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My Experience in Lanquin Caves and Other Activities in San Agustin Lanquin

This country is home to a huge amount of natural destinations, that’s one of the first attractions it has to offer after living and traveling for more than 25 years I have concluded that Guatemala’s hidden gem is San Agustín Lanquín. Let’s delve into the Lanquin Caves and other attractions!

A good example of what San Agustin Lanquin’s municipality has to offer is Lanquin Caves and Semuc Champey, both top destinations in Guatemala. While both of them can be visited as a day trip from Antigua, what most people miss is the town of Lanquin and how perfect it is for a getaway to visit those two natural attractions and SEVERAL others.

This municipality is home to some of the best things to do in the country and it’s packed with nature and adventure.

Hiking the Lanquin Caves

The caves are an enormous and beautiful complex with limestone formations of extraordinary beauty, they are also a sacred site used by many of the Mayas from all over Guatemala, who believe the cave is the “heart of heaven”, and that in the depths of the cave “the secret of centuries is hidden”.

This Lanquin cave system is so widespread that not a single explorer or hardcore spelunker has been known to see where it ends. For the less-than-average caver, like me, there is a well-lit path that goes for a good 450 meters in, just deep enough to feel its magical power.

Note: The path inside the cave may be lit, but power outages are quite common thing here, so it would be a good idea to bring flashlights! Plus, it has super slippery ground, so be careful and wear very good walking shoes.

a woman and kid inside the lanquin caves guatemala
I remember my second visit with kids to Lanquin Caves, it was an incredible moment for them, they had a blast and I was surprised at how developed everything was.

Check out the Bats Leaving the Lanquin Cave during Sunset

When I traveled to San Agustin Lanquin a few years back, I didn’t know anything about the famous Lanquin Caves until a fellow backpacker suggested we go explore them! Since backpackers are notoriously known for going where few have gone before and even more for taking their time getting there, we luckily arrived at the cave around 5 pm.

I remember I said ‘Luckily’ because if we got our acts together and arrived at noon like we originally planned, I would have missed an extraordinary event!

Right as we were near it, along the path, we started to hear a strange sound and suddenly out of nowhere, thousands and thousands of BATS made their nightly ritual to leave the cave in search of food.

bats inside lanquin caves guatemala
My kids loved to see bats everywhere they look at, make sure to visit the cave until sunrise and see how the bats leave the cave to eat, a magical show!

Other Things To Do In Lanquin

There are many fun things to do around here on the many natural attractions of the area. Below is a list of some of my favorite ones.

Stroll around Lanquin Town

Lanquin is a small indigenous & colorful town located in the Alta Verapaz department, Central Highlands of Guatemala. Back in the day when I first visited the town, it was an undeveloped town and there were almost no hotels or hostels in the area, but fortunately, today you can find a ton!

This tiny town is just minutes away from one of Guatemala’s most famous attractions after Antigua, Atitlan Lake, and Tikal National Park, the Lanquin Cave System.

A walk around the town is a great way to immerse in the local culture.

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Swimming at the Semuc Champey turquoise pools

Swimming at the Semuc Champey turquoise pools is a MUST if you’re visiting San Agustin Lanquin, the pools are located 11km to the south of Lanquin town.

There is a 300m long limestone bridge, on top of which there are several natural pools of different sizes filled with crystalline mountain spring water.

Something my family and I loved to do was hiking to the top of the nearby lookout, which has the best views of the pool and waterfalls.

woman sitting next to a natural pool in semuc champey guatemala
Semuc Champey is hands down one of my favorite places in the country, I visit it several times and is perfect to pair it with a visit to the Lanquin Caves.

Try rafting in the Río Cahabón

The Cahabon River, not only offers dif different levels of rafting but also tubing and there are A LOT of tour operators offering this with everything included.

It’s a rush of adrenaline and a unique adventure, we visited this area several times and my kids loved this and there were no issues while doing it.

Visit K’anba Caves

Another cave to visit which is closer to town and several hotels is the K’anba Caves, to get there you’ll see a large metal bridge over the Cahabon River and a trail that leads from the bridge to a shelter below the cave entrance.

It is located about 500 ft. before the entrance to Semuc Champey. This is also the starting point for tubing tours in the Cahabon River.

woman exploring lanquin caves in san agustin lanquin guatemala
I love how each time I explored the Lanquin Caves it felt like the first time.

Hike to the Yaxlik Cave

Many animal lovers and adventure junkies enjoy visiting this cave, it has to offer interesting stalactites and stalagmites, a large bat population, spiders, and crabs. It is muddy and slippery and has some rooms that are very steep to enter, making it necessary to use ropes.

So this would be perfect for those looking for some extra excitement. To get there, you will have to take a 45-minute hike and caving takes about 1 hour.

Something that surprised me a lot on my first visit was that the nearby villagers used the cave for ceremonies.

inside lanquin caves

Check out El Cabro Waterfall

El Cabro waterfall is located in the village of Chitzubil in a forested valley to the northeast of Lanquin. It is a series of waterfalls, some of which reach 70ft and form small pools where you can swim.

This is the perfect place for travelers looking for unique, almost untouched waterfalls in Guatemala to visit. There is no infrastructure, so it is highly recommended to have the company of a local guide at all times.

Check out the Candelaria Caves National Park

This subterranean marvel is often considered one of the largest and most impressive cave systems in Central America, and it welcomes a ton of tourists, and academic people from all over the world.

The Candelaria Caves National Park has a lot to offer, activities like hiking and wildlife watching are top-notch here, and not only that, the caves hold more than geological wonders, it’s packed with Mayan history. You can find scattered pottery artifacts and ancient rock paintings.

True evidence of the caves’ use for ceremonies and rituals by the Maya civilization!

inside a cave in guatemala

Take a chocolate tour in Utopia Cacao Farm

Even if you’re not a chocolate lover with a hint of adventure, visiting Utopia Cacao Farm is a must. They are close to the Cahabon River and even have a hotel, making it a good option for nature lovers.

I did several coffee tours in Antigua, and I must tell you that this one is on a whole different level. The vibes, the atmosphere, and even the climate are different here, making it a great option for learning all about coffee.

Fly over the forest at Canopy Guayaha

Besides the pools of Semuc, the Canopy Guayaha is San Agustin Lanquin’s hidden gem and a must-visit, it’s a lot more than just an adventure park.

It’s situated within the lush forest and close to Semuc Champey and here you’ll be able to zip-line through the tree tops, do rafting and tubing, and enjoy guided tours. It’s very professional and safe, tours are done by knowledgeable people and they will instruct you and help you with anything you need.

canopy tour

Horseback riding through the Guatemalan rainforest

Horseback riding is one of my things and I have done it SEVERAL times in Guatemala and even across Central America, in places like Costa Rica and even Belize. I must tell you that here in Lanquin is one of my favorite places to do horseback riding.

The trails take you through dense vegetation, and the animal’s sounds and tranquility are the only things here, you get to cross crystal-clear streams, and spot ceiba trees, orchids, and ferns.

If you’re lucky, you can spot some toucans, monkeys, and even jaguars!

Have a wild adventure on board a mountain bike

Mountain biking is not for the faint of heart and believe it or not, there are several trails for this activity in Lanquin, varying in difficulty of course.

Back in the town of San Agustin Lanquin you can easily contact Lanquin Outdoors and rent some bikes, they are in good shape, and the guides a helpful!

mountain biking in lanquin guatemala

How to get to Lanquin?

If you are leaving from Guatemala City you need to take the CA-14 highway to get to Coban, however, I recommend that you don’t drive.

The best way to get there. Pretty much every travel agency in the country should be able to hook you p with a shuttle with private options. Making it an extremely accessible area to visit.

Take a look at this map to get a better idea of where it is located.

There is no way to reach it by air, so you will have to endure the 6 to 7.5-hour drive to the town. But it will be worth the trip. It is also a good place to spend a couple of days as you make your way from the attractions in the Central Highlands like Atitlan and Antigua to the Northern Mayan Ruins.

pool area zephyr lodge in lanquin guatemala
My kids and I agree that staying in San Agustin Lanquin is the best option and a MUST.

Where to Stay?

There are several places to stay in Lanquin, nowadays you can find accommodations in the town itself like Zephyr Lodge, which is my recommendation (I have stayed there SEVERAL times), or near the Cahabon River like Greengos’s Hotel, which is an all-time favorite for expats and digital nomads.

There’s something suitable for everyone, from hostels and hotels to glamping and more.

Here are three more recommendations:

El Portal De Champey – Best Luxury

El Portal De Champey offers a luxurious option to enjoy San Agustin Lanquin without giving up on many amenities.

It offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and gardens, this hotel provides a serene retreat. It has an outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, bar, and evening shows or entertainment.

The rooms are clean and the staff is great.

El Retiro Lanquin – Best Mid-Range

El Retiro Lanquin is the perfect balance between comfort and affordability, it’s your regular hotel stay. It’s located in the town near the river and its vibes are tranquil, you get to wake up to the sound of birds chirping!

My favorite part was the sun terrace, which offers breathtaking views of the river, and the shared lounge is a great place to connect with other people.

They offer tubing and other adventures on the river and nearby areas!

Hostal Oasis The Traveler- Best Budget

This one offers a full backpacker experience, it’s affordable, is located near the lake, and is usually used by digital nomads. It has a laid-back atmosphere and has two different outdoor pools, a restaurant, and different areas to talk with other travelers.

Whether you’re traveling solo or with a friend, this one is the perfect option to enjoy the area’s activities.

FAQs

Is Lanquin safe for travelers?

Yes, Lanquin is generally safe for travelers. However, like any destination, it’s essential to take standard precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

What’s the best time to visit Lanquin?

The dry season (November to April) is ideal for exploring Semuc Champey. During the rainy season, some trails may be muddy and slippery.

Are there any eco-friendly accommodations in Lanquin?

Yes, several lodges and guesthouses in Lanquin prioritize sustainability and eco-tourism.

Can I swim in Semuc Champey’s natural pools?

Absolutely! The turquoise pools are inviting and safe for swimming. Just be cautious of the strong currents during the rainy season.

How do I get to Lanquin from Guatemala City?

You can take a bus or shuttle from Guatemala City to Lanquin. The journey takes approximately 8-10 hours, but the scenic views along the way are worth it!

All About Venturing in the Lanquin Caves of Guatemala

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Last Updated on July 4, 2024

2 thoughts on “My Experience in Lanquin Caves and Other Activities in San Agustin Lanquin

  1. I’m a big cave tour fan. I know some operators offer tours for the more adventurous that get them away from the paved/lit portions of the cave – is there any such option at Lanquin Caves?

    1. Hey Justin,

      sorry for the late response, I was traveling with no internet. Lanquin is the best by far. What’s really awesome about these caves though, is that at dusk millions, no exaggeration, of bats fly out. it’s insane!

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