Just getting there is a four-hour journey from Guatemala City. It’s not an easy trek. To reach Semuc Champey, you have to venture through the densely forested mountains of Alta Verapaz. It’s a little out of the way and far off the beaten tourist path.
The only way to make it to the trail head is by hopping into the bed of a 4×4 vehicle and holding on for dear life. The roads are rocky and treacherous, and without a proper means of transportation, Semuc Champey would be inaccessible.
But in this case, the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward.
Semuc Champey means “where the river hides” in the Mayan Q’eqchi’ language. It is a clandestine gem, one of Earth’s most magnificent designs. Semuc Champey is a limestone paradise hiding between a clearing in the pine trees, where emerald tinged water cascades through naturally formed multi-tiered step pools. The cool, clear water that fills the pools is the runoff from the Río Cahabón river, which flows beneath the 300-foot-long limestone bridge.
The Cahabón starts off as a raging torrent, however, once it reaches Semuc Champey, it suddenly drops into an extensive cave beneath the limestone pools, complete with underground waterfalls. The river later reemerges several hundred feet downstream.
It’s a place where tranquility and ferocity meet but do not interfere with each other. Perhaps that’s what makes Semuc Champey all that much more enchanting. Many have called this oasis a place of deep contemplation, where people find solace, forgiveness, or seek redemption.
Once you step foot in the deep jungle, you are placed under Mother Nature’s spell.
This majestic and mythical corner of the world will lure you far away from the confines of routine. In a sense, you’ll be lost within a hidden paradise. It’s a place unlike any other on the planet.
The video featured below—captured by Roof Films—showcases just how magical Semuc Champey is.