do this in the morning so that you can spend the rest of the day in Semuc Champey.
#4 Tubing in Semuc Champey
The nature around Semuc Champey is very beautiful. Another way to enjoy nature is to float on the river with a car tire. Do not expect gigantic rapids, it is especially relaxed to enjoy the nature around you.
What to do if you have only 1 full day in Semuc Champey?
The most people stay 1 full day. In one day it is possible to swim in the limestone baths, hike to the viewpoint, visit the KanBa cave and tube on the river. You can visit Semuc Champey independently or use a tour. We recommend doing it independently. It is super simple, you can determine your own time and it saves you about $18 per person.
Tip: if you want to do less activities we recommend to skip the KanBa cave. This saves you a lot of travel time and it allows you to spend the whole day in Semuc Champey.
Where to stay in Semuc Champey / Lanquin?
You can choose to spend the night near Semuc Champey or in Lanquin. There is nothing to do in the village of Lanquin, so you spend all your time at your accommodation. Therefore, choose an accommodation that is good, because you eat, sleep and enjoy yourself here. The advantage of staying in Semuc Champey is that you sleep right next to the nature park, so you are within 5 minutes walk at the main entrance. The advantage of staying overnight in Lanquin is that the accommodations / complexes are better plus you have more choices. If you want to stay longer in this area, it is best to stay in Lanquin.
Tip: book on time, because the popular addresses are often fully booked. If you know when you want to leave, it is wise to book a bus ticket at your accommodation in advance.
El Portal De Champey
The first night we stayed in El Portal De Champey, because in 5 minutes you are at the main entrance of the Semuc Champey National Park. The complex is very beautiful, because it is located in the middle of the jungle on a river. The cottages are neat and clean. You can also arrange all excursions plus arrange your transport to your next destination.
Price per night from:
$ 33 double room
El Retiro Lanquin
After staying in El Portal we went to El Retiro, because this hostel is built more to relax. It is beautifully situated on the water and is ideal for relaxing with your hammock in front of your door. It is also a great place to meet other travelers and to do something fun with them (pools, yoga, volleyball). We have booked our follow-up trip here. Another recommendation is Hostal Oasis The Travel.
Price per night from:
$ 6 dorm | $ 29 double room
Most travelers travel from Semuc Champey to Flores. If you follow our itinerary of Guatemala you will do the same. We wrote an article about Flores, open the link to read the top 5 things to do in Flores.