TV reality-show aficionados might recall Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo Natural Monument as the setting for Survivor Guatemala, filmed here during the summer of 2005. The park encompasses the ruins of three Mayan cities set amid dense tropical forest adjacent to Tikal National Park. Also in the park is Yaxhá Lagoon, with its healthy numbers of crocodiles.
The site of Semuc Champey Natural Monument is high in the Alta Verapaz mountains, where the Rio Cahabón flows into a giant cave before reemerging a few hundred feet downstream. Atop the churning turmoil is a natural bridge holding a splendid series of turquoise limestone pools surrounded by tropical forest. It is probably Guatemala’s finest swimming hole.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com