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Diego and Jose's tequila tour!

Tubing, Rum and Wrestling

GUATEMALA | Wednesday, 14 October 2009 | Views [1579] | Comments [2]

With the jungle trek now behind them, Jose and Diego were still more than willing to subject their bodies to some more insect biting punishment with a visit to Semuc Champey. Although safely reporting that there were no tarantulas hiding under the dunny seat in Semuc, there was another deadly surprise lurking in the darkness, RUM.  The deadliest and most venomous of all the creatures in Guatemala, it sat quietly poised to damage the liver of any unsuspecting traveller game enough to sip on its clear and potent nectar.

Nestled in a valley in central Guatemala, Semuc offers the more adventurous traveller adrenalin rushing activities that will keep them buzzing. The Coalition force of Diego, Jose, Simon, Daniel and Laura were the selected squad to take on the challenges of Semuc Champey. Events included, adventure walking, extreme swimming, extreme rope swinging, extreme rope climbing, extreme tubing, extreme bridge jumping, and finally extreme rum drinking. The latter proved most deadly for Diego.

The day started without a glitch with a half hour walk to the top of the ridge to look down upon a series of beautiful blue and green swimming holes. Each swimming hole was fed by a trickle of diverted mountain water, while the bulk of the water powered through the cave system under the swimming holes. The neighbouring mountains provided an excellent vista of the ponds and some fantastic photo`s were taken from this vantage. While the descent from the mirador was easy enough, the first real excitement of the day came when swimming in the tranquil (and totally natural) swimming pools. At the end of each beautiful pool we had to jump a few metres down to the next until we finally arrived at 10 metre waterfall.

Our guide tied a knotted rope around a large rock and lowered himself using the knots down the waterfall, utilising the natural footholes in the rockface for balance. While he skirted down the waterfall at a brisk pace, the rest of the group stuggled with the exercise. One at a time we lowered ourselves down the rope until we reached a safe spot in the cave underneath where thousands of litres of water emerged from the cave and roared past us. Diego, Jose and Daniel were the first safely into the cave, along with a couple of Polish backpackers who made the guided trip with us. While we waited for the rest of the group to join us we contemplated what we were supposed to do next. It was far too dangerous to jump into the moving water.  Even if we had lifejackets, which we didn't, we had our doubts about ever being seen alive again. Caroline, a petite little Polish chick, was next to lower herself down the rope and under the waterfall. She appeared through the spray of water less than elegantly as she emerged topless from the force of the water pulling down her bikini top, to the joys of Daniel. "Check that out!" was the cry reverberating around the cave.  Unfortunately, Simon missed out.

With everybody safely standing in the cave our guide finally decided that the only safe way out was to climb the rope back up the waterfall. Easy enough if you were an SAS trooper or a commando, but for the girls it was near impossible. Slowly, one by one, we climbed the rope out of the cave. Caroline had several attempts but with the water flowing vigourously over the ledge it made each step a mission. With only Caroline, Simon and Dave left to climb the rope, we gave Caroline all the encouragement the group could muster while the other two waited their turn down below. Just as Caroline crested the falls, her bikini gave up and proudly displayed it contents for all to see.  Again, Simon missed out.

The walk back is mostly consumed by descriptions given to Simon of all he missed out on... and then it is time to embark on a tubing experience before sitting down to lunch.  The torrent of water that spewed forth from the lower caves is now put to good use propelling us down the river.  A meer 15 minutes later the sound of a waterfall begins to get closer and we hear the guide frantically screaming for us to paddle to the side to get out.  A little more warning would have been nice but luckily the only casualty is a lost thong (or flip-flip for those non-Aussies).

One last pleasure of the tour awaited in the form of a 10-metre bridge jump into the icy waters we had just extracted ourselves from.  Here Dan, the ex-trampolinist, showed us his skills with his twists and turns... who knew you had so much time on the way down?  The rest of us are satisfied with an arm waving descent and less than delicate entry!

With the excitement of the day seemingly over we head back to the hostel for lunch.  What else could better help with digestion than a little sip of rum? (It was going to be a beer, but Laura insisted on rum... and it was cheaper for a bottle... how were we to know?)  So at 2pm the rum began to flow and by midnight we had made it onto our fifth bottle.  Apart from Simon, Dan, Laura, Jose and Diego, we had been joined by the three Poles and Roberto - who was a late addition from Cincinatti.  After some very in-depth discussion regarding the US approach to religion and gun-control (two subjects that could only go that well together in reference to the States), Dan decides it is time to teach Diego some manners.  Apart from being an ex-trampolinist Dan also had the pleasure of working in one of the roughest pubs in Northern Sydney.  And the encounter this night would bring back recollections of a fight with an angry dyke all those years ago.  Needless to say, Diego will think twice about messing with a man's cards in future... and Dan will think twice about mixing bodily fluids with such a filthy example of humankind.  RESULTS: Dan 1. Diego 1.  Entertainment value: 423.  Bleary (and bloody eyed) we all feel it is time to head to bed for the early start in the morning.

With hangover in tow, Simon, Diego and Jose rouse themselves for the journey to Rio Dulce - a 5 hour winding drive through the mountains to the Eastern coast.  Unfortunately, there is little room left in the cabin of the vehicle so Diego and Jose are left in the tray on the back.  This certainly makes the trip a memorable one, and once the inch-thick layer of dust is removed and the cries of "Gringo, gringo" have faded into the background, the memories of a crazy weekend in Semuc Champey will go down as one of the best.



awww, what a weekend and so beautifully written! i hope these tales go into a book someday :)

  Kateous Oct 29, 2009 1:20 PM


Happy Birthday Jarrod. Hope you have a great day. Take care
Cheers Linda

  Linda Nov 2, 2009 9:10 AM

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