Guatemala // Cobán and the Verapaces //

Lagunas de Sepalau

The three exquisite jade lakes of Lagunas de Sepalau, Chisec’s other outstanding attraction, are easily visited. You’ll be dropped off at the Q’eqchi’ village of Sepalau Cataltzul, where entrance fees are collected. While you’re here, ask to see the new secondary school which has been built from recycled plastic bottles and inorganic waste.

A local guide will accompany you to the lagoons, 1km further away, where there are lanchas for paddling across the water (and lifejackets). Laguna Paraíso, the first lake, is ringed by untouched dense jungle and has beautiful turquoise water; the second, Atsam’ja, is much smaller. The third and largest lake, Q’ekija, another kilometre down the track, is the most remarkable of all – a gorgeous blue-green colour, its near-vertical limestone sides backed by towering jungle. It’s perfect for swimming. You’ll almost certainly hear howler monkeys and see kingfishers and perhaps toucans, and there are jaguars in the region, too.

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