Lamanai Archaeological Site

Category
Attraction
Type of Attraction
Archaeological Site, Landmark
District/Region
Orange Walk
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Description
Highlights
  • History
  • Hiking
  • Forest
  • Ceremonial Site
  • Temple of the Mask

About Location
Boat up the New River from Orange Walk to the Lamanai Maya temples. On your boat ride, in addition to some amazing scenery, you’ll see wildlife like snail kites, jacana, morelet’s crocodile and iguanas.

Lamanai was occupied for more than 3,000 years, up until European contact. The Archaeological Reserve not only contains a museum with ancient Maya artifacts, but visitors can also see the remnants of two (2) 16th century Spanish churches and a colonial sugar mill established in 1860.

A major attraction of Lamanai is the well-preserved mask of a Maya ruler emerging from a crocodile headdress.

Lamanai, one of Belize’s largest Maya sites, sits on the bank of the 30-mile-long New River Lagoon in the Orange Walk District. It features monumental architecture of temples and palaces dating from the Classic and Pre-Classic Periods. Set in tropical forest and providing amazing views from several of its large temples, Lamanai provides you a unique glimpse into the culture of the Maya and the biological diversity of the tropical rainforest.

Lamanai is the community with the longest history of human habitation in Belize. It was settled around 900 B.C and was still occupied two and a half thousand years later, when Spanish missionaries arrived to the site in 1544. During their almost century- long domination, the Spanish built two “Ramada” Churches that were used in their efforts to Christianize the site’s inhabitants. Eventually, in 1640 the Maya in several frontier towns rebelled against churches and villages throughout Belize. By the 1800’s, investors began a sugar operation at Lamanai. A dramatic fall in world sugar prices, and outbreakes of malaria among the workers resulted in failure of the enterprise, and the mill and farm were abandoned, just a few years after its establishment.

Did-You-Know?

Liquid mercury was discovered in an offering that was placed below the ballcourt marker at this site! This represents one (1) of only two (2) examples of mercury found in the Maya world (the other was at Caracol, also in Belize).
 
Gold Certified:
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Tours & Shuttles
$
112
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
Provider:
On this all-day excursion from the Cayo District, you will travel to the Mayan site of Lamanai and also get to try the famous Sugar City tacos! Lamanai, which means “Submerged Crocodile”, ... moreis located in the Orange Walk district in northern Belize. Lamanai is impressive and well-known for the exceptionally long length of time that it was occupied by the Mayan people: its occupation spanned from the Preclassic Maya period all the way into the Spanish and British Colonial periods in the early 20th century. In contrast, most of the other Mayan sites in Belize were abandoned by the 10th century AD. To get to the site, your experienced guide will accompany you on an organized boat trip which departs from Orange Walk Town and travels along the New River. Once you reach the site, be sure to take in the impressive history as you explore notable structures such as the Mask Temple, Jaguar Temple, and High Temple. After your tour of the site, make sure to try the Sugar City tacos (in Orange Walk), which are claimed to be the best tacos in the
country!
$
140
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
 (1)
Enjoy a calm boat ride with the view of wildlife such as crocodiles, birds, and hawks as you make your way to the very isolated site of Lamanai. Explore three large pyramids, various ... morerestored stelae, open plazas, as well as a small but unique ball court. Lamanai meaning “Submerged Crocodile” is one of the few sites that were able to preserve its original name and many other original qualities that you will be able to enjoy on this historical tour.
$
75
/ Person
Departs From:
Orange Walk Town
 (2)
Lamanai Ruins & River Expeditions Depart from our Marina after breakfast, Board Riverboat and head down the scenic New River. Your guide will make periodic stops to introduce you ... moreto the areas abundant Flora and Fauna and maybe a Crocodile or two. The waterway opens up to The New River Lagoon. One-half mile on the right reigns the ancient city of Lamanai. A walking tour of the main plazas with towering pyramids and ancient history will transport you back into that mystical era. Enjoy some refreshments and board your riverboat en route back to the hotel where a scrumptious local lunch awaits.

Lamanai (Maya for Submerged Crocodile) is one of the largest sites in Belize and is the Maya City with the longest period of occupancy lasting over 3,000 years. The central area contains eight main groups of buildings, including a much-photographed temple featuring a pair of unique masks rising 15 feet tall. Each has been sculpted from a block of limestone instead of being molded from plaster over a stone which was the usual practice in the Maya world.
$
225
-
$
265
/ Adult
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
 (1)
Lamanai Mayan Ruins is among the best Mayan Ruins to visit while in Belize. Take a River Boat up to the Lamanai Mayan site and learn about the flora and fauna along the way. You also ... morewill learn all about the Maya history and their influence to the Belize and the world.
$
150
/ Person
Departs From:
Belize City
Provider:
The Ancient Mayan Temple of Lamanai is located along the river banks of The New River, Orange Walk District, Belize. Known as the longest continuously occupied site in all of Mesoamerica, ... moreLamanai boasts a wealth of history. Lamanai pronounced Lama'an/ayin means "submerged crocodile." The structures found at Lamanai are some of the oldest in Belize and many believe that this site was of moderate in size dated as early as 1500 BC. Some of the newer temples were occupied as recently as the 18th century AD. This means that Lamanai was occupied for a little over 3200 years! With an estimated population of about 34,000. How impressive!! Lamanai's trading over the borders of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. Today only 5% of the 800 buildings within the complex have been excavated and explored. Interesting fact about Lamanai: these temples were built in layers which suggest that successive populations would build upon the temples of their ancestors instead of destroying them. Some of the most famous temples are the Jaguar Temple, The Ball Court, The High Temple (El Castillo) and the Mask Temple.
$
175
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Emerge yourself into a maze of river branches with untouched foliage terrains that form habitats to hundreds of species of wildlife like crocodiles & spider monkeys. Feel the rush ... moreen route the New River shiftlessly flowing into the sudden openness of the New River Lagoon. A few hundred meters beyond the banks of this revealing lagoon concealed by the rainforest is Lamanai Mayan Site. This Mayan city bears a powerful history that it still inspires the feeling of supremacy, that it once held. With about 95% of the city still remains unexposed, you can experience the sudden presence of the temples as you trail along the jungle paths. Lamanai is found within a reserve of wildlife and plants, where along the marked paths you will come across labeled trees and plants and various other wildlife creatures.

The tour offers a complimentary hour & 30 minutes Water Taxi transfer to Belize City where you will journey along Caye Caulker, Caye Chapel, mangroves and get a glimpse of St. George’s Caye before arriving the commercial City of Belize where you will meet your tour guide. From there you board their private vehicle as you begin a 50-60 minutes journey on the Phillip Goldson Highway to Tower Hill. From here you get to know your captain, aboard the boat and off the amazing jungle river safari, and on your way to the Mayan City of Lamanai.
$
200
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Provider:
THE MYSTERIES OF THE MAYA Enjoy a delightful continental breakfast as we make our way to the mainland by boat. Along the way, the guides point out the rich variety of flora & fauna. ... moreOnce on the mainland, we board a private bus or van that takes us to Tower Hill.

Upon arrival at Tower Hill, we board another boat that takes us down the New River to Lamanai. As we make our way down the river we encounter birds, monkeys & crocodiles.

At Lamanai, we take a break for lunch, served under the canopy of the jungle; followed by a guided tour of the ruins that perch on the water’s edge. Includes breakfast & lunch.
$
180
/ Person
Departs From:
Caye Caulker
Lamanai Tour; Wear long pants, closed shoes, and long sleeve.
$
90
/ Person
Departs From:
San Ignacio Town
The package deal can be arranged, including: Altun Ha, Baboon Sanctuary and Lamanai.
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