A great combo of history and adventure as you see the countryside of Belize and learn about the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai. Get out and enjoy the country with a boat ride, a hike, and a delicious Belizean lunch.
You'll meet your guide outside of your Belize cruise ship terminal and board your van to travel 49 miles north, about an hour, to the district of Orange Walk. You'll learn about the various cultures that make up Belize today including the Mennonites who were welcomed into Belize due to their farming skills; Mestizos, born of the union of the indigenous Maya and the Spanish; and Creole, a culture resulting from the intermingling of white European masters with their African slaves. All live in harmony in Belize. Your guide will point out the communities and give you some of their histories as you head north toward Lamanai.
At the end of the road, you will reach the landing where you will board the boat to start your river journey. There will be facilities available for your use before getting on the boat. The Lamanai Mayan temple is located in the rainforest on the New River Lagoon. The river cruise of 25 miles allows you to see the various flora and fauna indigenous to the area. You can see birds like Belted Kingfishers, Great White Herons, Little Blue Herons, Brown Pelicans, Frigates, Cormorants, Ospreys, Plovers, Pipers, and Terns. The river is lined with wetlands and swamps where you can find a vast array of flora including flowering orchids, Ficus, the sacred Mayan ceiba tree, and the fast-growing Trumpet Tree. This river is home to crocodiles, Howler monkeys, and iguanas as well as a variety of other fauna. Your guide will tell you about the medicinal plants used for trade in the past and still used in medicines today.
When you reach the boat dock at the ruins, you'll be served a delicious local lunch of rice and beans cooked in coconut milk, chicken stew, fried plantains, and coleslaw. A vegetarian option is available upon request when you book. After your lunch, you will start the hike to the ruins themselves. As you traverse the rainforest you'll see more birds, monkeys, and a rich variety of plants.
The Lamanai site is one of the oldest continuously occupied Maya communities in Belize, from about 1500 BC to 1680 AD. The site consists of 100 minor structures, a ball court, and 12 major buildings making it one of the largest. You'll see the ball court, where they played the Mayan game of "poc-ta-poc", the Mask Temple, which has two huge carved limestone masks flanking the main stairway; the Temple of the Mayan Sun God; the Temple of the Jaguar Masks, named for the 2 jaguar faces at the base; the High Temple, named for its height and the Royal Complex.
These well-preserved ruins are a must-see and you'll have about 1.5 hours at the site. After your exploration of the highlights of the ruins, you'll be taken back to your Belize tender terminal.
Combo of history and adventure as you see the countryside of Belize and learn about the ancient Mayan city of Lamanai on this Mayan Ruins shore excursion and river safari fun. Get out and enjoy the country with a boat ride, a hike, and a delicious Belizean lunch!