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Lanquin and Rio Dulce

Lanquin, Guatemala

I spent a few more days after the volcano day in Antigua soaking up the sun and taking in the relaxing wayof life. It is such a gorgeous town with markets and a beautiful central plaza surrounded by old buildings and purple flowering trees. I was going to be doing a five day language course whilst I was there but I met four great people who were moving on to Lanquin on the Monday morning, something that I was planning to do after my course, so I decided to go with them instead and do some language learning when I'm staying with Lals in Utila.......it was definitely worth it and we had the most fantastic couple of days.

We caught a shuttle to Lanquin which took about six hours and decided to stay at a hostel aptly named El Retiro. Right on the river and surrounded by thatched huts to stay in, it was a pure chunk of paradise (apart from the bedbugs!) We spent the first full day lounging in the sun and taking refreshing dips in the river and then yesterday we took a group tour to Semuc Champey, definitely the highlight so far. Famed for its emerald gren pools and river it didn't disappoint. The first activity was exploring the caves (allegedly a year or two ago some Americans spent three days trying to find the back of the caves but failed - just to give you an idea how extensive they are) by candlelight. We were each given our own candle and then we trekked through endless passages ways, up and down rocks. In some places the water was so deep we had to swin, which is harder than it sounds inflipflops and whilst holding a lit candle!

We eventually emerged into blazing sun and took a relaxing tube trip down the river. Basically you sit in a rubber ring and then let the slow current carry you downstream whilst you take in the scenery - stunning and perfectly relaxing. From there we hiked up to a lookout point - exhausting - to catch our first glimpse of the actual pools. It's hard to describe them or to give them justice using words so I will try and upload a photo of them soon so you can see for yourself. Deep green and in a sort of layered formation they made the perfect end to a tiring day. We were allowed to dive in and swim around for about an hour before we had to get the bus home......aboslute bliss.

Today we woke up and two of our travelling buddies headed off for Tikal, some ancient ruins in the jungle that given time I would have loved to have done myself. Instead Marcus, Emily and I set off for Rio Dulce which is a lakside town in the north-east of Guatemala. So far not much to report as we have only just got here but it appears to be an extremely bustling and lively fishing town. We only intend to stay one night here before heading upriver to Livingstone, a true backpacker hangout! To be continued......

permalink written by  veritykent on March 12, 2009 from Lanquin, Guatemala
from the travel blog: Up, up and away
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