Now, the cuevas. Ordinarily, I am not crazy about tours but this one was not to be missed and not possible without a guide. It started off with a giant leap from a swing into the brown rushing river. Next, I borrowed some shoes for the cave (no havaianas unfortunately) and was given a lit candle-- every other person-- and there were about 15 of us. And we entered the cave in water chest deep among the stalactites/mites. Then, swimming with one hand, scrambling up rocks, more swimming in the dark, climbing up a rope into the face of a rushing waterfall from the depths of the cavern, yet more swimming (the longest was about 30 meters in distance- with shoes on and one hand, this is not easy), 3 meter drop into a pool of water, more scrambling and climbing and swimming. When we got to the end, the guide told us to blow out our candles. I made a comment about what a nightmare it would be if there wasn´t a way to light them up again. One guy refused to blow out his candle and swam around the corner to give us some darkness. Good thing! bc later we learned that the guide´s lighter didn´t work! Can you imagine?? Trying to get back thru that cave (about an hour ´walk´) in the pitch black dark?! One the way back, he had us squeeze thru a tiny little hole of rushing water. When we finally emerged into the light-- with tiny wet candle stubs-- we climbed up to the top of the mountain to look down on the waterfalls and pools of the Semuc Champey. Then tubed down the river back to our guesthouse. All I can say is: Intense. You could never do this in the U.S.
Jason (Portland, OR) and Quechi Mayans
Our first day at Semuc Champey-- I voted that we hang out by the river and wash off the dusty feeling of traveling on dirt roads all day. I began making a painting of the river and the yellow bridge and slowly we started to gather a crowd of Mayan children and young men-- all men (where are the women??). More and more people all around me, until I couldn't see the sun. After that, we knew all the kids in the area. We saw them everywhere. They would shout at us from inside building and various places-- always remembering us.