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“Lamanai Tour Through Norwegian Cruise line” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lamanai Belize Tours

Lamanai Belize Tours
Lamanai | Orange Walk Town, Belize City 00000, Belize
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Owner description: The Best Tours to Lamanai Maya Ruins Archaeological Site in Belize. We cater to anyone including cruise liners. We offer a river adventure on the way to Lamanai, as you explore the mystic Maya world in an exciting way.
Carleton Place, Canada
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
53 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
115 helpful votes 115 helpful votes
“Lamanai Tour Through Norwegian Cruise line”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2014

We did Lamanai in January. We sailed on the Norweigen Jewel to Belize.
We opted to do the ship sponsored tour

There is always mention of how long the day is.
I would like to clear that up a bit.
Yes it is a 7.5 hour tour. However it is very well run, and is really like 3 tours in one.
I went to Chichen Itza in Mexico and THAT was a long drawn out miserable day.
Long bus ride, stops at tourist traps and unbelievable crowds.

Lamanai was the exact opposite.

The first part of the day is a panoramic bus tour of the city. You drive through the city from the port to get to the river. It is only about an hour ride which flies by as the guide is pointing out things of interest and explaining life and culture in Belize.

Then you arrive at the river and are treated to a very fun speedboat ride up the river.
The boats are fast and it's great fun to ride through the mangrove jungle. The drivers stop several times to point out interesting things along the river, including an old order Amish community and wild life.

We stopped to see a spider Monkey. I happened to have a banana in my bag so I offered it to see if we could entice the monkey to come closer. Which it did. Right up to the boat. Great picture ops and a lot of fun to watch a wild monkey in his natural habitat.

Depending on the time of year there will be more or less stops for wildlife, based on what is out and about on the day you take the trip.

The speed boat ride and tour of the river lasts about an hour.

Next you arrive at the Site of the ruins. This part of the day includes a hike through the jungle to get to the ruins. It is a lovely 1km hike on good walking paths. Anyone who does not have limited mobility will have no trouble at all. One gentleman in our group had a cane and he made it..a little slower but without difficulty.

On the hike the guide tells you about the area, and the trees and plants and how they affected Maya culture. Very interesting and lovely walk.

As if all that were not enough, you then arrive at the main attraction , the ruins. There are 2 or 3 ( I can't remember which) main sites and the guide will stop and talk about each in detail. Lots of time to take pictures

At one spot the guide will give some history and then allow free time so people can explore the area a bit on their own and those who want can climb the ruins. Something that is not allowed in Mexico.

Then it is time to head back to the boats for a very fast ride back down the river, and a bit of a race with the other boats.

Once you are back you are served lunch. Buffet style which was good...not fantastic, but you don't take this tour for the food :)
And then it is back on the bus for the drive back to port. Which is fairly quick and a great time to reflect on a wonderful day enjoying the nature and beauty of Belize.

This tour is excellent value for the money spent, is extremely well organized, and does not waste time at silly tourist traps like so many others do.
It is a full day of adventure but not a long drawn out day with too much down time.

A couple of tips to make the most of it.

Make sure you bring bug spray..and use it. You will be in the jungle..there are mosquitoes. We had no trouble with bugs because we had our spray.

Bring water! again it is the jungle it is humid and hot...more or less depending on time of year..but always hot and humid.

Throw a light jacket or sweater in your back pack. Some people found it chilly on the speedboat ride on the way back with the wind off the water.

Wear running or hiking shoes ..it is the jungle! You will be walking, hiking, and boating dress appropriately.
We saw people with sandals and flipflops and one lady in high heels....they were not comfortable..but that was their own fault, not the fault of the tour.

You may get wet from the splash of the speed boat...that is part of boating, dress appropriately and throw an extra t -shirt into your bag if you don't like to be wet so you can change or put on a weatherproof jacket.

This is an excellent tour that many people do over and over because it is a wonderful experience and really 3 tours in one.
Make the most of your day in Belize and enjoy all it has to offer.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 reviews from our community

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English first
Gainesville, Florida
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2014

My husband and I were in Belize for one day on a cruise ship and booked an excursion with Elio. Our Royal Carribean cruise ship offered the tour for $109 each where as Elio offered the same tour for $75 each. We were worried about having to wait for other people on our cruise ship so we ended up paying $100 each to have a car to ourselves.

We were met at the door of the cruise terminal by Elio's eager and happy brother, Julian. He whisked us away to his van and we were on our way. He pointed out things in the city and kept us occupied for the hour long drive. It was interesting to see the city and what Belize is really like. The drive wasn't bad at all - not bumpy and Julian drove very well.

Elio met us at the New River boat dock where we could use the bathroom. A boat with a French family of 4 and a German couple had already left on the New River when we arrived, so Elio said that he would drive us about 15 minutes to meet up with the boat further down the river which we happily agreed to. He drove us through sugar cane fields and told us that they have to burn the fields before harvest because Belize has 57 different types of snakes that lurk amongst the sugar cane. We were also drive through a Mennonite village and farm which was very interesting and Elio told us about the great relationship between the Mennonites and people of Belize (The Mennonites grow 70% of the food for Belize).

We were met at the boat dock by Elio's other brother, Javeer, and his nephew and we joined the 6 other tourists on the trip down the river. The boat ride was very beautiful and perfectly breezy on a hot day. We didn't really see any animals, but it was still a great time. When we arrived at Lamanai we had a delicious lunch of beans and rice (Belize's National dish), chicken, plaintains and potato salad made by Elio, Julian and Javeer's very own mother.

As we set off on our tour all of the cruise tours were leaving and we're so glad we didn't choose to go with the cruise, because there were about 200 people being herded around. We were taken on an incredible tour of the Lamanai ruins where we were able to climb a giant temple, see and hear howler monkeys and learn many things about the history and excavation of the sight (each brother seems to be a well of information). After the leisurely tour we had time to shop in the gift shops and then return to the boat. We went back down the river and had a blue heron fly beside the boat that my husband says he could have reached out and grabbed, it was that close. When we arrived at the Orange Walk dock Elio showed us a tiny humming bird nest with two baby birds nestled inside hanging in a bush.

Julian then whisked us away in his van and walked us all the way back to the terminal door. We never felt rushed and got back about 20 minutes before the last tender, so also had some time to shop at the port.

What I truly love about this company is that it is a family operation by people who grew up on the New River and deeply care about the conservation of Belize's beautiful landscape. They took every opportunity to show and tell us about their amazing culture and left us feeling like we had the "real" Belize experience. You will not regret booking with this company.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iver Heath, United Kingdom
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Excellent Tour of Lamanai Ruins!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

My wife and I (a middle aged couple) have just returned home to the UK from a trip to Florida, which included a cruise on the NCL Dawn from Tampa. For our day stop at Belize we had pre-booked an excursion with Elio, as we prefer to book with locals rather than those offered by the cruise ships which we find overpriced, crowded and impersonal. We chose to visit the Lamanai site rather than Altun Ha as we thought it would be less crowded - we also liked the idea of the jungle river boat ride!
By speaking to the very helpful Guest Services the previous day, we managed to get one of the first tenders from the ship as Elio requested and set off for the 30 minute boat ride to the port. There, outside Terminal 1 our driver Julian was waiting as arranged with a sign bearing our name. As we were the only 2 booked that day we set off immediately for the one hour or so drive to the river. Julian is a very likeable and helpful young man and, during the drive, he gave us lots of information about Belize (formerly British Honduras) and his own lifestyle, which was very interesting.
We arrived at a well kept area (with 'restrooms'!) adjacent to the river and very quickly boarded a boat with several others for our ride to the ruins. The boat trip was amazing! It was a very fast and exhilarating hours ride with lots of twists and turns as the river meandered through the forest. Occasionally our captain, Chico, would kill the engine and glide over to show us crocodiles, termite nests and other points of interest on the riverbank, including the Prussian Mennonite settlement.
On a wide stretch of the river we arrived at the Lamanai site (also with 'restrooms') where we were provided with a very tasty lunch and drinks (included in the tour price) before setting off to walk round the ruins with a guide to the strange sounds of some spider monkeys in the trees. The ruins were also amazing and our guide gave us lots of information about the Mayan culture which was the whole reason for us booking this cruise. We were lucky that the site was not too busy and had the opportunity of climbing the 3 main temples that have so far been uncovered and partly restored.
After having as long as we wanted at the site we re-boarded the boat for our return trip up the river where Julian was waiting to drive us back to the port after a quick tour of Belize City. We arrived back at the port in good time for tendering back to the ship (which Julian kept checking throughout the day) and Elio made a point of coming to meet us. We were pleased that we had the opportunity to thank him personally for arranging such an interesting, informative and exciting day, which was much better value for money than that offered by the cruise lines.
We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this excursion to others and hope they enjoy it as much as we did.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Mary, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Lamanai Ruins Adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

My daughter booked this trip for 6 of us including my 3-year old grandson. Another couple joined us for a total of 8 from the cruise ship Carnival Dream. Elio and his brother Javier were waiting for us outside Terminal One as he advised, and drove us to the dock at New River for a beautiful boat ride to the Lamanai Ruins. He was very informative about the country, foliage, animals, and people. We had a most delicious lunch of local food and then climbed the ruins (even my grandson climbed up to the top), hiked through the park and boated back to the dock for the ride back to the cruise terminal. Our adventures included seeing monkeys, crocodiles, fish, and a coatimundi in their natural habitat. Wonderful day and great guides. Honest and trustworthy.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“a delight”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

I booked with Elio while on the carnival dream. we were greeted just outside the cruise port by two of his tour guides, Dillan and Jullian. we were admittedly a little unsure of the surroundings. ( you hear all kinds of things about shady operations) They were GREAT... now the van ride was not the best, as we americans are spoiled by a first rate road system, but Dillan was very informative and told us all about his country (And what a beautiful country it is). now the van ride is a bit long, about an hour. But we were well entertained. We arrived at the boat dock and were soon speeding down a river, This is alot like the everglades but with trees. Multiple river channels make the trip exhilerating. This is where Jullian comes in, this young man knows the river system like the back of his hand. We were cutting through the mangroves at a good speed. the river trip was about an hour long but didnt seem 30 mins. keep in mind Jullian did this without the aid of GPS or maps. it was exciting and we all had a blast. we soon arrived at the dock to the ruins. Both of the young men were extremely nice and went out of their way to help in anyway they could. Their knowledge of the jungle is amazing. Okay, now to the ruins. All i can say is WOW. they were breathtaking. we got to climb to the top of a 108 foot tall temple, the steps were very steep But the view was worth it. Dillan climbed up with us and pointed out many landmarks while Jullian stayed down with my wife and told her about his heritage, There were howler monkeys all about and the trek through the jungle was like something out of jurasic park. after the ruins we were treated to a local lunch that was outstanding. I HIGHLY recommend this tour. ( take bug spray though) i would definitely do it again.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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