Rainforest Paridise

Trip Start Sep 10, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Once in Coban we did the norm, find a hostel, find dinner, buy some groceries, and walk around town. The next morning we moved to a new hostel for a better room plus free pancake breakfast, we got that and a very annoying American who ran the hostel. One of the fist things he told Casey was about his dead sister and how his younger sister stole all of her stuff and knocked him out of the will. Whoa dude we just want some info about the Biotopo Quetzal. This he did give us and after his advise we did not go the Biotopo instead we walked around a national park right here in Coban. Victoria National park is a small reserve with kilometers of trails, they accomplish this by unnecessarily winding the trails around and zig zaging them right next to eachother. We hiked around for awhile and it was very pretty and relaxing, we found a very nice lake with a small gazebo on it. Our next stop was a famous Orchid nursery, this was a 40 minute walk on a hot road. When we got there we found it closed. What a day. Luckily we got a ride in the back of a pickup back to town. The rest of the day was spent sitting at a cafe chillin. There is nothing at all open on a Sunday in Coban. We did however go to a mall, yes a mall in the US way. It was weird and scary but there was a supermarket (unfortunately owned by Wal-mart) there and we needed things like sunscreen and stuff. This was the highlight of the day.
Monday the 6th. After our pancake breakfast and hearing about the dead sister again but in greater detail we set up a tour with Eco-Quetzal (www.ecoquetzal.org) for Wed. After that we got a micro bus to Semuc Champey. This was a very nice ride in the mountains with the last 20k a very bouncy dirt road. We got to our hostel and set up our tent on a wet patch of grass surrounded by forest, very nice. We missed the tour to the caves for today so we chilled by the river. We took turns on the rope swing which was pretty fun, just a bit chilly.
Tuesday the 7th was an amazing day with its ups and downs. It was great to sleep in the tent again, to continue the camping experience we cooked breakfast on my camp stove. Phil had given us a just add water egg breakfast. We lugged it all around so it was finally time to try it. Add water and cook for a few minutes and eat. Nasty, No me gusta! It wasn'tīt really that bad until we were burping them up later that day. Thanks a lot Phil and Kemp. After breakfast we walked to Semuc Champey. Now at this point we have know idea what to expect, only that everybody raves about it and its a must see. At the entrance gate we get a guided hike brochure and start hiking. The info in this brochure is pretty basic like what is a tree? Why are they important? It was a great hike following some good information about the types of trees and such. The hike was up a pretty steep trail that was being repaired with the help of a peace corp volunteer (however, we did not visit with this person). So some sections of the trail were real good, with new raised walkways and step ladders and other sections were pretty bad. It was an amazing hike, we kept climbing heading towards a mirador. The view from here was amazing and we finally saw what Semuc Champey was all about, the main attraction are crystal clear pools and creeks flowing over a limestone shelf which covers the main river completely for a 1/2 mile. Looking down on it, we could not wait to get there so we hiked down the trail with ambition. The water was so refreshing and delightful, jumping off one small ledge to another pool and swimming around, so nice. Unfortunately as we were getting ready to leave our new digital camera decided it also wanted to take a dip a fell into a small puddle. This is why we don't have many photos of this beautiful area. It did not work for a few days, but it is dried out now and works just great. Back at the hostel we had a quick lunch and went on the cave tour we missed the day before. We started off by grabbing inner tubes and walking up the road to the entrance of Kan Ba. Here while waiting for our guide we got to swing on a rope swing out over the river. We met our guide and headed up a path to the cave entrance. Here he lit three candles, gave one to each of us, and waded into the creek coming out of the cave mouth. We followed and soon were in complete darkness and up to our waists in water(well Casey was up to her chin). Then our guide turned to us and said "aqui nadamos" here we swim! With one hand holding the candle above water we swam through the cave. Sometimes walking and sometimes swimming we made our way through this amazing cave. There were some real cool formations and rocks. At one point we had to climb up a small waterfall with the help of a rope. It was a great adventure and a very cool cave. Sorry we have no pictures of this adventure as cameras were not recommended. Right like we could have swam with a candle in one hand and a camera in the other. The tour ended with a tube float down the river back to our hostel. What a great day. Now back at the hostel, we had some dinner and got ready for our very early bus ride tomorrow morning.
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