We arrived at the Utopia Lodge, just outside of Semuc Champey after dark which I always love as you wake up the next morning to a place full of life that you are yet to explore. Utopia is set in the midst of the forest surrounded by wild creatures, tropical flowers and cacao plants.
The main communal area over looks this incredible vista of forest. Just above this is a yoga platform and if you take a wander down the crooked path you will be met by the crystal clear river that flows down from Semuc.
We met some lovely people here; Lisa (who loves a selfie), her boyfriend Ric and Sonia. Luke and Sonia decided go for a hike one day and by doing so they discovered a lovely little local business, mainly used as a shop but also offering dinner if anyone happened to ask. We all wandered down there after dark for some traditional Guatemalen cuisine. Namely rice, tacos, beans and scrambled egg.
The food was good and because of Lisa and Sonia’s fluent Spanish we were able to convince them that they should open up a little restaurant for tourists. The food at Utopia is average, overpriced and 99% of the time it never actually arrives (they sell weed at the bar so I think the staff are constantly baked). There is a definite opportunity for a cheap restaurant here serving decent food. The owners, Elvira and Romiro were excited at the prospect of starting a new business so we drafted up a sign and told them we would come back tomorrow and make them a proper sign. All we asked is that they find a plank of wood.
The following day we set off to see what all the fuss was about in the much talked about Semuc Champey.
Naturally we started by getting our faces painted with charcoal in a candle lit cave.
Afterwards we bought locally made chocolate from these cute kids and headed to the river to experience the rope swing. This was where it all went wrong for me. After watching many people swing high into the air and fall into the water in various positions I felt pretty confident that I’d nail it. Luke certainly did …
I, however, could not have landed worse. A belly flop is one thing, a full body flop is another. How I didn’t bread my back I will never know. Hands down the most embarassing incident of my entire life ?
After that I decided no more risk taking so when it came to jumping off this ten meter bridge I kept my feet firmly on the ground, Luke gave it a go though.
I can see see why Semuc draws people from far and wide; it is so unique. As I towered over these tiered and turquoise natural pools, I felt as though dinosaurs should be roaming around below us.
After basking in these tranquil waters we jumped in tubes and let the river rapids take us back to Utopia. I loved passing little villages on the way where women were washing clothes at the river side. Most of the journey was calm but at points we hit fast rapids which were so much fun.
As promised, we headed back to Romiro and Elvira’s kitchen to create their sign.
They were thrilled and we loved being part of their new business venture. If you are ever in Semuc be sure to visit these guys. If you climb the hill from Utopia then turn right instead of turning left to Semuc, you will find them just past the footbridge on the right, about a 15-20 min walk.