Lanquin, Semuc Champey, Guatemala160 Quetzals for a trip to Semuc Champey and the nearby caves was way too expensive. There had to be a cheaper option than the tour given at El Retiro Lodge and I struck out on my own looking for the cheaper option. The promise of a cheaper trip also sounded promising [...]
Lanquin, Semuc Champey, Guatemala
160 Quetzals for a trip to Semuc Champey and the nearby caves was way too expensive. There had to be a cheaper option than the tour given at El Retiro Lodge and I struck out on my own looking for the cheaper option. The promise of a cheaper trip also sounded promising to 13 others so we ditched the tour and set off on our own. A five minute walk down the road towards Lanquin found us in the midst’s of several men in trucks promising us a full-day trip for 135 Quetzals. Better, but I was hoping to get transportation, admission, and a guided tour into the caves for less than 100 Quetzals.
No driver was willing to drive us there and back for less than 30 Q but I knew the real price should be 20 Q and I wasn’t accepting anything else and a group of 14 should have some serious bargaining power, right? The drivers weren’t budging on their price but neither were we. In the middle of conversations another pick-up truck drove by willing to drive us for 20 Q. We loaded into his truck much to the chagrin of the other drivers. Their eyes were beaming with anger at our newly found driver.
We arrived at Semuc Champey and paid the 50 Q admission fee. We walked around the pools of water and had a good view from above. Towards the back of the pools is an area where you can jump into the pools and swim. We skipped this part of the park with the intention of coming back after the cave tour. It was at this point that we found out the caves were not a part of the park but a separate area nearby that required another admission fee of 50 Q. Of all the people I had talked to none of them mentioned the separate admission fee and this new-found information shot my 100Q day out the window. I came all this way and wasn’t missing out on the caves so I handed over the 50 Q.
I’m glad I did too. I entered the cave with nothing more than a candle in my hand. Shortly thereafter I was wading through water waist high in the murky darkness of the cave. No sooner was I settling into the eeriness of not knowing where I was going or what I was walking in there was a sudden drop-off and I was doggy paddling through a river of water trying to not let my candle go out. Throughout the cave we were jumping off cliffs, climbing up ropes through water falls and sliding down rocks. When not in the water I was usually climbing up and down some not-so-safe looking ladders or crawling through small caverns to get to the next series of pools. There is no way something like this would be possible in any Western country from fear of lawsuits.
|From Lanquin 2010-11
Swimming in one of the many cave pools
As I found out, Semuc Champey and the nearby caves can be done for 120 Q and no less; but it shouldn’t be more either.