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- 05 Dec 2020, 3 nights
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The small village of Lanquín is nestled in Guatemala's lush and densely forested Central Highlands. Its peaceful environment that seems tailor-made for relaxation and exploration. Limestone cave systems and nearby rock pools are among the reasons many travellers make the journey to this quiet, laid-back town. There's a quiet nightlife scene where you can pass the evenings chatting to the local people.
Lanquín hostels include an eco-friendly farm surrounded by tropical gardens, a rustic place owned by local Mayan-descendants where you can learn about Mayan culture, and a riverside hostel with a natural swimming hole. You can get to know other visitors at a Lanquín hostel with an on-site bar (some have daily happy hours), or lounge by the pool to beat the heat. Free parking is handy if you've made the drive and free Wi-Fi keeps you in touch with home.
Lanquín itself is petite and perfect for people looking to experience authentic village life in Guatemala. The nearby national park, Grutas de Lanquín, is about 1.5km away and where you're likely to spend much of your time adventuring. It's a great place to stop on your way to Cobán, which is 1 hour 45 minutes by car and has all the lively bars, delectable food and cultural activities you'd expect of a big city.
The Lanquín caves are the region's major attraction, and they're putting this currently off-the-beaten-track village on the map. The cave system is several kilometres long and the first cave is illuminated for visitors (though it's recommended you bring a torch, just in case). You'll make your way through tunnels with dripping stalactites and swooping and chittering bats, sometimes wading through water as high as your waist, so it's one for the truly adventurous. Semuc Champey is around 9km south of Lanquín and has limestone pools for swimming and thrilling hiking trails over hanging bridges and past waterfalls. You can also raft down the Cahabón River, and visit the coffee and cardamom farms that line the hills around the village.
The nearest airport to Lanquín is La Aurora International Airport, 285km away. From there your best bet is to drive, which takes around 6-8 hours. If you're coming from Semuc Champey you can hike through the forest for around 2.5 hours or take a 30-minute trip in a 4x4 taxi. Once you're there, the village is small enough that you can walk to get around.