Lamanai Archaeological Site

Type of Attraction
Archaeological Site, Landmark
Orange Walk

  • 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.


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).
Whats Nearby
Recommended Hotels
Set 4 km from Queen Elizabeth Park, Lamanai Hotel & Marina features free WiFi access in public areas, barbecue and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar.... more

Rooms have a flat-screen TV with cable channels and some of them feature a seating area to relax in after a busy day. All rooms come with a private bathroom.

There is a shared lounge at the property.

You can engage in various activities, such as horse riding, snorkeling, and fishing. Philip Goldson International Airport is 73 km from the property.
Couples particularly like the location — they rated it 8.2 for a two-person trip.

We speak your language!
Gold Certified:
Orange Walk
Northern Belize
Learn More
Most Popular Tours
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Emerge yourself into a maze of river branches with untouched foliage terrains that form habitats for hundreds of species of wildlife like crocodiles & spider monkeys. Feel the ... morerush en route to 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 remaining 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, and mangroves and get a glimpse of St. George’s Caye before arriving at 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.
0 reviews   0 comments
Family Friendly