Discover ancient Mayan architecture on an excursion through Belize's exotic landscapes. You'll enjoy stunning views and spot diverse wildlife as you make your way to the Lamanai ruins, one of the most famous sights in Belize. Accessible only by water and a brief hike, this adventure is fun for the whole family.
A 45-minute drive up the Northern Highway, passing through villages and lowlands with many bird species, brings you to Tower Hill, where you'll board a riverboat and head up the New River.
While traversing the many creeks and lagoons, you may spot birdlife including hawks, kites and falcons. The river is lined with hardwood trees, orchids and bromeliads, and you might see dainty wading birds called jacanas lightly walking on lily pads while elusive crocodiles bask in the morning sunlight.
At the entrance to the New River Lagoon, the ruins of Lamanai (Mayan for submerged crocodile) rise into view. Once at the site you'll tour the small museum which features many ancient relics found at Lamanai.
You'll then embark on a 1.5-mile (2.5km) jungle hike to visit the Temple of the Mask, one of the tallest Mayan pyramids; the stucco mask of the Sun God "Kinich Ahau"; an elaborate carved stellae; and the Temple of the Jaguar Masks. These impressive sites appear to materialize out of the rainforest amid the chatter of birds and the haunting call of the howler monkeys.
Your guide will point out the copal and ramon trees, which were of great importance in ancient times. For the jungle hike you will need insect repellent and sturdy walking shoes.
At the end of the tour you'll have lunch under thatched palapas near the lagoon's edge. After lunch, free time is available for more sightseeing in the rainforest.