Visiting a Mayan site is at the top of many vacation lists for people visiting Belize. One of the best is a day trip from Ambergris Caye…a long day trip. But after seeing birds, monkeys, crocodiles, cool Mayan carvings. and questioning whether you can get back down the STEEP temple that you just climbed, it’s a trip that I think is well worth it.
My tour company Seaduced by Belize picked me up at my dock at 7am with a full boat. A quick introduction speech from our guides and we headed across to the mainland, through a large lagoon, up the Northern River to the tiny village of Bomba. (About an hour)
We stopped at one point to take a closer look at some teeny, tiny bats nestled in an old log. For a creepy flying rodent with prehistoric looking wings, kinda cute.
These are my guides, Ricky (on the left) and Leonard with eyes peeled for crocodiles. You might remember Leonard from a previous post where he helped spear a puffer fish that was lodged in a huge turtles throat. Now THAT was cool.
We unloaded in Bomba, took a bathroom break, had some johnny cakes, banana bread, fruit and coffee and loaded onto an old school bus for the next leg of our trip. Here’s my whole group.
We took the rather bumpy ride for about 50 minutes. But our guide Ricky kept everyone happy throwing out all sorts of facts…from where the name Belize comes from to the growing cycle of the papaya tree.
Here is a map of Belize if you are playing along at home. San Pedro directly west to the mainland, bus to Orange Walk area, boat down the New River to Lamanai.
We arrived at the large lagoon and the Lamanai site. A huge lunch of rice & beans and stew chicken is served before you head over with Eddie to explore.
We took the guided tour of the various temples, structures and the ball court.
.The very cool jaguar mask…
The walk along the paths from temple to temple is really beautiful…
The next smaller tomb has this iconic mask carving. Beautiful.
Dress for warm weather. It’s HOT on the mainland and though there is ample shade while walking around, the hike up the temple will get your sweat glands pumping. Bring a bandana or “sweat rag”…I don’t leave home without at least one.
Bring Sunblock and wear a hat. Or you will have a very red nose.
Don’t worry about which day to go. We went on a Thursday and there were a few large groups from the cruise ships. Not a problem. Our guides were very good at timing our arrival at all the sites so it did not seem crowded at all.
Don’t bring food or beverages. Plenty are provided by the tour company. Drink LOTS of water.
Bring some cash. The entrance fee to Lamanai is $10BZD for visitors and $5BZD for residents. Don’t worry, they don’t make you show your passport or ID. There are also crafts people at Bomba selling wood carvings for up to half the prices that they would on the caye, they definitely prefer cash. (There is no electricity in the town!)