Lamanai is one of the largest Mayan sites in Belize, and one of the most interesting. This eco-adventure will surely bring out the Indiana Jones in you.
After tendering to the pier, you will be met by a representative and escorted to the office for check in. Your Belize cruise trip begins as you drive to Tower Hill, near the town of Orange Walk, approximately one hour from Belize City.
Board the motorized riverboat for your scenic 26-mile (one-hour) 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. 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 unexcavated 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. Due to your cruise line's time in port, and the time required for transportation to and from the site, you will see the highlights of the Lamanai site, but it will not be an all inclusive in-depth exploration.
Reviewer: Margaret Weber
Fun and interesting excursion. We took a boat down the river to get to the ruins. Long tour and because of later departure from the ship, we had little time at the ruins. They were amazing though.
Reviewer: Leslie Gamble
Kayaking Great side trip. 1. Small Group Size was good. 2. The manager and staff were very affable. 3. Paddling in the area and out to the mangroves could be handled by people with a range of abilities. 4. The organization needs to upgrade there PFDs as they are old and need a couple different sizes to fit properly. 5. While the water was only waist deep the guide should also wear a PFD thus modeling the behavior that they rightly insisted on for the participants. 6. I would recommend the trip to friends. Snorkeling Super side trip 1. Well run 2. Comprehensive safety and techniques covered. But make sure you keep asking questions. 3. The two guides gave alot of information on were and what types of fish to look out for 4. Excellent beginners introduction.
Reviewer: Leslie Gamble
River Nature Trip and Lamani Maya ruins Firstly our guide Raymond was amazing. All during the ride to and from the activities here provided information and interpretation to Belizean culture, history and politics. The river ride to Lamani Raymond gave answers to my constant questions on flora and fauna identification plus life in this country. At Lamanai he continued to give us a "cooks" tour of everything, such that I feel I had a good beginning introduction to the site. Again, what I remember most about the cruise after being with relatives was spending the day with Raymond. Would highly recommend the trip.
Reviewer: Dan Corey
This excursion was incredible. Lamanai is a budding destination with some amazing Mayan temples you can climb. The High temple has the most amazing view from the top of the surrounding jungle. A memory to last a lifetime. The ride through Belize city, out to the Belize countryside and on the boat ride up the New River shows the true beauty of Belize. Of all our cruise excursions, this one was our favorite!
Reviewer: Awesome CJ
Take this tour! It is awesome! Climb to the top of the High Temple the view is Amazing - I felt like I could see all of Belize.. breathtakingly beautiful. Our tour guide was amazing. He knew all about his countries history and current events. I enjoyed discussing all aspects of his culture with him one on one and with the group. He took time to explain everything we were visiting and all the sites we passed while driving and in the speed boat. Lunch was phenomenal!! Raymond explained to us that two local women woke up at 4 am to prepare a local stewed chicken dish, black beans with rice, caramelized plantains, fresh sliced watermelon, coleslaw and local juices. Do IT! Only issue we had was that we were pressed for time. There was a delay with the cruise ship getting cleared in port, the tenders were late leaving the boats. We only had 5 hours to do the tour that really should take 7. The tour guide made sure we got back in time. He was very actively working with the cruise ship and his manager to ensure that they knew we were going to cut it close. We got back with plenty of time to spare, but he was proactive and that made us all feel much better about the entire trip!