On the advice of our friend Julio in Antigua we set off from the lake into the mountains northward. We road from Panajachel up into the Quiche (kee-chay). The road from Sacapulas to San Cristobal Verapaz is unpaved and mostly good, but at times was sort of like driving up a river bed. The worst was when the rocks were quite big from a wash out and a chicken bus was bearing down on us. We were luck with good weather or it could have been a bit of a nightmare.
After a long day we arrived in Coban and realized we knew the cross street of our hotel, but not the zone. The same cross streets are in ALL the zones. After a bit of effort we did manage to locate it. The town has little in the way of sights as it is really just a cross road to the north of the country. We did visit the small cathedral and the famous Pollo Compero.
The next morning we were up and on the road at 6 am to drive the 67 km to Lanquin town. We left in the dawn light and drove up into the mountains draped in mist.
The road is paved and curvy except the last 11 km which is unpaved steep and curvy. We arrived at the Zephyr lodge/ hostel at 8 am! This did allow us to get a ride out to the Semuc Champey park in the back of a pickup truck.
The Semuc Champey is a limestone bridge that the water has eroded and formed caves, waterfalls, and swimming pools.
We hiked and swam in the caves, jumped into the river on a rope swing and from the bridge, hiked to the Mirador, and swam in the pools. The ride back to the lodge was a bit rougher in the rain.
There was a party atmosphere especially during happy hour. It poured rain all night and into the next day on our steep ride up the road from Lanquin to the pavement. There was also dense fog in the mountains.
The rain let up near Salama and we decided to take the off road route over the mountains from Rabinal to San Pedro. After a 10 hour day we were so happy to arrive at Julio’s house in Antigua.