Candelaria lodge and Cave system.

ALTA VERAPAZ

The Candelaria Cave

It is one of the most important caves in this region, is 30 km long. It is one of the two largest caves in America and one of the six largest in the world. The cave was considered by the ancient Maya to be the entrance to the underworld of Xibalba. Nowadays ritual are still being held here. The main gallery is about 22 km long, and is broken here and there by skylight entrances formed by collapse.

Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey

Another main attractions is Semuc Champey; a beautiful series of small natural ponds and pools. In the Mayan Kekchi language, Semuc Champey means Sacred Water. The Cahabon River submerges itself at the entrance of Semuc Champey and resurfaces about 400 meters later after it passes this natural limestone bridge suspended with beautiful crystal clear ponds. In this exceptional natural formation you can find water with shades of light green emerald to dark blue sapphire.

Lanquín Caves, Guatemala

The Lanquín Caves

Close by are home to a huge population of fruit bats. At dusk thousands of them fly out of the cave and into the night sky to feed. This cave was already known to the Maya, and was a sacred place where religious offerings and sacrifices were made. The locals still consider the cave to be a sacred place and it is still used for ceremonies. On the way through the cave you can see various impressive rock formations. The cave has electric lights and paths, but is often slippery. Good walking shoes and a flashlight are recommended.

Lachua Lagoon

Lachua Lagoon

Another place worth visiting while in Alta Verapaz is the Lachua Laguna. Lake Lachua looks like a little Caribbean sea set down in the tropical rainforest. The lake is surrounded by lush green vegetation including mahogany and cedar trees, and fauna such as jaguars (whose footprints can often be seen around the lake), giant shad which frequently jump out of the crystal clear waters, and colorful birds such as parrots and toucans.

Anyone who visits Alta Verapaz must try the famous Kac Ic, a typical soup prepared with turkey and seasoned with samat, a local herb. The artifacts produced by the local people stand out due to the elaboration of articles such as painted pots, colorful textiles and silver, as well as chachales, which are necklaces worn by the women in Cobán to adorn their ceremonial outfits.

BAJA VERAPAZ

The beautiful Quetzal, national bird of Guatemala

The church of Salamá in this region is an architectural attraction, with its fourteen altars, invaluable carvings and imagery that belongs to the Pre-Hispanic Period. The Minerva Temple is also located in Baja Verapaz, which was built during the Neoclassical Period. Some of its natural attractions are the rivers of Salamá, Chilascó, San Isidro and Las Flautas. The waterfall of Zacualpa, with a fall of approximately 220 m, is in addition to being very beautiful, used for the production of electricity. Salamá is believed to be the second Antigua, due to the solemnity of its processions during Holy Week.

Near Salama you can find the Mario Dary Rivera Nature Reserve (Biotopo del Quetzal) which was established to protect the quetzal bird, revered by the Maya and the national bird of Guatemala. There are nature paths through the cloud forests where you can see orchids, ferns and bromeliads, owls, hummingbirds and toucans. Even though sighting a bright red and green quetzal bird is a rare event, the area is a paradise not to be missed.

Tropical Discovery Tours going to this location: