Reviewer: George E Waite
Although we did not realize it when we signed up, we experience the same tour 16 years ago. Not much has changed except is is now shorter due to using a speed boad in the river instead of a shower one. The site has changed some and is better maintained and we experience the lunch at the site rather than back at the launching dock. Quantity of food was ok but could have had more.
Reviewer: George E Waite
Although we did not realize it when we signed up, we experienced the same tour 16 years ago. Not much has changed except is is now shorter due to using a speed boat in the river instead of a slower one. The site has changed some and is better maintained and we had experienced the lunch at the site rather than back at the launching dock. Quantity of food was ok but could have had more.
Reviewer: Rick Bozynski
We were very Lucky to Get Carlos and Juinor as our Guides. By far the best day of our cruise. enjoyed very much, better than advertised.
Reviewer: Gary P.
We left and went on a one hour bus ride then a one hour high speed boat ride in the middle of the rainforest. Our guide was incredible. He stopped and showed us tons of animals along the way. We got to see crocodiles, turtles, and birds and etc. When we got to the ruins the guide explained the Mayan way of life and purpose of the trees for food and medicine. The ruins were phenomenal to see and hike. We had an authentic Belizian meal of chicken, rice, plantains and coleslaw. The food was really good as well. I would definitely do it again.
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!
This was an outstanding trip! I was excited about it from the first reviews I read before I booked it and I was not disappointed. The tour guides were amazing and very informative. Lack of transportation for the excursions seemed to be the theme for the entire cruise, but it was just a slight inconvenience compared to the actual excursion. The long bus ride to the river portion wasn't super exciting, but it was still neat to see the countryside and the guides kept it entertaining. The river tour was a lot of fun. We saw alligators, monkeys, and a large variety of birds. The boats were pretty fast and the way we maneuvered through the sharp turns was exciting. Upon arrival to the ruins we sat down and had lunch that the tour had provided. The meal was delicious and very filling (still bring snacks because it is a long day). The ruins were absolutely amazing. These are the first set of Mayan ruins that I have seen so unfortunately I can't offer a comparison to others, but I thoroughly enjoyed the visit none the less. The boat ride back was expedited so that everyone could make their cruise ships. Overall, this was a great experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in seeing some ruins and sharing great food.
Reviewer: Submariner 1
This was a very good tour and educational. Raymond our tour guide was knowledgeable and nice. the Bus driver Lincoln was good as well.
The guide was great and made sure we kept on the time table. Our ship arrived late to port which meant that our excursion was a bit rushed. Our guide was efficient and informative. This trip entailed riding in a van for about an hour to Orange Walk, then riding on a high speed river boat for another hour or so. Wish we had more time at the site, but there's not much time you can shave off with getting to/from Lamanai. Our excursion was the same itinerary as the ship's excursion, but we had a much smaller group and things moved quicker; less waiting time, etc. We were all worried about meeting the ship's departure time given the late start, but we made it back with plenty of time and beat the cruise excursion back to port.
Reviewer: Paul the honeymooner
I am writing this because I hope to pass along the great experience to my fellow USAA members. Bottom Line Up Front, this excision was amazing. I was a little concerned after booking through USAA because the on board excursion desk makes it sound like you are a lower priority. I nearly got into an argument with the cruise staff but let it go. It turned out it didn't matter. On the day of the trip, we arrived in the tender waiting area on board our ship 10 minutes early and were able to get on the first tender off the ship, as they hold roughly 300 people each. This removed most of my concern about being late to the excursion knowing it would take all day. When we got to the excursion desk on shore, there were lots of people booked on the same few popular excursions, ours had only 6 people, a family of four adults and my wife and I. We had an exactly one hour van ride to the river boat dock. When we got to the dock, we were given a quick opportunity to use the restroom (which you want to take advantage of), and then our guide, Isidro, took us on a 1 hour boat ride up river in a small V bottom boat. He showed us wildlife, and when we arrived at the ruins site, he had a homemade local lunch made for us that was some of the best food we had on the entire cruise. He then took us on a roughly 2 hour tour of the ruins, showed us how to find tarantulas (safe and pretty cool), taught us lots of history and cultural facts, got us to the biggest temple to climb up before the larger tourist parties got there, and then brought us back. I normally wouldn't take the time to write something like this, but we were so impressed with this excursion and the other booked in Roatan that I wanted to pass the news to those who have served their country in some way or another. USAA provided some great alternatives to the excursions that were offered on board, they were cheaper, less people, and in my eyes a better experience. I hope you all enjoy whatever you decide on.
Great excursion! The guides where great, they never stopped talking about things to see, fun facts, etc. It was invaluable seeing Belize in all it's form. The boat ride was incredible, we saw all sorts of animals and plant life. The walking and climbing of the ruins is not for anyone with hurt body parts. It's quite rocky and there are lots of steps, slick grass and all sorts of tarantulas and fire ants that you need to be aware of.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and was very willing to share his heritage with us. The ruins were amazing !
Reviewer: Nick sr
Rough bus ride, great boat ride, great trip.
Reviewer: Older, slower, but not ready to quit
This was absolutely terrific. Randy, our guide, did a fantastic job, providing a wealth of information surrounding the tour, his country, culture, and society. The tour started with a drive through the city of Belize and countryside, taking about 45 minutes. We were in a group of 5 and rode in a modern van. Throughout the ride Randy kept us entertained with a wealth of information. We then arrived at site along the river, where we were joined by another small group, and began our speed boat ride to the Mayan site. There were several stops to see the river animals, birds, as well as introduction to some local Mayan fishermen. The river trip was about 45 minutes, and while we started out in a downpour, it actually made the adventure even more fun as it kept us cool and resulted in a lot of humor among our good natured fellow travelers. The Mayan site was well maintained, clean, and had terrific facilities, clearly demonstrating the pride of the people. The site had several temples and was fairly large covering a walking area of about a mile. While I had read from other tour reviews that individuals felt rushed, we experienced no such problem. There was plenty of time to climb the temple/buildings if you so desired. The trip included a picnic lunch that was excellent and plentiful. I readily accepted to offering of seconds and unfortunately so full could not oblige the offer of thirds. After lunch the return to the ship followed the same route, a slightly quicker ride on the return boat ride as the captain professionally kept to river passages. Still the cuts and turns brought lots of laughs and smiles from my daughter. On the van ride back, I must admit it felt good to be sitting for the ride in the air conditioned van. My fellow tourists used the time to catch up on some rest, but I made the best of my time pestering Randy with questions and trading information. The tour was a full day and if you want time to browse while picking out t-shirts and trinkets, you will be rushed. But, since you have to walk past several shops to get in line back to the ship, we still managed to grab the required souvenir shirts.
Reviewer: Papa Jim
From our van driver / tour guide to our river boat captain, the service was beyond excellent. The 27 mile river boat ride each way to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins was a great adventure in itself. Other than Chichen Itza, these were the best Mayan ruins my family have ever visited and the speed boat river boat ride was icing on the cake. The fact that we could climb the ruins was a huge plus as my grandkids actually loved it. The tour guide's information about the ruins and the flora was excellent. Lunch was great as well. I couldn't believe how much my picky 15 year old grandson ate - it was amazing. I would recommend this to everyone. Just be aware that you do need to be able to ""keep up"" but it's well worth it.
Our Tour Guide was excellent. Very informed about this site. I really enjoyed it. I just wish it was easier to get to the site. Took 2 hours each way, but the trip was well worth it.
Raymond was a fabulous driver and host and our Cin was a grwat boat driver and it was even better that he had helped with the uncovering of the temples and knew so much about them.I highly recommend this tour to anyone. The lunch that was served was delicious.
Reviewer: Gail & Steve
This was a lot of fun being on the speedboat seeing the plants & wildlife. The guide was knowledgeable about the history of the ruins. We were also allowed to climb on them. They provided a great lunch. It was all day but well worth it. A definite do while in Belez.
It takes 25 minutes by tender to get to Belize, another hour by van and then another hour by boat to get to Lamanai. So plan for an all day trip. This is a great trip for people interested in wildlife. If you have a hard time walking, climbing this is NOT for you. The guides were very knowledgeable and the food was great! The ruins and the rainforest were very cool!
Reviewer: Cultural enthusiast
Very well organized. The tour began with a long bus ride. Tour guide shared wonderful information. He had a great sense of humor as well as knowledge. The boat ride was thrilling. We stopped along the route to view various animals. Really enjoyed walking through the Mayan ruins. The walking was a bit intense for some of of the older members of our group. We learned so much about the vegetation. Long day but time well spent.
Our tour guide Randy, bus driver Sonny and boat driver/Lamanai tour guide Junior all did a great job! Randy is very informative and knows very much about his country. We were very impressed with Junior's knowledge of the river/wildlife, stopping along the way to show us different wildlife. Most of our tour went with Randy but a couple of us stayed with Junior and I am so glad we did! Junior is Mayan and was filled with information about his culture. We had a excellent time with him as our guide. If you can get Junior as your guide you will have a great time and learn a LOT about the Mayans
this was a wonderful experience. Our cave tubing trip had been cancelled because the caves were flooded. This substitute trip was wonderful. The van ride is a bit long, but the driver was imparting lots of knowledge. The boat ride up the New River was invigorating with hairpin turns and the best driver. The guide knew to take us up the long route first and made the journey to the ruins so memorable. The lunch was great! The ride back (even in the rain!) was a great affair. The entire day could not have been better!
Reviewer: two bucks
These were our favorite ruins by far. You get to actually climb all over them and get some amazing pictures. The biggest con is the traveling time. Its about 1.5 hours from port to the river dock, then another hour+ to get to the Lamanai ruin site. Our tour guides were Simone and Fredo. Simone made the bus ride fun with all of her facts and history knowledge. She took the time to get to know each of us by name. Fredo was so knowledgable and even had pictures for us of what the ruins once looked like. BRING LOTS OF BUG SPRAY. BEST RUINS TO SEE FOR WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE ON NORWEGIAN
Reviewer: KAL family spring break adventurers
This was a great family excursion! The guides were excellent in pointing out the natural wildlife while on the river portion of the tour! We were excited to see crocodiles and monkeys and the infamous Jesus Birds! Lots of great photo opportunities! The lunch was very tasty and the actual Lamanai tour was very interesting! Our guide was very knowledgeable about the Mayan history surrounding the ruins! It would have been nice to spend a bit more time at the ruins but due to a later start in the morning our actual tour time had to be condensed to ensure we made it back to our ship in time! Overall an excellent excursion! I would definately recommend it!
A little pricey but still a great trip
Lamanai is historically interesting and is sparsely excavated leaving participants to wonder what is under all the rest of the hillocks around the site. The word I used most to describe the excursion was fascinating!
Our Driver/Guide Carlos was great and stayed with our group for the entire excursion. He shared lots of knowledge and facts of the area and the ruins in a fun and engaging manner. Riding of an hour to the boat was great because you passed through Belize and the countryside. Carlos even stopped to let us sample three local wines - Cashew, Cherry & Blackberry at a roadside stand. The 45 minute boat trip up the New River was exciting with the native animals and birds that we encounter. We even hand fed bananas to a monkey as it swung from his tree as the boat passed. The ruins were awesome and after visiting Tulum, Coba and other you appreciate the lack of crowds
Although the drive to the river took about 50 minutes or so, we had a great time talking with the guide about the ruins and life in Beliize during that time. The trip down the river to the ruins was SOOOO fun, and our guide helped us spot a spider monkey, green iguana during mating season (he was bright neon orange!), fresh water crocodiles, black collared hawk, Jesus birds, and many other critters and birds. The meal was good, and the tour group was small, which was a plus. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the ruins, as he grew up in an area near them. The ruins themselves were great, especially since we could climb to the top--the view was wonderful from there. Lots of history, in beautiful rain forest. Steep steps, but the rope helped during the climb. Saw and heard 2 different groups of howler monkeys during the trip. The high speed ride in the boat back was fun, even though we passed through a few rain showers. Loved the trip! Got back to the ship in plenty of time!
We travel alot and this is our first belize trip. this tour was better than it was described. my wife and i absolutly loved it. we even fed a wild monkey! our tour guide wasnt extreamly knowlegable about a variety of subjects BUT what he did know was very interesting.. i wasnt disapointed much.. i tend to ask lots of crazy questions. i would do this again in a heart beat.
Out of three previous cruises, this was our first guided shore excursion. Needless to say, we were worried about getting back to the ship in time. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. Our guide (Eliot) assured us that he would have us back in time to catch our ship. And true to his word. He had us back in plenty of time. We didn't know what to expect. My wife and I were a little apprehensive at first, when we boarded the boat that would take us to the ruins. The fast ride up the river to the ruins turned out to be a lot of fun. We were served a delicous light lunch prior to our tour of the ruins. We had no trouble getting around the site. Due to a bad knee that day. We did not climb to the top of the Great Temple. However, that did not stop us from having a wonderful and rewarding excursion. We were impressed with the quality of the whole experience from the time we were met at the dock, to our return. This excursion is a fun, safe and very enjoyable experience. The guide was a true professional.
The trek into the jungle was educational. The kids had a great time imagining the Maya walking the same paths. The ruins were impressive; climbing on the pyramids took some strength. Highly recommend strong bug repellent for this one :-)
The Best trip in my life!
Reviewer: Wooden Dragon
Signed up with friends and the tour was a nice small size group. As we drove through the town, the guide gave us cultural, political, economic and environmental background of Belize. If he saw something worth stopping (i.e. photo moment), he stopped the van and explain what we are looking at. Once we moved on a boat, there were many more to see! Ruin was an easy walk/hike around and enough to learn about the archeological structures and cultural background. We enjoyed the trip so much and would do it again! ...and see what else we discover!
The small group tour is definitely the way to go with this type of excursion. There were six of us on the tour and we practically had some of the ruins to ourselves. The guide was informative and spent a lot of time explaining the ruins, area and general information about Belize. The river trip was fun - particularly in the small boat we were in as apposed to the other boats that we saw with groups of 40 on them. We spoke to people when we got back who had gone with the cruise company and said that their tours were poor - not just because they were in groups of 40-50 but their guides were just not interested. That was a huge difference for us. Ours plainly loved what they were doing - right down to the picnic lunch that was provided - made by the boss' wife. It was lovely - and the drivers of the other boats came to eat OUR leftovers rather than the lunches provided by their tour companies.
Reviewer: Joe & Corrine
The tour was very interesting and the guides very capable
Reviewer: Sea Sick
This was another great upshot to a bad cruise, I wish I had flown instead. I really enjoyed this excursion. Small groups so you don't feel left out. Fantastic boat ride up the river, to the Temple. Great guided tour, and chance to climb the Temple. Great local lunch, freshly prepared, nothing packaged, and food of the island, not brought in. The sad part of this whole trip was having to go back, I will return to Belize when I can stay a week and enjoy more of the adventure and others.
Reviewer: Jake and Misty
In a word...WOW! My wife and I booked this trip hoping for a small group and the chance to climb on the mayan ruins. We got more than we bargained for. This trip was absolutely amazing. We ended up the only two on the trip so we got a personalized adventure. We took a drive out of the city to the boat. The boat trip up river was so cool. Our guide was very knowledgable and we saw various birds, some iguannas, and some crocodiles. When we got to the ruins we first had an amazing lunch then set off on a hike to the ruins. The ruins were great. Again our guide filled us in on so much culture. We were able to climb to the top of the high temple, and let me tell you, the view from the top was one of the most beautiful you will see anywhere. This was truley worth it and this was arguably the best excursion we have been on.
Reviewer: Mike D
I was concerned with getting back to the cruise on time...which I shouldn't have because these guys had it timed to a science. Amazing excursion!
Our guide, Carlos, was very informative and extremely friendly. Best guide we had our whole vacation. He kept it interesting and entertaining. The climb to the top of the temple was a bit more strenuous than expected and I got a little overheated; however, that was optional and my choice to do it. All the ruins were very interesting and the food at the end was fantastic. I will recommend this tour to anyone I know that is coming to this area.
Shore Excursions Group was referred via a cruise board - the process of booking excursion was quite simple. (A small communication gap with the gentleman that answered the phone yet once that was worked out I was comfortable with our choice of a full day trip) From our cruise ship, we tendered to Belize found our tour rep, checked in and we were off (There were only six of us on the tour which was a plus). Our van was air conditioned and comfortable. Our driver was also our area tour guide. He provided a lot of information about the city and Country of Belize. We arrived at the boat launch area, loaded ice chests and ourselves and we were off. Our tour guide provided additional information pertinent to the New River - including the people that called this area home. We saw wildlife, locals fishing and the simple beauty of the countryside. We arrived at Lamanai and immediately began our tour. We were given the opportunity to climb the tallest ruins which my husband and I took full advantage of.. well worth the climb! The view from the top is breathtaking. As we headed back to eat lunch we spotted and were able to photograph a family of howler monkeys. After lunch,(which was delicious - local rice, chicken and salad) we had a some time to walk around the village area. We headed back to the dock for our boat ride back. We made it back to Belize City (port) with plenty of time to get back on the ship. We had a great time and thank Shore Excursion Group and our tour guides for such a memorable experience.
very informative and highly recommended.
Reviewer: NC Travelers
[...] & [...] were great guides. We loved every minute of this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone. The boat ride was fantastic.
Reviewer: Tray the Triathlete
The boat ride was an absolute blast! Our guides Colin and Joe (Belize) were great. The lunch was better than the boat food. The drive to site was a bit long but our guide very helpful in answering questions. Had a good day!!