Lounging in the Turquoise Pools at Semuc Champey, Guatemala
You’ve been hiking volcanoes, surviving steep mountain curves on chicken buses, and processing the concentrated poverty surrounding the city’s landfills in a country still healing from decades of war. After traveling for hours by primitive roads watching the clouds of dawn dancing in valleys of lush green mountains, you finally arrive at Semuc Champey. The tranquil, turquoise pools and waterfalls here have everything you need to do nothing. The multiple-layered pools flow gently with clear mountain water, while the Cahabon River rushes underneath. Orange butterflies swirl, birds swoop, and people laze. Hike the trails above to get a panoramic view of the dazzling pozas, but you will mostly find yourself lounging around on the edge of the water. If you have monkey bones you might jump off the side of the cliffs. But be forewarned: if you stay too long, you will begin to wonder if another world even exists outside this oasis in the land of the quetzal.