Cave Exploring at Semuc Champey, Guatemala
So you’re thinking about spelunking the great caves at Semuc Champey. Excellent.
You’ll find this dark, water-filled marvel just across the bridge from Eastern Guatemala’s famous turquoise pools. For a small entry fee, they’ll assign you a guide, give you a candle and take you to see the sights.
Here’s a cute video of us playing with our candles in the water to give you an idea of what you’re in for:
But wait, there’s more!
What else will you find in this water-logged, candle-lit tour of the underworld?
Jagged rocks. Slippery slopes. No visibility. Climbing rope ladders. Swimming with one hand. Cliff jumping in the dark. Scraping your ankles on sharp underwater rocks. This place has it all!
Whenever I find myself in these sorts of precarious situations, I think about my mother. I can’t help it. Like, what would she say if she knew I was doing this? What would she do if she were here with me?
I mentioned this to my friend as we were attempting to climb a rope up a waterfall one-handed (everything in the caves is one-handed, because, ya know, that dang candle) and she was like, “I was just thinking the EXACT. SAME. THING.”
Our mom’s would kill us.
Or worry about our emanate deaths.
Here’s a TripAdvisor Review from a mom that went to the caves. Okay, so I don’t know if this woman actually has children, but she self-identifies as a female between 50 and 64, AKA my mom.
I believe my question about what my mom would say if she accidentally ended up in the caves has been answered.
Now, normally when someone gives a business / tour / experience a one-star review, I’m like, “Psh. Quit exaggerating. The restaurant doesn’t deserve zero stars because the waitress took too long to refill your water glass.” We all know those people.
But here’s the other thing about the caves:
The caves are at least as sketchy as the TripAdvisor lady described. I have no doubts that many people have been seriously injured.
As we were heading back toward the entrance of the cave, another group had made there way to the cliff jumping spot. We had declined to jump on the way in. But now we stopped to watch a jumper… and she almost impaled her face on the far side of the cave.
And she doesn’t even know it because she couldn’t see the cliff face right in front of her.
Now, I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, but just a quick know before you go:
- Know what you’re getting into. If that video gave you the heebie jeebies, maybe the caves aren’t for you. Unless you like heebie jeebie-inducing activities.
- You should be physically fit and stable on your feet. Wear shoes with good traction. Yes, wear your tennis shoes in the water.
- Don’t cliff jump. Please. I can’t unsee what I saw. Not worth it.
- You should be able to climb a rope one-handed, up a waterfall. Just kidding. Kind of…
- Don’t bring your mom.
There was that one second of oh-my-God-am-I-going-to-die fear (you can see it in the video) right before I dropped through that hole of gushing water… but I like to live dangerously. I enjoyed the caves.
Don’t tell my mom.
Did you even sign up for something not knowing exactly what you were getting into? Would you take the chance in the caves?