The Lamanai site is one of the oldest continuously occupied Maya sites in Belize, from about 1500 BC when maize was being grown at the site, to 1680 AD. The name “Lamanai” means submerged insect.
However, archaeologists realized in 1978 that Franciscan monks had corrupted the name from “Lam’an/ayin” to “Lamanai,” and that adding the correct suffix of “ayin” changed the meaning of the name to submerged crocodile, a conclusion supported by the large number of crocodile representations found at Lamanai, including figurines, pottery decorations and the headdress of a 13 foot limestone mask found on a 6th century temple platform.
In addition to Mayan buildings and artifacts, the Lamanai site also includes the remains of a 19th century sugar mill, a brick-lined reservoir and the charred remains of two 16th century Catholic churches. The church remains are charred because the Maya burned each of them down after the Spanish built the churches in an attempt to convert the Maya inhabitants of Lamanai to Catholicism. The first church building particularly incensed the Maya — the Spanish built the church on the foundations of a Mayan temple that they demolished to make way for the new church.
Lamanai continued to flourish in the Post Classic Period primarily because of its trade of metals, particularly copper objects, thought to have been produced on-site at Lamanai beginning by approximately 1150 AD. More copper artifacts have been found at Lamanai than at any other Mayan site, and the artifacts have included bells, rings, tweezers, various clothing ornaments, pins, axes, chisels, needles, and fish hooks.
The day trip to Lamanai begins at 5:45 am with pick up at your resort. We then have breakfast in San pedro town, then take either a 6:30am water taxi to Belize City which is an Hour and an half ride or a 7am flight to Belize City which is a 15 minutes flight. In Belize City you are then picked up by your Professional guides. You then enjoy a 1 hour drive north of Belize City to a mestizo village named Carmelita. From there you exit your tour vehicle and board your speed boat as you take your beautiful river tour up the New River to the Mayan Site of Lamanai. On your river tour you sometimes encounter crocodile, spider monkey, howler monkey, and different species of birds. Upon arriving on the Mayan site you head straight to enjoy you fresh cook Belizean lunch, rice and beans with stew chicken and vegetable salad.
After lunch, your guided tour of the Ancient Mayan City begins. The temples are built a little distance apart so you will be short hiking trails through the rain-forest as you view our beautiful flora that leads you to the different temples. Your guide will be doing the full history of that Ancient City, what each temple were used for and its importance for the Mayas. Upon completing your tour at the site, you will have a short stop at the gift shop if you are interested in gift items.
You then board your boat as you cruise back to the little village where you hop back in your tour vehicle and drive back to Belize City. From Belize City you take your water taxi or flight back to San Pedro. In San Pedro you will be met by one of our representative who will insure that you have you transportation back to your resort.
General Tour Information
Light-weight comfortable clothing and shoes with a good grip. Long trousers are more suitable than shorts as they give more protection from insects and weather. Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent .
Included: round trip transfers to/from San Pedro town, light Belizean Breakfast, round trip flights to/from San Pedro airstrip, water, juices, park fees and traditional Belizean Lunch.
Take: sunscreen, insect repellent, camera, binoculars, and wear comfort