Lamanai Maya Temples & the New River Safari
Belize is a country of Maya history, diverse flora and fauna, and gorgeous rivers and streams. In the rainforest of the Orange Walk District, this tour combines these elements into one day’s adventure. The tour offers hotel pick up from Belize City, and even the two hour drive to the river is scenic and informative, with guides narrating the route.
up to 30 days in advance
- Duration: 8 hrs
- Available Days: Every day
- Schedule: 6:00 AM, 6:15 AM, 7:00 AM
- Hotel Transport Included
- Free cancellation up to 30 days prior
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
At Lamanai Landings, refreshments are handed out to fuel travelers for the adventure ahead. The riverboat waits at the landing to take passengers on a cruise down the New River, made up of many little creeks and lagoons. Wading birds such as hawks, falcons, egrets, and herons are expected, and spider monkeys can be seen – and heard chattering – in the trees. Dainty Jacanas birds alight on the lily pads, and crocodiles may bask in the morning sunlight.
As the boat enters the New River Lagoon, the temples of Lamanai (Maya for “Submerged Crocodile”) rise into view. Passengers are sure to marvel as they disembark. The site museum gives a historical presentation, and the opportunity to view some of the Maya artifacts discovered at Lamanai, before the archeological walk that takes travelers back over a thousand years in time. Walking through actual plazas and temples that were once of paramount importance to the ancient civilization, visitors will feel the vibrancy and mystery of the Maya. You will also visit the Jaguar Temple, the High Temple, and the ball court where the Maya played their famous ballgame.
The chatter of birdlife and the haunting call of the Howler Monkeys echoes through the once bustling ruins. Guides are highly knowledgeable, and will explain how various trees and plants on the walk played major roles in the past, both medicinally and as food sources. Back at Lamanai Landings for a lunch at Smoky Mermaid II, a seat on the banks of the New River and some traditional cuisine provides a relaxing atmosphere for visitors to reflect on the history they’ve witnessed.
Attractions VisitedAltun Ha
Out of all of the Mayan sites in Belize, Altun Ha is the most easily accessible from Belize City. This site was once a major trading center, as indicated by the discoveries of jade, jewelry, pottery, and elaborate sculptures. Just 30 miles (50 km) north of Belize City, Altun Ha is a popular day trip for both cruise ship passengers and independent travelers.
Belize Zoo - Animal Rehab & Education Center
The Belize Zoo is a small non-profit zoo that serves as a home to orphaned, injured, and rehabilitated animals that can no longer survive in the wild. Founded in 1983, the zoo has played an important educational role – it has taught both local residents and tourists about native Belize wildlife and the critical role these animals play in the ecosystem.
Community Baboon Sanctuary
The Community Baboon Sanctuary Private Reserve is one of the easiest places in Belize to encounter black howler monkeys in the wild. Established in 1985, this baboon sanctuary was set up as a cooperative agreement among 12 local farmers and landowners in Bermudian Landing who voluntarily agreed to preserve the area’s black howler monkey habitat. They believed that a healthy population of monkeys could help support the local economy by drawing in tourism and creating jobs.
Lamanai is an extensive and diverse Mayan site set deep in the jungle along the banks of the New River Lagoon. One of the longest-occupied Mayan sites in Belize, Lamanai served as home to up to 35,000 Maya from 500 B.C., up until the beginning of the Spanish colonial period in the 17th century.
What to Bring
Sunscreen, bottled water, sunglasses, hat, bathing suit, hiking clothes, hiking shoes, and a camera.
Transportation, guided tour, fees, traditional buffet lunch, soft drink.
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “More Time and Rates” for full details.
On this tour, you’ll get to see two very different Maya sites. The first, Xuanantinuch, is the ruins of a compact but impressive Maya city. Here visitors can stroll around multiple plazas and temples. At the nearby Barton Creek Cave, you’ll see a cave that served as an entrance to Xibalba, the Maya underworld.
9 hrsFrom $180
This tour will bring you to the top of a Maya temple, and then to the entrance of the Maya underworld. The temple is inside the Maya city of Xunantunich, which is located near the border of Guatemala. Its name translates to “Maiden of the Rock.” After you ascend the walls of its temple, you’ll continue the tour to the Cave Branch River, where you’ll follow the river into a series of caves that had intense spiritual significance for the Maya.
8 hrsFrom $168
- Belize City Things To Do
Belize City Things To Do