From Tikal I rode the other half of the loop to Lanquin to see Semuc Champey. Not as easy as I thought! ha ha. Quite the ride. But being in Lanquin and seeing Semuc was a highlight of my trip so far.
The Road to Lanquin
The road to Lanquin seemed pretty direct. Most of it was a major highway and the last part a secondary highway. At least that is what my map said.
Crossed a nice ferry.
And then made a left to continue along the secondary road. For some reason my GPS didn’t want me to go this route. It was good until all of a sudden it turned to gravel with big rocks and washed out portions! Sometimes this happens to roads here and I thought it would end it a bit. A kilometer up the road and it still hadn’t ended.
It was a very difficult road for me. I had done a road similar for a shorter duration when I wasn’t fully loaded. But all the extra weight made the bike hard to handle. I kept the speed up and just followed the bike as it twisted and bucked along the road. I thought I would fall a few times.
As soon as I found a relatively flat spot I had to stop.
I walked up the road a ways to look around a corner to see if the road was going to turn back into pavement. It didn’t. I walked back to my bike debating on whether or not I should continue.
I didn’t relish quitting and heading back though either. When I got back to my bike, I paced around a bit trying to decide what to do.
The only other vehicle I saw was a huge heavy duty truck carrying people. Finally I decided to turn back. It was still 19 km to Lanquin and I couldn’t stand thinking about doing it on this road. There was another way into the town, but that meant 150 kms rather than the 19.
As I got on my bike and attempted to turn it around I fell. The bike landed on top of my ankle. Fortunately, my hard panniers stopped the bike from landing hard on my ankle. But I was still trapped. With my other foot I managed to push my bike up enough to get leg free. I gladly road back.
It was a long way around to enter Lanquin from the other side. I got to a fork in the road to discover it was another 11 km into town on a dirt road. This road was difficult at times, but manageable.
Eventually I made it to the El Retiro Lodge in Lanquin.
El Retiro Lodge
The El Retiro Lodge was more like a hostel. An oasis hostel!
Each night there was a buffet dinner in a communal setting. The food was awesome. Being a hostel, people were a lot more approachable and I met an amazing couple named Samantha and Gregg from Chicago. They were taking a year away to travel the world before settling down somewhere in the world.
The Ride to the Natural Monument Semuc Champey
The main reason for going to Lanquin was to visit the Natural Monument Semuc Champey. I booked transportation to it through the hostel. On to the back of a truck we went for the ride.
We finally arrived. I could have done it on my motorcycle, but then I would be worried about leaving it in the parking lot while I hiked. Plus this truck ride was pretty fun!
Natural Monument Semuc Champey
Samantha, Gregg and I sort of hiked together heading to the main lookout. It was a steep climb and soon they were way ahead. My legs were aching. Exhausted I made it to the lookout.
These were views I had seen many times in blogs I have read. Now I was here! It was a surreal experience. I am now one of them.
I lingered a long time at the lookout. Both to enjoy the view and recover before hiking down to the pools.
By the time I got there, they were fairly crowded. But I still enjoyed walking from one pool to another enjoying the sights.
At the last pool I sat by the side of the pool and got a pedicure from all these fish to were tugging at my feet eating my dead skin ha ha.
It actually felt good after. I couldn’t have used a body massage too though.
Such an awesome day!!!
I really enjoyed it at the hostel and in Lanquin. So much so I booked another night. I probably should have booked even more.
There wasn’t much in town but I did find a coffee shop for my morning coffee. It was a long walk up hill to get there. After coffee I just about got back to the hostel when I realized I had left my cell phone at the coffee shop. Back up hill I went. When I got there the woman said no … no there was no cell phone there. CRAP! I searched my bag again. Then I turned around and saw her smiling with my cell phone in hand. Pretty funny. She had tricked me. Such friendly people. If not a bit mischievous!
With the extra day Samantha, Gregg and I went tubing down the river in from of our hostel. A lot of fun! Even if the the current was strong. They gave us a beer to drink while tubing, but mine quickly filled with water from the rapids in the river.
One of the other hazards was dodging the trees hanging out over the river. Not weasy to do in fast running water. Samantha hit a tree trunk and was toppled over. Gregg hit a branch and went over. I hit a branch too but stayed on the tube.
For the rest of my extra day I relaxed on the hammock outside my room and went to the river and read.
Yup …. I should have booked more days there. So relaxing. One of the highlights of my trip so far.