Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Caving Lanquin, Guatemala

During the Semana Santa holiday, I jumped on one of our premiere trips, a caving trip to Lanquin. I wanted to learn the trip and get away from the Antigua crowds. Personally I haven’t caved since I was a kid and we visited some volcanic caves in Idaho. Let me tell you the Lanquin and Can’Ba caves north of Coban in Lanquin are a different story entirely. Humid, muddy, wet and full of bats!

For our second day of the trip we visited the Lanquin caves. In the morning Juan and I gave the rest of the group a lesson in Rappelling. This group requested the fullest caving adventure possible so we broke out the rope and harnesses. After our lesson we headed off to the Lanquin caves. The outer caverns are well traveled and well lit so we cruised past the crowded part and headed into the dark where we set up our rappelling anchors and proceeded to drop into the darkness well away from the disturbing sounds and lights of the surface world.

In the inner caves we did a fair bit of exploration and saw some things Juan had never seen before. His new extra bright light was eye opening, so to speak. After 5 hours in the dark depths we finally surfaced and made our way down to the Lanquin river to rinse off and float back to El Retiro. Natalie and Juan revisited childhood with a game of ring toss with inner-tubes in the parking lot. The local kids loved it! It was a little late, thanks to our long hours in the cave, but we floated up to El Retiro just in time to grab a warm shower before dinner and then settle in to a chair with a beer in hand.

For the third day we headed to Semuc Champey. Pretty amazing is all I have to say. One river flowing under the other seems simply uncanny, much less, to swim in one and look down at the other raging river disappearing underneath. Following our Swim we headed to the water caves called Can’ Ba. Juan calls it the Goonies Cave, because there’s a natural water slide and lots of cool features. My wife and Lauren even collected a bunch of clay to make pottery with. We’ll be seeing the results in a week or two. No photos of this cave though because we used a disposable in the water cave and didn’t get digital versions. It was however a stellar topper to the trip and we all enjoyed every minute of it. The only regret I have was getting in the car for the long ride home. I think I could spend a week or two just relaxing and floating rivers in the Lanquin area.

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