When the Spaniards arrived in this area, they found the Maya people still occupying ancient Lamanai (“submerged crocodile”), and found that this site dated back to pre-classic times; therefore one of the oldest occupied kingdoms of the Maya.
Set on the banks of the great New River Lagoon, this area surrounding Lamanai is home to howler and spider monkey, iguana, crocodile and dozens of exotic bird species. The site is accessible by riverboat on the New River, a tour by itself, and one of the major attractions of this wildlife, river, lagoon, Maya site, rainforest adventure.
A river tour to Lamanai of just over an hour follows your hour-long coach ride from the city, up the northern highway near Orange Walk Town (sugar city!). Lunch will be served at the site itself, under thatch cabanas by the lagoon’s edge.
Marvel at the architecture of Lamanai, as you walk along jungle paths under the canopy of the rainforest. The stone face of a Mayan deity looks mutely to the west on one temple, casting stone eyes on the setting sun.
The tour circuit of Lamanai takes guests through other plazas with temples reaching to the heavens – again, a reminder of the cosmological religion of this ancient civilization, which saw the creation of both the short (260 days) and the long count (365 days) calendars a couple thousand years ago by sacred shaman priest/scientists living and working in the rainforests of Meso America.
After lunch is served under thatch huts by the lagoon, board your riverboats for the water journey back to your tour bus, and then on to Belize City. There is some handicraft shopping available at the site, including t-shirts.
Belize City to River boarding site : 1 hour
River, site tour and lunch : 4 hours
Return to River boarding site : 1 hour
Return to Belize City : 1 hour