Hiking in Lanquín
published aug 24th, 2015
Hiking in Lanquín is very beautiful. The rolling green mountains, winding blue-green rivers and velvety wrinkles of foothills are really breathtaking. In fact, most visitors to Lanquín will notice how gorgeous the landscape is before even arriving, simply by gazing out of the windows of their shuttle or bus.
Unfortunately, hiking trails in Lanquín aren’t very well developed or documented. Part of that is an issue of demand, in that few tourists seem to arrive in Lanquín looking for hiking day-trips. And that’s understandable considering the primary attraction in Lanquín is Semuc Champey, and plenty of visitors only stay in the area a day or two.
Lanquín hiking is pretty incredible, however, and is certainly worth ferreting out if you have the time. Ask your hostel or hotel about hikes, or who you can speak with to learn more about area walking and hiking. There are definitely a few hikes available, and with a little more expressed interest from tourists the amount of available hikes in the area is sure to grow.
Here’s a few basic walks you can start out with:
Semuc Champey Viewpoint
The Semuc Champey viewpoint (mirador) is the most common hike in Lanquín. Virtually everyone who visits the park will hike up to the viewpoint. This viewpoint is where all the popular, ariel Semuc Champey photos are taken that depict the whole natural monument with blue-green pools flowing across its surface. If you visit Semuc Champey, you need to make this hike.
Semuc Champey, from viewpoint inside the park
Entry to the park is Q50. The hike is included in most package tours. You don’t actually need a guide once you’re inside the park (there’s only one path and it’s well marked). But if you’re visiting after school hours or on the weekend, it won’t hurt to pay one of the little kids Q10 or Q20 to recite some facts about the park and practice his English while leading the way up the mountain.
Utopia Eco Hotel to Semuc Champey
If you’re staying at Utopia Eco Hotel, walking to Semuc Champey is probably the simplest way to get in a good hike without derailing your day. Expect to spend about forty-five minutes to an hour walking. You’ll see plenty of gorgeous landscape and river before arriving at the Semuc Champey Natural Monument.
Hike from Utopia Eco Hotel to Semuc Champey
You can take two, similar routes. 1) Leave Utopia by road, and take a left when the road forks. This route is all road but affords some really beautiful landscape views from higher vantage points. 2) Walk down to the waters edge by Utopia, then take a right and follow the river until it meets the road. Take a left from there, and then a left when the road forks. This route includes more shade, river, flowers, birds and whatnot.
Hike to Cerro de San Augustín
This is a pretty serious hike with a viewpoint (mirador) and Mayan ceremonial site at its top. Head to (or call) Viña del Chef to arrange the hike. They’ll probably charge you Q60 - Q75 for a guide. It will take a couple of hours, and you’ll want to bring water and perhaps some snacks. The hike is a pretty intense grade through vegetation, then along a ridge to the viewpoint and ceremonial area. From the top of the hill Lanquín is spread out below you like a topographical map. You can see the Lanquín river running all the way from its source (Las Grutas Caves), through town, and off beyond view. See the slideshow at the bottom of this post for pictures.
Hiking routes in Lanquín develop and change as tourists’ interest in hiking stabilizes. Do you know about other area guides, trails or established hikes? Contact us or comment with your additional information.
Check out the slideshow below for some photos from the hike up Cerro de San Augustín, available from Viña del Chef.