Today we took a beautiful car journey from Coban to Lanquin through the mountains and after the cool climate of the highlands it is quite strange to be back in hot and humid weather...we can definitely put away the thermals for a while!
When we arrived in Lanquin we decided to head straight up to Semuc Champey as the bus was going there anyway and the thought of swimming in some nice cool pools was very appealing after a hot bus journey. Semuc Champey, as you can see from the photo, is a series of pools, which is actually a natural bridge over a river (i.e. there is a long tunnel running underneath these pools which cannot be seen in the photo).
Before we went to cool down in them, we decided to make ourselves seriously hot and sweaty by taking the long walk up the hill to get the amazing view of the whole area. Half way up we realised that we hadn´t looked at the sign to see how far it was to the view point and the path was getting really difficult (especially for those of us with short legs)...big tree roots, huge rocks and at a seriously steep gradient. After about half an hour of a hard hot climb we made it to the view point...and what a view it was. It was worth every moment of pain...ok I know that a half hour walk doesn`t sound much, but in that heat and humidity up a steep slope with obstacles every few steps, trust me, it was hard going! The view that greeted us was that which is in the main photo of this blog, but it really doesn´t do it justice. The water was pure turquoise, and surrounded by the green of the jungle it was a stunning view.
After lots (LOTS!) of photos and "oohs" and "ahhs", we made our way back down the hill to have a very well earned soak in the pools. We spent a couple of hours, swimming between the pools and generally relaxing and enjoying the fact that we didn´t have anything to do but chill! At about 3:30 we headed back to Lanquin in the hope that el Retiro lodge had some rooms available...in case you didn´t know I am on a personal growth mission of being able to stay sane without having a clear cut plan of what we are doing next...
It is the first time we have turned up somewhere and not been able to get the kind of room that we wanted, so we had to go for one of their loft rooms. Which is basically a little attic room (private at least and very comfortable...not what you first imagine when you hear the word loft!!), which was above one of the double rooms that we had been hoping for. Getting to it entailed climbing a vertical ladder. which s was generally ok except for in the middle of the night, when half asleep and needing the loo you had to navigate your way down this ladder and take what seemed like a very very long walk to the bathroom (after having spent 10 minutes fumbling in the room for the torch first!). By the time you have walked back across the field and back up the ladder, you are so awake that any chance of more sleep has vanished!
However, it was a great place to stay and we met some lovely people from the states, Carra, Nate and Kelsey (Carra we had met on the bus there). After a bit of chill out time we headed for the all your can eat veggie buffet!!, woo hoo! After dinner we spent the night by the river with a fire blazing with good chat and our old friend called rum...just the perfect night that we had been looking for.