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.
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