Friday, November 8, 2013

An Exploratory trip to Guate's Green Heart

This past weekend we took off and headed north from Antigua the the lush green department of Alta Verapaz to the hidden travelers hang out near Las conchas.  This is a place that we had heard about for years but just hadnt for whatever reason found the time to get out and check it out.  It had always be rumored to be what Semuc Champey was before the tourist crowds had taken it over and made it a mainstream Guatemalan dstination of the "Gringo Trail."

No, no, this place is legit!  It is a bit far removed from Antigua but perfected placed in the middle of the country to become THE stopover spot on an overland trip between Antigua and Tikal or the Rio Dulce.
Las Conchas definitely lived up to all the hype that had been circulating  about the remote jungle river and cave system.

We loaded up the 4x4 and rolled out to our friends hostal on the Rio Chiyu just downstream from Las Conchas.  We set out not only to take advantage of cold beers, jungle swimholes and jumping off the staircased waterfalls but to create an all-in-one tour of this area of Guatemala that is not focused on Semuc Champey and the overrun town of Lanquin.

What we found was pretty amazing!  A short pick up truck ride away from the lodge is the trail head to the Setzol caves system.  Its an hour hike through the lush forest to the entrance of Setzol where a beautiful river emerges from the cave.  We spend an hour or so exploring this cave before heading further down the trail to yet another cave that seemingly no one knows the name of!  This cave still has Mayan artifacts inside, making it a truly special place.

Our recee trip has turned into a new classic Old Town Outfitters tour called the  "caves and waterfalls"  tour.  Get in touch with us and join onto our next adventure to Las Conchas before it gets turned into another Semcu Champey!

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