What an experience! I prefer to book our tours independently from the cruise line. After much research and help from Trip Advisor I found Belize Cruise Excursions and we were not disappointed. The directions and instructions to our meeting point were right on and Nicolai was right there waiting for us.
We drove about 45 minutes north of Belize City and Nicolai provided a lot of history and information about Belize and its surrrounding area. He also provided us with maps that we could refer to as he spoke. We arrived early at the river area to catch our boat to Lamanai. Since we had some extra time to spare we were taken to see the spider monkeys. Wow!
We encountered some trouble after the other party arrived. They boarded the boat but once we got going we realized that there was too much weight and we had to turn around. Our tour guide had to be left behind along with a cooler of refreshments and water but we tried once again. We still had a weight issue so another bigger boat was called to meet us so we can change boats once again. What should've been a 1 hour boat ride turned into a 1 1/2 hour ride.
Once we arrived at Lamanai we were greeted and lunch was provided. The lunch consisted of chicken, salad and rice and beans. It was delicious! Much better than my breakfast that morning on the cruise. After lunch our tour of the ruins got started. You may ask how we had a tour if our tour guide was left behind? There are plenty of local folks that help each other out when needed. The boat driver was also our tour guide while at the ruins. He did an excellent job considering that the other party in our group was not wearing appropriate shoes or clothing to deal with the mosquitoes. You better bring your bug spray or you will be eaten alive here. Also remember to wear light color clothing! No black folks!
We didn't have much time at the ruins due to our boat situation and our time back at the cruise port but the time we had here we did enjoy. This was probably our third Mayan ruin to visit over the years and not the most impressive, but the location provides you with a great idea on how the Mayan communiy here of over 70,000 people provided for themselves.
On our way back to the port Nicolai drove us to Belize City. All I have to say is that there is so much more outside of Belize City. Don't let this area of Belize deter you from visiting the country side. It truly is beautiful and when you have a great tour guide like Nicolai it takes on a whole new meaning.
True to their word Belize Cruise Excursions/Nicolai got us to the port on time. In fact, we had another 40 minutes to shop but we were so tired from our day that we headed straight to the ship.