If you’re ever in Guatemala you have to go to Camu Champey. Make sure you stay at a hotel called El Portal, and sign up for the whole adventure. Seriously, it’s an experiences you will never forget. The package includes a hike and swim to see the natural pools, tubbing down the river, and a candle lit cave tour.
Our adventure began with the guide painting our faces at 10am. We hiked up a very steep and slippery path to view the pools from above. Then, Dan feeling as though we were too slow, rushed down the path to the pools. Being the first to arrive we explored the area, and went right up to the edge of where the water falls below the pools. It was so exhilarating, I could feel my legs shaking out of nervousness and excitement. Once the group caught up, we swam in the pools, went down the naturally made water slides, swam under a pool into a small cave (only large enough for your head), and jumped off a ledge into another pool. It was awesome!
After the pools we grabbed a tube and headed down to float the river. One at a time, with flip flops in hand, we entered the river. Since it had been raining, the river was moving pretty quickly. But, seriously a tubbing adventure in the mountainous forest… who cares it if only lasted 10-15 minuets, it was amazing! We exited the river on the opposite side. Which meant we had to cross the bridge to get back to eat lunch. What I wasn’t expecting was what happened when we reached the bridge. Our guide climbed to the highest point he could on the bridge and leap into the river below. He then hurried back up, encouraged everyone to do it (Dan of course did), and then proceeded to call the rest of us chicken as he climbed back up and jumped again and again. (For the record, I’m not chicken! I jumped off a cliff at Lake Powell… Holly is my witness. I just didn’t want to lose my contacts or my nose ring ;))
Following lunch, our adventure reached a whole new level. We went caving! I knew we were in for a treat because the sign at the entrance described the caves as magical and mesmerizing. Plus, we were given a candle… How cool is that!? One by one, our group of 20 lit their candles, and entered the cave. As we walked, the water got higher and higher until we has to swimming. We climbed up ladders, crawled through tight spaces, and up a rope through a waterfall. At every turn we encountered stalactites, stalagmites, and sharp rocks. Once we reached the back of the cave our guide climbed to the top of the dimly lit cave, and jumped into a pool below. All I could think was “that dude is crazy.” Seconds later, I can barley make out another figure at the top of the rock. Yup, it was my crazy, adventurous, non-fearing Dan. Luckily, he survived the risky jump with just a little scrape.
At this point, more than half of my candle had burned away. I look around and see others with the same realization… we better get moving! Quickly, but in my opinion not quick enough, we head back the way we came. Candles were burning out right and left. By the time we reached the end only two candles made it. All 20 of us made it out of the cave, however, when we went to grab our shoes there was one pair left untouched. We didn’t sign any wavers and there really was no record of where we were. I kinda made me worry a bit. But, it wasn’t that dangerous, and at least two people who went in the cave with us that didn’t even know how to swim, and they survived.
Seriously, this entire day was incredible and is ranked in my top 10 life experiences!