Semuc Champey

Where the river hides under the stones

It is a natural enclave located in the Guatemalan municipality of Lanquín (12 km approx. south of the urban center of Lanquín), in the department of Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. In the middle of a thick tropical forest there is a natural limestone bridge about 300 meters long through which the Cahabón River flows and in its surroundings there are a large number of pools of 1 to 3 m deep, whose turquoise green or jade color changes throughout the year varying with the weather, the sun and other natural factors. At the end you can observe the Cahabón River as it enters a limestone cavern, a very dangerous area to approach inside the river because of the force of the water, only allowed to observe from a distance this natural geographic phenomenon.

Semuc Champey was declared a Natural Monument in 1999 by the then president of the Republic of Guatemala, Álvaro Arzú Irigoyen, and is geographically very close to the Grutas de Lanquín National Park, with which it shares a visitor center to cover tourists.

Due to the subtropical forest that surrounds the place, it has an enormous ecological wealth, among which have been identified more than 100 species of birds; 34 of mammals, 25 of reptiles and amphibians; and 10 of fish in addition to more than 120 different species of trees. It has a 700 m high viewpoint to observe the 350 m long natural pools that make up “Semuc Champey”, with waterfalls up to 40 feet high and all the pools fed by streams of the place.

To reach this place, you must travel from Guatemala City on the Atlantic highway, reach the town of El Rancho, km 81, turn off in search of the city of Cobán, km 216, and from there to Lanquín, then board a pick up that will take you to Semuc Champey.