We head into some pretty remote territory. Isolated mountain aldeias of a couple of houses are punctuated by occasional larger settlements with bustling markets. The other traffic we encounter is most commonly women on foot, generally burdened by large bundles carried on their heads. Every now and then a heavily overloaded pickup truck or mini-bus passes by raising huge clouds of dust.
Finally we make it to Lanquin, the village nearest to the legendary Semuc Champey.
There is only ten kilometres between Lanquin and Semuc Champey but they are not for the faint-hearted. I haven’t seen such ascents since leaving the Copper Canyon. I run into Vinko and Collette in Lanquin and they tell me the road to Semuc is unrideable. I did get off and push from time to time but I made it.
The ten kilometres take us a couple of hours to achieve but the river when we arrive at it looks good. We set up camp at Tres Maria’s one of the three accommodation options available in the vicinity of Semuc Champey and without further ado make our way to explore in the company of Dave and Jana, a young couple from the US.
An extensive cave system with copious water running through it honey combs the limestone hills and the following day we opt to explore it. Dave is a keen caver and has lights and ropes but we discover that entry without a guide is not an option.