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Full moon white water rafting at Lanquin

Imagine arriving to a remote lodge near the town of Lanquin in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle, last 10km driven on a single lane dirt road, only to find out they are full. But they offer you a shelf to sleep on (not a floor, a shelf), but it’s free. Would you take the offer?

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I’m pretty easy when it comes to sleeping places, so I figured why not (after managing to borrow a sleeping mattress from a fellow traveler). Thankfully thou a bed became available before I had to actually go check out my shelf. But that’s the good thing about Zephyr lodge, they are quite flexible.

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After sleeping well (in an actual bed), we climbed on board a truck the next morning and set off towards Semuc Champey. I think standing is actually preferred to sitting while traveling those dirt roads, and the views are something you wish you could take photos of, but it’s difficult to use your camera when holding on for your life to the truck with both hands.

We got ready for our first adventure into Grutas de Las Marias (caves of Las Marias), setting being basically a scene from a bad horror movie: Mixed group of people decide to decent an unknown dark cave armed only with candles. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that.

Things got interesting quite quickly once the water got too deep for walking, after that it was a matter of swimming with one hand, trying to hold your candle above the water with the other, climbing up waterfalls and jumping into darkness hoping there is water there somewhere. All definitely activities that would break at least a dozen health and safety laws back home. No photos thou, as my camera isn’t waterproof, nor is it “Indiana Jones style adventure”-proof.

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Our group, against all odds, resurfaced back to sunlight, and I do have to say, I think I’ve been taking that little star a bit too much for granted for the last month or so. It was good to see it and feel the warmth. After heating up our cave chilled bones, we headed off to Semuc Champey. Taking the long route of course to first admire it from above. Thou I can warn you, that climbing up there is a bit of a mission, but well worth it. If just to wet your appetite for the bright blue pools you see from up there.

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After admiring it for a few minutes, we were quite anxious to actually dive in there, so we got down and into business. We dived in, and swam our way through the pools, one after another. The pools offering plenty of opportunities for jumping and diving. Enjoying each one of them.

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Activities for the next few days then mainly consisted of beer tubing, chilling out and partying back at the lodge. Whether it was beersbee during day, or the giant Jenga at night, of course played as a drinking game.

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On the last night, we found out that there were a few seats available on Full moon white water rafting expedition. Having done white water rafting before, but not at night, I was of course interested. And I can tell you, it is a different experience at midnight, especially when the moon decided to hide behind the clouds the whole time, only coming out after we had gotten our boat out of the water as if to mock us. You could see where the river was, but that was about it. You could hear the rapids and drops long before you could actually see them, once you actually saw them, well, that meant you were pretty much in it already. So we just had to trust our guide.

After this I decided to head off up north to Flores, whilst I was still alive with only a few cuts and bruises.

Oh, and almost forgot, Zephry Lodge does have some of the best showers I’ve ever seen, they give you a full view of the valley on the other side. Shower at sunset is so worth it, even if you don’t especially need one.

P.S: If anybody wants to do whitewater rafting in Guatemala, get in touch with Max, you can find his website and email in the  comments below


  1. Hey! Nice.
    I found this blog by chance, but everything look like i´m currently living.
    Except i´m in Jalcomulco – Mexico, i´m doing rafting and adventures, or sweet life, in landscapes very similar!

    Guatemala is my next step!

    Nice travels!


    • Thanks,
      You’ll love Guatemala, great landscapes, good adventures and it’s cheaper than Mexico 😉

      Happy travels,

  2. Hey Jarmo!!

    Its cool to check out your Blog.. I couldnt see the full moon rafting pics… anyway let word out that out next full moon rafting trip is due March the 19th..

    • Hey Max,
      Yeah I got the night photos from Matt, I’ll try to send them to you in a day or two

  3. Hey man It’s matt, just having a quick reminisce of our amazing time in Lanquin, reading about the night water rafting brought back the memories as I sit at work :( Would be great to just pop back for a quick game of beersbee and a tube.

    Hope you are having a great time (certainly looks like it)

    Matt + Laurie

    • Hey Matt!
      Lanquin was awesome, still one of the best places on my trip. The night white water rafting and the tubing was just awesome. I did tubing few weeks ago in Vang Vieng, but it was different! Need to go back to Lanquin at some point, that’s for sure :)
      Well, even if work isn’t too much fun (when is it?), hope everything else is good with you guys.
      Cheers, Jarmo


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