Coban, Guatemala, is a pleasant town in the Alta Verapaz region about 132 mi/213 km north of Guatemala City and an hour's drive north of the Biotopo del Quetzal. There is an excellent, don't-miss tour of the Finca Santa Margarita, a working coffee farm, but Coban is mostly known as a convenient jumping-off point for adventure-travel excursions in the surrounding area. Explore the idyllic natural beauty of Semuc Champey, a small town with a natural limestone bridge and crystal clear waterfalls and pools. Swim in the pools, hike through the forest or catch the view from the zip line that traverses the forest canopy.

The Grutas de Lanquin (Lanquin Caves), just north of Semuc Champey, also make for an excellent day trip, as do the closer (but less daunting) Grutas Rey Marcos. The impressive caves are still largely uncharted; in the early evening you might see bats swarm from the cave entrance. Four-wheel-drive tours to Semuc Champey, Grutas Rey Marcos and Lanquin are common from Coban, as are day trips to a number of traditional villages and spots of natural beauty in Alta Verapaz.

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