Must see attractions in Alta & Baja Verapaz

  • Top ChoiceSights in Semuc Champey & Around

    Semuc Champey

    Semuc Champey is famed for its great natural limestone bridge, 300m long, on top of which is a stepped series of pools with cool, flowing river water good for swimming. Though this bit of paradise is difficult to reach, the beauty of its setting and the turquoise perfection of the pools make it arguably the loveliest spot in the country.

  • Sights in Lanquín

    Grutas de Lanquín

    These caves are about 1km northwest of the town, and extend for several kilometers into the earth. There is now a ticket office here. The first cave has lights, but do take a powerful flashlight (torch) anyway in case of emergencies. You'll also need shoes with good traction as inside it's slippery with moisture and bat droppings. Though the first few hundred meters of the cavern have been equipped with a walkway and lit by diesel-powered electric lights, much of this subterranean system is untouched. If you are not an experienced spelunker, you shouldn't wander too far into the caves; the entire extent has yet to be explored, let alone mapped. As well as featuring funky stalactites, mostly named for animals, these caves are crammed with bats. Try to time your visit to coincide with sunset (around 6pm), when hundreds of them fly out of the mouth of the cave in formations so dense they obscure the sky. For a dazzling display of navigation skills, sit at the entrance while they exit. Please be aware that bats are extremely light-sensitive, and tempting as it may be, flash photography can disorient and, in some cases, blind them. The river here gushes from the cave in clean, cool and delicious torrents. You can swim in the river, which has some comfortably hot pockets close to shore.

  • Sights in Cobán

    Orquigonia

    Orchid lovers and even the orchid-curious should not miss the wonderfully informative guided tour of this orchid sanctuary just off the highway to Cobán. The 90-minute to two-hour tour takes you through the history of orchid collecting, starting with the Maya, as you wend your way along a path in the forest. There are sweet little cabins on the grounds where you can stay for Q550 to Q750 per night, as well as campsites (Q40). The last entry is at 4pm, as people must be out by 5pm. To get here, catch any bus (Q2) from Cobán headed for Tontem and get off when you see the sign, about 200m up the dirt road off Hwy 14.

  • Sights in Semuc Champey & Around

    K'anba Caves

    About a kilometer before Semuc Champey, just before the large bridge crossing the river, you'll see a turnoff to the right for these caves, which many find to be much more interesting than Grutas de Lanquín. Bring a flashlight for the two-hour tour or you'll be stumbling around by candlelight. A half hour of river tubing costs an extra Q10. There have been reports of serious overcrowding on these cave tours. If you can, arrive for the 9am tour, before the tour groups start showing up. And, as always, evaluate the conditions before setting out.

  • Sights in Cobán

    Templo El Calvario

    You can get a fine view over the town from this church atop a long flight of stairs at the north end of 7a Av. Indigenous people leave offerings at outdoor shrines and crosses in front of the church, and it's an interesting stop if you have time. Don't linger here after dark, though, as muggings are not unknown in this area. The Ermita de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, a chapel dedicated to Cobán's patron saint, is 150m west of the bottom of the stairs leading to El Calvario.

  • Sights in Cobán

    Parque Nacional Las Victorias

    This forested 82-hectare national park, right in town, has ponds, BBQ and picnic areas, children's play areas, a lookout point and kilometers of trails. The entrance is near the corner of 9a Av and 3a Calle. Most trails are very isolated – consider hiking in a group. You can camp here.

  • Sights in Cobán

    Ermita de Santo Domingo de Guzmán

    The Ermita de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, a chapel dedicated to Cobán's patron saint, is 150m west of the bottom of the stairs leading to the Templo El Calvario (the stairs are at the north end of 7a Av).

  • Sights in Cobán

    Mercado Terminal

    The local market is always good for a wander, even if you're not looking to buy.