Lanquín Caves (Grutas de Lanquín)
Explore the caverns’ beauty and history and watch as their most notable residents—thousands of bats—rush from their homes to explore the dark skies at night. On a tour, learn the importance of various chambers such as the Altar of the Pillory where Mayan priests perform sacred rites, and the Bridge of the Fall of the King, a bridge that was restored after collapsingxa0 under the weight of King Leopold of Belgium while visiting years back.
Many tours include a hike in the 27-acre (11-hectare) national park and a relaxing float down the Lanquin river.xa0 Since the region is quite remote, multi-day tours from Antigua make sense, as you’ll have the time to take in the highlights. Trek to the alpine town of Cobán to spot quetzal and rare orchids in El Biotopo del Quetzal forest, explore the caves, and then move on to the spectacular limestone pools of Semuc Champey.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Lanquín Caves is an ideal spot for nature lovers.
- Don’t use flash photography inside the caves, as the light affects the bats’ ability to see.
- Wear shoes with good treads since rocks are slippery.
- Railings assist on the most steep climbs, which can be tricky for those with mobility issues.
- The caves are not wheelchair-friendly.
- By the river, there is a bathing area with dressing rooms, restrooms, and a picnic area.
How to Get There
Lanquín Caves (Grutas de Lanquín) are located in Alta Verapaz in a remote region of Guatemala, about 18 miles (61 kilometers) east of Cobán. Expect about two hours on the road. The caves are about a 6-hour-drive northeast of Antigua. Most visitors come here as part of an organized tour, as buses are not frequent or convenient. From the parking lot, take the lighted trail inside the cavw.
When to Get There
The caves are open daily, from the morning until the evening. Most visitors make their way to the caves in the morning or at dusk to see the bats fly from their hiding places deep inside the caves. Peak season in this area runs from November to April, which coincides with the dry season.
Semuc Champey From the caves, venture about 7.6 miles (12 kilometers) to another natural wonder, the astonishingly beautiful Semuc Champey. Within the forest, tiered turquoise pools are connected by natural limestone bridges. Bring your swimsuit to swim and soak in the warm, clean water. Depending on climatic variations throughout the year, their colors may vary. In between swims, find the path that leads to Río Cahabón, the river that feeds the pools.
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- Semuc Champey
- Biotopo del Quetzal
- Mixco Viejo
- Relief Map (Mapa en Relieve)
- Plaza de la Constitución (Parque Central)
- Iglesia de Santo Domingo
- Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
- Popol Vuh Museum (Museo Popol Vuh)
- National Palace
- La Aurora Zoo (Zoólogico la Aurora)
- National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MUNAE)
- IRTRA Mundo Petapa
- Cerro de la Cruz (Hill of the Cross)
- Casa Santo Domingo (Monasterio de Santo Domingo)