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Semuc Champey in Lanquín

Lanquín is a town located in the southern portion of the Northern Lowlands in Guatemala.

It is much hotter here than in the highlands as it is in the deep valleys between the mountains.

Get in[edit]

  • Most people get to Lanquin from Coban. The minibus costs Q25 (Feb 2023), and will include stops to pick up locals. A private shuttle will cost more.

Get around[edit]

  • Walking is the best way to get around town. As it is not too large, most things can be reached within a twenty minute walk. In addition, you can get anywhere via Tuk Tuks which can be seen on the streets sometimes as late as 11PM or you can try to hitch a ride in a local truck for a couple of quetzales.


  • Semuc Champey - Located about 7km outside of Lanquin, along rough road is a series of tiered limestone pools of varying shades of turquoise. A wild river runs underneath the pools here. Hike up to the mirador for a view pools. Swim in the pools and jump off of the rocks. (Feb 2023) Q25 for a pickup ride from Lanquín to Semuc Champey. The road is under construction to be replaced with a paved road, therefore, expect extra time to get there.
  • Unknown waterfalls - Continue outside of Lanquin, past El Retiro for about four miles. You will come to another village. Ask about the waterfalls there (cascadas or cataratas), and someone will point them out.
  • Bats at Dusk - Go to the Grutas de Lanquin (Lanquin caves) at twilight. Go into the cave entrance and enjoy as the bats fly around your head as they exit the cave. Go in a large group, and negotiate a reduced rate. Show up after dark, and get in free (but miss most of the show). You can also stand on the riverbank for free and see the stunning spectacle of millions of bats streaming out of the cave mouth. Best to arrive just before sunset and wait around.


  • Grutas de Lanquin - Explore this cave by flashlight. See the bats at dusk. General admission is 30Q, though large groups can negotiate.
  • River Tubing - Tube down the Lanquin river to El Retiro. Cost is Q20 for tube, ride, and entrance fee. The driver will stop for you to purchase beers.
  • Tour of Semuc Champey - This is a tour run out of El Retiro. It begins with a candlelight tour of the Grutas de Las Marias, an underwater river which involves swimming, wading, climbing up waterfalls, and jumping into water in the darkness. Next is a jump off a 9m bridge and a float down the river. This is followed with exploration of Semuc Champey and a climb down to see where the river exits under the pools there.


  • There is a small market in town, but nothing that isn't found throughout all of Guatemala.
  • There is a Banrural bank with a 5B ATM.


  • Comedor Shalom - Located in town, they provide standard Guatemalan fare for Q25.
  • Comedor Cafe Andrely - Located on the main road, right next to Comedor Shalom, family run, they provide typical guatemalan food, plus burgers, pasta, omelettes, for Q20-30.
  • Comedor Champey - Located on the road between the center of Lanquin and El Retiro, it is located near the bridge and the school. It is also denoted by Hebrew written on the sign. Serve a very delicious schnitzel for Q25.
  • El Retiro - Serves a communal dinner every night. It is necessary to get your name on the list before you eat. Generally more expensive, but the food is quite delicious.


  • El Retiro (see in OpenStreetMap) - Late nights with lots of fun, dancing and ribaldry that will settle up another great day in Lanquin.


  • Zephyr Lodge - An eco friendly hostel on the top of a hill with a view on the river (and an access). Sleeping facilities goes from private (with private shower) bedrooms (Q80) to dormitories (Q35). Open air area with a 360° view of the valley, hammocks, innertubes provided to tube down the river. The food is great and cheap (Q30-40), breakfasts around Q20. Nice ambiance, very large choice of music to download, free internet and Wi-Fi, laundry service. Small tours organized to go to Semuc Champey at 8:30AM (Q90), with a particular (local) guide that will help you avoid the big tourist groups. They do their own bread, recycle plastic and batteries, they represent a sustainable community tourism and are involved with community projects.
  • Jorge's Guesthouse - This is a small property down the hill from El Retiro. Q25 per night for the clean sheets and an outhouse used by the chickens to lay eggs.
  • El Recreo - Located as you come into town. Swimming pools and zip lines are available here.
  • El Retiro (see in OpenStreetMap) - A large guesthouse complex beautifully located next to the Lanquin River. Sleeping facilities range from Hammocks to rooms with private beds. There is a pit for a fire, access to swim in the river, an excellent bar (although the evening meal may not suite everyone's appetite or budget) and a board tied up to surf the river. Music downloads available for Q100 (unlimited), internet access (which often doesn't work) at Q20 for unlimited use for the duration of your stay. An easy place to settle into for a couple of days. A look at their complaint book shows they often don't write down reservations, so have a backup option. A critical review on TripAdvisor can elicit real responses like this one: "you are such a little girl stop complaining and start living, don't you have something better to do?"
  • There are other guesthouses located centrally in Lanquin, as well as a couple of larger properties closer to Semuc Champey.

Go next[edit]

  • Many guesthouses can make travel arrangements for you.
  • El Retiro can arrange shuttles to Antigua, Cobán, Flores, and Rio Dulce (via El Estor). Be forewarned that some travellers going to Rio Dulce did part of the trip in the back of a pickup truck.
  • There are regular minibuses to Cobán from Lanquin.
  • Sayaxché, and onwards to Flores to visit the many Maya ruins in the region.

This city travel guide to Lanquín is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.