Explore Cobán and the Verapaces Baja Verapaz Southern Alta Verapaz Cobán Lanquín and around Northern Alta Verapaz Share The region’s prime attraction, and one of the most beautiful natural destinations in Guatemala, is Semuc Champey, a shallow staircase of sublime turquoise pools suspended on a natural limestone bridge. This idyllic spot sits at the base of a towering jungle-clad valley and makes a wonderful destination for a blissful day’s wallowing and swimming. Just a few years ago very few visitors made it to this remote part of Guatemala, but the secret is now definitely out, and the pools are very much a key stop on the backpacking trail between Tikal and the western highlands. That said, you can usually find a peaceful corner without too much difficulty. If you walk a few hundred metres upstream via a slippery path you come to the river source that feeds Semuc: the fast-flowing Río Cahabón, the bulk of which plunges into a cavern, cutting under the pools in an aquatic frenzy before emerging again downstream. For a photo-perfect view of the whole scene, you can hike (and climb a little in sections) for twenty minutes up a slippery, vertiginous trail to a mirador high above the pools. There are security guards at the site, but it’s best not to leave your belongings unattended. You’ll find a small café (reasonable meals are around US$5) and there are vendors selling drinks and snacks at the entrance. While you can visit on your own, most travellers choose to visit Semuc as part of a tour, which avoids having to wait for infrequent public transport or tackling the terrible dirt access road.