Semuc Champey, Guatemalan Heaven on Earth

Lower pools, panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

~ It’s only paradise until discovered! ~

Bliss, high pools panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Bliss, high pools panoramic @ Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Semuc Champey has been known about to locals and few nationals until the last few years. Once a few hearty explorers and adventurous backpackers made the precarious trek deep into the remote valley of Alta Verapaz, the secret began to spill out slowly. Nowadays, it’s the absolute premier destination in Guatemala, if you are enduring and venturesome. Though infrastructure near the area has been vastly improved as far as the town of Pajal, the last 22 kilometres remain a steep and beaten path impassible to anything less a 4X4 machine with high clearance and horsepower.


I not so secretly hope that it never improves.

Extraordinary places like Semuc Champey should require tremendous efforts to be reached.

Semuc - LowPool

And an extraordinary place it is!

Cascading pools of Semuc Champey, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Cascading pools of Semuc Champey, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

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Travel Seeks Travelers

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California - Karina Noriega

It has been exactly 123 days, 25 states and 14,486km (9000m) since I crossed the southern border for an extraordinary road trip across the United States of America. My travel partners April and Tank, (my Toyota 4runner) have been strong and steady by my side. Our little travel blog is getting some attention and even inspiring a few new friends and readers to see travel differently and hit the road.

All along our journey I have called out to anyone who would like to meet, host or join us. I have reached out to old travel friends I’ve met across continents as I carve across their states and hometowns. I have encouraged friends and family who we dearly miss to come visit us wherever we may be.

I’m so excited that both of these situations have finally come to fruition.

Part I

I reached out to my friend Eric while in the Southern USA. Facebook, (a powerful tool keeping my travel circle together) told me he was living in Salt Lake City, Utah; a state that would no doubt take us far into the wilds of colourful deserts, towering formations, unimaginable canyons and wilderness. Eric and I hadn’t seen each other at all since our fateful meeting in Malaysia a few years ago. I had just hopped out of a truck near a village in the Cameron Highlands. I was hitchhiking from the coastal city of Georgetown to see the famed tea plantations and rejoice in the cooler weather. I needed one more ride to reach my destination so as I walked towards the intersection, gathering the courage necessary to stick my thumb out to passing motorists, I made a joking remark to the two white guys on scooters.

“Room for one more?” Continue reading