Semuc Champey, Guatemala - Unique Places in Central America

Semuc Champey means a place where the river disappears under the rocks.
Semuc Champey means a place where the river disappears under the rocks.

Semuc Champney, Guatemala is a unique and popular tourist destination.

What and Where Is Semuc Champey?

Semuc Champey, which literally means a place where the river disappears under the rocks, is a natural limestone bridge, which is about 300 meters wide. Under the bridge flows the Cahabon River in the department of Alta Verapaz in Guatemala. Semuc Champey is 11 kilometers south of Q’eqchi Maya town in Languin. At the top of the bridge is a sequence of natural stepped pools, which are full of turquoise blue water. The pools are very popular as a swimming attraction. Semuc Champey is difficult to access but in the recent times, Semuc has gained greater popularity especially among the travelling masses.

Tourism to Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey is attractive to the eye. The pools beckon tourists with their turquoise waters and stepped awe. Tourists particularly love a bird’s eye view of the natural bridge above the pool. The view is breathtaking. Many have described Semuc Champey as the most beautiful place in Guatemala. A tourist may spend the morning hours relaxing with their feet dipped in the pools; it is a relaxing and a great fun time activity that a tourist incredibly enjoys. In the recent times, Semuc Champey has gained popularity with travelers. Despite being a bit difficult to access, many local Guatemalans as well as foreigners from Central America and other parts of the world frequent Semuc Champey. Adventurous tourists relish climbing the slippery rocks and dipping in the pools.

Uniqueness of Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey is a unique place not only in Guatemala but also entirely in Central America. At Semuc Champey, the Cahabon River runs underground and in its wake leaves pools filled with aquamarine turquoise waters. The water runs on slippery rocks. Located deep into the Guatemalan jungle, Semuc Champey resembles a paradise and is complete with six turquoise pools, a widespread cave network, and underground waterfalls. From Semuc Champey, distant howling of monkeys, cricketing of birds, and other wild game is easy to hear adding a feel of flora and fauna to this undeniably beautiful place.

Habitat of Semuc Champey

With all its exquisite beauty, Semuc Champey teems with life. From both sides of the pools, lush greenery covers the ground adding to its beauty. This greenery is because of the thick tropical forest that surrounds Semuc Champey. As of now, around 34 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 10 species of fish, and whooping 100 species of birds reside in Semuc Champey. Trees, which are vast majority, are available in 120 different species.

Threats to Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey, due to its attractiveness as a tourist destination, has been experiencing social conflicts. The indigenous people who live near it had been managing and conserving the place long before it attained a status as a top tourist destination. Now that representatives of the central Guatemalan government manage it, the locals feel sidelined in matters regarding the revenues earned from Semuc Champey. There has been that kind of conflict and ill feelings from the locals. The government has failed to reach an agreement with local populace as to how to manage Semuc Champey and how to split the funds among the various stakeholders. This threatens Semuc Champey as a tourist attraction site. In order to maintain the glamour of Semuc Champey as a tourist destination, an improvement in its management is needed.


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