Semuc Champey is one of Guatemala’s most beautiful natural sights. The road to get there leaves a lot to be desired, but those who make the 200-mile (320 km) journey south from Tikal National Park will be rewarded with crystal clear turquoise pools, lush jungle, and candle-lit tours through limestone caves.

There are several ways that you can get to Semuc Champey from Tikal, including jumping on a tour, like this 10-day Culture & Outdoor trip, taking a private car or a rental car, or taking a tourist shuttle bus from Flores to Lanquín. There are no direct local buses.

Most visitors to Semuc Champey choose to stay in Lanquín and take a day trip out to the falls and the caves, but it is also possible to stay in Semuc itself.

The journey through the mountains from Flores to Lanquín takes around 10 hours. If you’re coming from Tikal you will need to add on an extra hour or so, and if you’re staying in Semuc Champey then you’ll also need to factor in another 45-minutes to an hour on top of that.

By Private Transfer

Duration: 10-12+ hrs

The most convenient, comfortable, and fastest way to get from Tikal to Semuc Champey is with a private car. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel in Tikal or Flores and drive you through the mountains to your accommodation in Lanquín/Semuc Champey.

Although Semuc Champey is only six miles (10 km) from Lanquín, the last bit of the journey is the worst bit of all, down bumpy roads and dirt tracks through the mountains and the jungle, so you might want to factor this in when you choose where to stay.

By Shared Shuttle

Duration: 10-12+ hrs

Alternatively, you can take the tourist shuttle from Flores to Lanquín. If you’re coming from Tikal itself then you might have to organize your own transport from Tikal to Flores and may even have to factor in spending a night there first, depending on departure times.

Although the majority of visitors choose to stay in Lanquín, if you do want to stay in Semuc Champey then a lot of hotels will provide pick-ups from the bus station for those who have booked their accommodation in advance.

There are a variety of different companies that run tourist shuttles from Flores to Lanquín, each offering something slightly different. Our recommendation for this route is a luxury minibus. They’re usually faster than the big buses and handle better on the mountainous roads, and some of them even have their own wifi.

By Rental Car

Duration: 10-12+ hrs

You can also rent a car in Flores, drive up to Tikal, and then head from there down south to Semuc Champey. The journey is beautiful but the road conditions are terrible, so just take it slow and make sure you have a reliable vehicle and plenty of gas.

We recommend setting off early, especially if you are planning on driving all the way out to Semuc Champey as the last bit of the journey from Lanquín to Semuc is tough going, and would be nigh on impossible in the dark. Make sure you factor in time for photo stops at scenic spots along the way.