Lamanai is one of the largest Mayan sites in Belize, and one of the most interesting. This eco-adventure Belize excursion will surely bring out the Indiana Jones in you.
Your journey to this incredible site begins as you are picked up by your expert tour guide in Belize City at your Hotel, the Municipal air strip or the Water Taxi Terminal. Take a few minutes to marvel at the colonial architecture and city highlights, then pass small farms and charming Creole villages as you make your way to Tower Hill, near the town of Orange Walk, approximately one hour from Belize City.
At this point, you board the motorized riverboat for your scenic 26-mile (one-hour twenty minutes) high-speed boat ride up the New River through the Belize rainforest. As you travel through miles of river fauna, you will view majestic trees with overhanging air plants and colorful orchids. The boat has limited shade from a Bimini Top, so hats with straps or scarves are recommended for guests extra-sensitive to the sun. On your Belize tour, the upriver ride is also a wonderful opportunity for wildlife spotting. Along the way, see crocodiles, turtles, hawks, kites and falcons, as well as rare and unusual bird sightings such as the "Jesus Christ" bird that can walk on water.
Where the New River becomes a lagoon, you will begin to see the ruins rise into view on the western bluff. Lamanai means "submerged crocodile," a name befitting a city watching all that passes from the edge of a lagoon. Several thatched buildings near the water serve as the gateway to a site where more than 700 buildings have already been identified across its 950 acres. Many of the structures are still buried, some with massive trees and vines growing from them.
Lamanai was occupied continuously for more than 3,000 years, from around 1500 B.C., to at least 1,650 A.D., well beyond most other Mayan sites. It also features the second-largest Pre-Classic structure in the Mayan world.
Although hundreds of ruins remain un-excavated in the nearby jungle, three of the most impressive temples will be visited, including the Jaguar Temple, named for its jaguar decoration; the Mask Temple, home to a 13-foot stone mask of a Mayan king; and the High Temple, which offers a panoramic view from its summit for those wishing to climb.
Setting out with your guide, you will follow well-kept paths though the ancient jungle filled with monuments and temples. As you make your way through the jungle you will hear the chatter of the birdlife and the call of the howler monkeys.
During your visit to the site, you will have a local lunch of authentic Belize specialties, which might include stewed chicken, rice and beans, salad, papaya and fried plantains. Your return to Belize will be via the same route.
Please Note: This tour requires a minimum of four guests to operate.
We recommend comfortable clothing and sensible walking shoes or sneakers, which are required for walking through the ruins. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also suggested. Chilled bottle water provided.
Guests must be able to walk over packed dirt and grass terrain with inclines. There are uneven steps at the site. This tour is not recommended for children 3 and under. Please be aware that the road from the highway to the site is in poor condition and the ride is bumpy. Guests with neck, back, or hip ailments, and pregnant women should not participate in this tour. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.