Lanquin & Flores

The day before Christmas I went on a tour to Semuc Champey. Only 10k outside of Lanquin, the roads were so rough that it took over an hour to get there in the back of a pickup truck.

The first part of the tour was 2 hours of cave exploration by candle-light – by far one of the most enjoyable times I’ve had exploring a cave (and I really love caves). Unfortunately, no one in our group had waterproof cameras so no pictures exist. But there were ladders, a rope swing through a waterfall, a natural slide with a 2 meter drop, and cliff jumping, in the dark, from 4 meters up. Here are some pictures from the web.

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After the caves, we went on a giant rope swing, tubed down the river, and then jumped off a 9m bridge. (I should mention that our tour guide painted our faces with candle soot and some sort of red vegetable when we first entered the cave.)

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From the bridge, we went to Semuc Champey proper and swam around, jumped off more shit, and went into an underwater cave. There was also a giant snake which creeped me out because it’s a snake and snakes are creepy. And deadly.

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The way back took even longer (it was uphill) and was mostly in the dark. I literally hung off the back of the truck, standing on the bumper and holding a rope tied to the cage in the truckbed.

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Back at the hotel we used the wooden stove-heated sauna, then had a giant communal Christmas dinner (they celebrate more on the 24th than the 25th here).

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The next day Clay went on the trip while I hung around the hostel and went for a walk with some folks.

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One of the strays that hangs out at El Retiro followed us out the gate, and then stuck around for 2.5 hours of super-muddy farm field exploration. He was real scared of the suspension bridge, though.

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Great views, but not-so-great paths. We now understand why all the local men wear rainboots. I had to scrub my sneakers in the mess sink afterward.

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And this guy showed us all up with the crazy stack of firewood he was carrying uphill, and over barbed-wire fences.

The following day we took a shuttle from Lanquin to here in Flores. I intended to sleep in today, but failed and was up by 7. Did some laundry, got lunch at a pretty bad local bar, and then walked around to take some photos.

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This man was blowing what appeared to be a shofar.

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Tomorrow we’re up at 2:40 for a 3am bus to Tikal, which I’m really excited about!

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