Welcome to Lamanai

One of the biggest and best excavated Maya sites in northern Belize, Lamanai lies 24 miles south of Orange Walk Town up the New River (or 36 miles by unpaved road). The ruins are known both for their impressive architecture and marvelous setting, surrounded by dense rainforest overlooking the New River Lagoon. The translation of the word lamanai – which means 'submerged crocodile' in Maya – gives a pretty good... Read More

Top experiences in Lamanai

Travel guides

Starting at $21.99

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Lamanai activities

$175 Day Trips & Excursions

Lamanai and the New River Safari in Belize

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.

$150 Outdoor Activities

Lamanai Maya Temple and Baboon Encounter from Belize City

You will be picked up from your hotel or port at 9am and head to Lamanai Mayan temple with a local guide. After touring the temple, you will be served a delicious lunch.After lunch you will get a chance to see Belize's Black Howler Monkeys before being taken back to your hotel/port.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. 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 recent 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.  Lamanai's trading over the boarders 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.

$70 Food, Wine & Nightlife

Mayan Chocolate Making in Belmopan

You will begin the tour the Lamanai chocolate cabana where two Mayan ladies will introduce themselves wearing their beautiful traditional Mayan clothes. They will begin by roasting cacao beans on a traditional kamal that is still used in many of their homes. This part of the tour takes anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour depending on the amount of interaction with the ladies. After roasting the cacao seed they will crush them on the two thousand year old Maya grinding stone. Next they will demonstrate the winnowing process. This process is done by dropping the crushed beans on front of a fan to blow the shells away. Often they use bowls to move the crushed seeds back and forth to ensure all the seeds are shelled. Then the seed is put back on the stone and ground into a high quality liqueur. The final step is to cook the liqueur in water until it is fully dissolved. Once dissolved we can add organic sugar and cream making the chocolate that was developed for taste and healing by the Mayan people.

$800 Outdoor Activities

Full Day Fishing and Mayan Temple Experience

You will be picked up from your hotel or port at 7:30 am and head to AyinHa in the Lemonal Village.  Here you will board your private fishing boat and ride a long Harry Jones Creek unto the Rio Nuevo Lagoon.  After you have fished for a bit, you will then be taken to the majestic Mayan temple of Lamanai.  Here you will enjoy a full site guided tour.  After touring the temple, you will be served a delicious lunch at AyinHa Eco Park.Shortly after relaxing for a bit at AyinHa, your guide will transfer you to your hotel in Belize city or port.  The New River Lagoon (Rio Nuevo Lagoon) has an abundance of fresh river fish to include base snook, tarpon, tilapia, channel cat fish and 7 types of cichlid fish to name a few.  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. 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.

$199.99 Cultural & Theme Tours

Lamanai Day Trip from San Ignacio

After hotel pickup, relax on an approximate 2-hour drive along Belize’s Western and Northern Highways, keeping an eye out for lowland villages and a variety of bird species that inhabit the region close to Lamanai. Board a riverboat and embark on a scenic cruise along the New River, traversing multiple creeks and lagoons en route to the Mayan site. Your guide will point out raptors like black hawks, kites and falcons, as well as local flora such as orchids and bromeliads among the hardwood trees. Observe herons, Jabiru storks and jacanas around the lily pads, spider monkeys overhead, and crocodiles basking on sunny riverbanks.The breathtaking ruins of Lamanai rise into view at the entrance to the New River Lagoon, the largest body of freshwater in Belize. From here, set out on a 1.5-mile (2.5-km) jungle hike to reach the site nestled in the rainforest. Upon arrival, discover Mayan artifacts at the small museum before touring the Mayan city—the largest and oldest in Belize.Follow your informative guide on foot to the plazas and temples, such as the Temple of the Mask, which dates back to 450 AD and is the smallest of the excavated main temples. Here, two 13-foot (4-meter) stone faces adorn each side. At the Stela Temple you’ll see a stone monument depicting the Mayan ruler Lord Smoking Shell in ceremonial dress. Visit the Jaguar Temple, where a jade mask was unearthed, and pass the ceremonial ball court before ascending the High Temple, which rises 100 feet (33 meters). Listen to the chatter of birds and the calls of howler monkeys as you appreciate the extraordinary views from the top of the site still buried in the hillside.After lunch, free time is available for more sightseeing in the rainforest. On your way back to the New River Lagoon, your guide will point out medicinal flora such as the copal and ramon trees used by the Mayans. After returning by riverboat, you’ll be driven back to San Ignacio and dropped off at your hotel.

$137.50 Day Trips & Excursions

Lamanai and Scenic Boat Ride Along the New River Lagoon

Lamanai Mayan site is one of Belize’s largest ceremonial centers. It is located on the banks of the 30 mile long New River Lagoon, in the Orange Walk District, north of Belize City. With one of the longest occupation spans in the Mayan World, Lamanai was occupied continuously for over 3,000 years, from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1675.The site of Lamanai includes eight major plazas, a ball court with the largest known ball court marker, a well-preserved mask of a Maya ruler emerging from a crocodile headdress, a 108 foot tall pyramid, one of the largest Pre-classic structures in the Maya area and an intricately carved Stela depicting the ruler Lord Smoking Shell. These are the main focal points at the site. Found also at the site are remains of a Christian “Indian Church”, which revealed that in 1544 the Spaniards had built a church on top of a Maya temple.This site has an excellent museum with pottery vessels, flints and figurines, many representations of crocodiles, indicating that the crocodile was very important to the people of Lamanai.The mystic wonders of our great ancestors and their intriguing past await you in this exciting adventure!