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“A Bucket List Experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lamanai Mayan Site and New River Tour

Lamanai Mayan Site and New River Tour
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Tempe, Arizona
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“A Bucket List Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

We were driven to the New River dock to begin our tour by our driver from the Black Orchid Resort. Our guide, Nathaniel, was waiting for his four groups of people to arrive. I had already seen Nathaniel on a youtube video, so was excited to have this very eloquent guide. He proved throughout the tour that he was indeed an expert on the river, the Mayan site, and even taught us how to speak as the locals do. As we started up the river, Nathaniel gave us the background we needed about the history of the river and the people who live along its banks. He had a keen eye for any animals moving along the banks and in the water. We were able to see an amazing array of plants and animals as we toured the river on our way to the site. People who fly directly in to the site miss a great connection to the landmarks, flora, and fauna we were able to experience. One of the highlights of our entire trip was being able to feed the spider monkey by hand. He was not at all afraid of us; he even held the boat to the bank by his tail while he enjoyed half a banana from all of us. We also saw Mayan fishermen in the river fishing by hand with only the baited hook and the line.

When we arrived at the site, Nathaniel warned us about being prepared for mosquitoes and rain. He also made sure that we understood that this was an ecological site and we were forbidden to pick up anything from here. He was extremely diligent about educating us about every type of plant or animal we happened to see. We learned about the allspice, the largest palm fronds in the world, and a variety of other information just on the way to our first site. He showed us the easy way up this first ancient wonder. This way everyone in our tour got to climb at least one. We learned about the carvings and the artifacts found here. The High Temple was a much harder climb, but the view of the jungle from the top was amazing for those of our party that made it. Even the view from the high terrace was incredible.

Because it was rainy season, we were treated to a group of howler monkeys on our way to the ball court and the Jaguar Temple. Nathaniel was able to call the alpha male, who then brought his companions to converse with us. What a delight! We were also shown how to capture the jaguar carving on the front of the temple so that the photograph would show the jaguar face in 3-D. The resulting photo I got is one of my all-time favorites. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone traveling anywhere near here.

Visited July 2013
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261 reviews from our community

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English first
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Lamanai with Suya Tours”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Here's what to expect: Picked up early AM like 7-8 ish right at hotel. Alan was our guide and we bombarded him with questions (teachers seem to do that) but he had the answers. We picked up at 2 other hotels. I only like small tour groups.Took a fast boat ride for about an hour and then stopped and had a provided breakfast of "Breakfast burritos" and the best Orange Juice. I have to say that the thought of eating a breakfast burrito made some of us little nervous going on such a "wilderness" trip but there were no problems and amazingly we weren't too hungry the rest of the day. There is a bathroom stop at breakfast and when you get to Lamanai. After breakfast, there was about an hour van ride through the country. This is always my favorite part, to see how the people live and being able to ask questions. We took another boat (another bathroom stop) and Cedro and Alan, our guides , took us on a scenic and informative ride along the river until we arrived at Lamanai. There we had lunch of chicken, rice, beans, fruit. all delicious. Alan told us all about Regado seasoning and how to make the chicken stew, but I just cant duplicate it at home . Cedro gave the most fascinating tour of Lamanai and I learned so much about the Mayans and the area. On the way, we found a jawbone, holes that Tarantulas lived in (I stayed far away) and lots of answers to our questions.then came the "ruins". Keep in mind that when you climb the temples, you go up on hands and feet. You can use the rope on the way down. No one was forced to climbed and you can wait it the shade. I'm glad I did it, it was so worthwhile and not very strenuous. We walked back tot he boat on a smooth path thru the rain forest. On the ride back there was rum punch, beer and sodas and lots of friendly conversation. It was a very well run, informative,and memorable trip. Bring $10 US for park fee.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redding, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Enjoyed every minute and experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

This was a full day tour package by Seaduced by Belize in San Pedro. A boat picked me up from the hotel dock, collected other guests from theirs, then took us across to the mainland and up a river to the tiny settlement of Bomba where a delicious breakfast was waiting, plus local woodcrafts for sale. Really enjoyed talking to a few of the locals and getting a peek at their lives; very friendly warm people. Our guides, Devon and Leon from Seaduced, were local born and raised and very knowledgeable about the area. A bus took us along what I learned was the old PanAmerican Hwy to the New River where we went on by boat again with another guide, Eddie, who continued around the Lamanai ruins with us. I'd been to Caracol already, and these temple sites were worth seeing too as different, steeper to climb, and with a view out over the lagoon. Had lunch provided there at the site and time to shop again for local Mayan crafts, before the trip back. Saw so much! River crocodiles, orchids, exotic birds, howler monkeys...and learned a lot od history of the area. Really a great day and everything I'd hoped it would be. Big thanks to the guides for all doing such a great job too.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moore, South Carolina
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Top of the Jungle and what a great boat ride...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

We've been to this amazing ruin twice now and I'd love to visit again when we come to Belize again this Christmas season. If you are able to climb the High Temple you'll be rewarded with one of the world's more amazing vistas: the top of the jungle for miles in all directions - stunning. Of course you are then forced to pay for it with a harrowing but safe rope-assisted climb back down into the jungle. There is a great museum and some cute places to get souvenirs -- and the admission charge is minimal. Well worth it.

The other wonderful part of a visit to the "submerged crocodile" is the neat boat ride up the New river to the lagoon where you dock to check out Lamanai. Our guide was wonderful, stopping the boat several times to point out neat animals or birds. We saw a nice sized crocodile, a jabu stork, iguanas, great blue herons and a "Jesus Christ Bird". So called because they walk on the top of the water lilies and appear from a short distance to be walking on the water itself.

Please make plans to see this exciting Mayan ruin. It is a great all-day trip from Ambergris Caye and you can reach it by car from the Northern Highway.

Have fun...

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cali, Colombia
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

Really enjoyed this tour. We flew to mainland and there was a bus waiting for us. After 1 hour ride in a comfortable bus with air conditioning, we got to the boat dock , were a covered boat took us up the New River to Lamanai. The journey on the River was beautiful. We got to see a friendly monkey that came down to our boat and got a banana and a mango from our guide. Really enjoyed very much the view from the boat, a lot of birds, beautiful bromelias hanging from the trees. We got to see the palm where the Saw Palmetto is harvested.
After a 90 minutes boat ride you get in the New River Lagoon, the birth place of the New River and to the Lamanai dock. There is an information center there with clean bathrooms and a few craft shops. After a VERY INTERESTING introduction given by Vel our guide, we started a walk through the jungle to the first of the three pyramids you visit in the tour: the Mask , the High Temple and the Jaguar. Our guide Vel , gave us a very interesting description of the flora and his knowledge of the Maya culture was very informative a delightful.
Was a wonderful physical and spiritual experience.
ADVICE.. don't forget to take with you mosquito repellent otherwise they will feast on you!

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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