The voyage to Lanquin from Flores was eventful to say the least. The driver stopped the bus just about a hundred times, but my fellow travelers were so interesting and beyond hilarious. One of the stops was for some of us to take photos and others of us to smoke some cigs.. You can guess which one I did. A trip that was supposedly supposed to take eight hours ended up taking about 10, but it wasn’t bad! The views were incredibly beautiful. I love the mountains. And the jungle. I don’t love bumpy, pot-hole-filled roads, though.
A highlight of the road trip for me was crossing a river on this makeshift ferry. I thought it was kind of funny, but also really intuitive. It was powered by these two guys manning the motors and they just went back and forth from one side to the other, shoving as many cars as possible onto the platform. And of course, people were swarming the bus trying to sell us stuff. I bought a mango, of course. It was delicious.
So when we got to Lanquin, a huge group of us all headed to Zephyr River Lodge on top of a hill with a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. Zephyr was no doubt extremely beautiful. And it was so nice to have the pool. But, for undisclosed reasons, some members in the group we were hanging out with (they will remain unnamed) sort of kind of got kicked out. We thought it best to move on too, so we left Zephyr, their beautiful views, and their long list of rules. It had been fun, though! And very funny in retrospect.
We spent our first two nights there before switching for the more relaxed El Retiro Lodge along the river and closer to town for the next two nights. I liked El Retiro a lot more; despite our dark, damp room, it was more of a hostel and less of a resort and there were far less rules about EVERYTHING. Also, the view was beautiful there, too, and although there was no a pool, the river was extremely refreshing to swim around in. There were a ton of local kids there, too, who were jumping off the diving board right along side us. I have to say that it did feel a bit muggy as we were at the lowest elevation on the property. At 50 quetzales a night though — about $7 — it was worth it.
Most travelers staying in Lanquin visit with the sole purpose of going to Semuc Champey. We were no exception. However, the time we spent in Lanquin was very special to me because of the people I met and the memories I made. Originally, Ian and I were only supposed to stay for two nights, giving us the perfect time to visit Semuc Champey by day and lounge by the pool at night. But our schedule had gotten pushed back a day with a full day spent at the pool. And then the night before the new date we had set to leave, I started throwing up in the middle of the night and was feeling completely dreadful — an eight hour bus ride seemed impossible — so we extended our stay another night. I had a fever all through that night with no air conditioning or even a fan, so I felt awful and got pretty much no sleep. But I woke up feeling great which was a relief. And luckily I had sweet Ian to take care of me.
Anyways, walking around and exploring Lanquin was fun. Town was walkable from both places we stayed at, so we did that. The food in town wasn’t too great. I think the day I was sick, though, they finally found a good restaurant in town. Lanquin wasn’t too lively, but I wouldn’t define it as sleepy either.
I think I would like to go back to Lanquin and Semuc Champey one day and perhaps explore some of the more off-the-beaten-path hiking in the area. But the time I spent there was extremely fun and very special to me. Lots of memories made.