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Semuc Champey

View of one of the pools in Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey (where the river hides under the rocks), is a natural enclave located near the Guatemalan town of Lanquín (12 km approximately south of Lanquín), in the department of Alta Verapaz. There, in the middle of a thick tropical forest there is a natural limestone bridge of about 300 meters long through which flows the Cahabón river and in whose surroundings there are a large number of pools from 1 to 3 meters deep, whose turquoise green color or jade color changes throughout the year varying with the climate, the sun and other natural factors. In the end, the Cahabón river can be observed as it enters a limestone cavern, a very dangerous area to approach the river by the force of water, only allowed to observe this natural geographic phenomenon at a distance.

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 Lanquín Grottoes National Park, with which it shares a visitor center to provide tourist coverage.

Due to the subtropical forest that surrounds the place, it has an enormous ecological richness, among which more than 100 species of birds have been identified; 34 mammals, 25 reptiles and amphibians; and 10 fishes in addition to more than 120 different species of trees. It has a 700 meters high viewpoint to observe the 350 meters 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.