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Lamanai Tours

Belize City, Belize

8 hours

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size



English, Espanol


Lamanai Tours

is the Maya word for “submerged crocodile.” The site’s name – “Lamanay” or “Lamayna” was recorded by Franciscan missionaries in the seventeenth century. It is one of the only sites retaining its original name and is among one of Belize’s largest ceremonial centre. The name Lamanai helps to explain the numerous crocodile motifs at the site. Crocodile effigies appear on figurines, vessel decorations, and on the large headdress on a limestone mask at one of the principal structures at the site.

Lamanai, located on the banks of the New River Lagoon, is easist visited by boat river tour along the spectacular new river. The trip is a nature-lover’s heaven for numerous species of water birds live along this rich and diverse waterway. You may even be lucky enough to view iguanas and crocodiles as they sun themselves on the river banks. There are also interesting flora and fauna to be seen at the Lamanai reserve.

While the site was recorded by missionaries and also mentioned by Thomas Gann in the 1920’s, it was not until 1974 that formal excavations were carried out at the site by Dr. David Pendergast up until 1986. More recent work has been carried out by Dr. Elizabeth Graham.

Previous archaeological work has focused not only on the ancient Maya aspect of the site, but also the colonial era, with investigations into both the Spanish churches as well as the sugar mill.

Lamanai boasts the third tallest Maya structure in Belize, aptly called High Temple, which stands 33 meters tall. Perhaps the most iconic feature of Lamanai is the Mask Temple. The masks featured on this temple is 4.2 m high. It was built up of limestone blocks which were mortared together and then overlaid with a thin layer of lime plaster and a finishing coat of stucco.

This method of construction is unusual in the Maya area, where masks and friezes were usually built up and modelled with plaster on a stone block framework. Some blocks appear to be quite large; for example, the upper section of the face is one large block whereas on the sides of the face, the edges of smaller blocks can be seen. The nose, however, was made up of two pieces of stone either side; the nostrils and middle section were then infilled with mortar and smaller pieces of stone. Each ear flare is also carved from one single block of stone.

Links to top resources about Lamanai
Lamanai (Institute of Archaeology NICH)
World Archaeology
Complete list of ALL our tours available while you are in Belize on holiday

Your tour to Lamanai begins with pickup form your accommodation, AirBnB Water taxi or Municipal airstrip in Belize City. Form here we Journey north for one hour, 55 Miles, on the Philip Goldson Highway to the District of Orange Walk to the town of Carmelita on the banks of the New River.

Here at our docks we join other guests as we board our boat and set of on an amaizing one hour wildlife eco tour along the new river sighting bats, birds, crocodiles and even local fishermen who have hand fish the river for hundreds of years. As the new river opens out into the new river lagoon we get our first glimpse of the summit of the highest peak of the largest temple, the Majestic High Temple at Lamanai.

On arrival at the site of Lamanai, your guide will make your entrance fees payments while you use the bathroom Fascilites and its off on tour. Visitors will get a chance to visit the Jaguar Temple, Royal Complex, High Temple, Mask Temple, Stelae 9 Temple learning the history of an ancient people as they move from plaza to plaza.

After your complete tour of Lamanai, guests will journey enjoy a delicious local Belizean Lunch served buffet style on site at the lunch area.
After lunch we reboard the boat and return to the docks for your return journey to Belize City.

Adults: US130
Children: US99



We pickup from your hotel, AirBnB, Homes in Belize City

Transfer to Orange Walk

Roughly and hours drive north of Belize city on the Philip Goldson Highway through small country villages we come to our docks on the banks of the New River, the hub of our activities for the day.

Arrival and River Tour

After using the bathroom facilities its off on a one hour river tour of the New River in route to the ancient city of crocodiles, Lamanai. In route see many species of birds, crocodiles, Iguanas and many other flora and fauna local to the area.

Tour of Lamanai

On arrival at Lamanai guests get a chance to use the bathroom facilitates again should they need and its off to tour. Learn the history of the only city in mesoamerica to be under continued occupation. Your guide will take you across 5 plazas and 5 temples explaining the history and demise of this once great civilization.

Lunch and Return to City

After your tour of Lamanai, guests are served a delicious local lunch after which its return to our docks via the new river for your return to Belize City.


  • Air Conditioned Transfer
  • Boat River Tour
  • Licensed Tour Guide
  • All Entrance Fees
  • Complementary Lunch
  • Souvenirs/Gifts
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Gratuity


Full day (7+ hours)

Tour's Location

Belize City, Belize


Based on 4 reviews
Very Good

Fabulous, interesting, learned so much!

Our guide, Ben, was so knowledgeable and friendly. He answered every one of our hundreds of questions with patience and warmth. He was from the area, so he had a firsthand knowledge of the ruins and he went far beyond what we expected to give us an extensive background on not only the ancient Mayan peoples, but current residents of the country and their backgrounds.

Expert, helpful, and friendly staff. Excellent jungle river boat ride and amazing ruins filled with wildlife.

Picked us up from hotel, then took jungle boat ride to ruins. Lots of wildlife on boat ride, including iguanas, birds, bats, and monkeys. To see crocodiles, make sure to book when river is lower during dry season. Ruins were amazing! Colin was our tour guide and he was very knowledgeable, highly respectful, and passionate about the history and culture of this place. He was able to answer all questions from those on our tour, was friendly, and had a great and appropriate sense of humor (not over the top). Lunch was included and excellent.
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Phenomenal , a must see but take precautions

Getting to walk all around Lamanai was truly a phenomenal experience. To get that close to the ruins was surreal, and to climb up the high temple was unlike anything I have ever experienced while traveling the world. Our tour guide was top notch, extremely knowledgeable, interactive, funny and kind. He even had a friend who is a true Mayan who came to talk to us . That was beyond our expectations. While walking, we saw so much and even encountered some unique wildlife along the way. You must wear sneakers/comfortable sturdy shoes. There is a lot of walking into the jungle to even reach the ruins, and much more all around. It is a lot of exercise so make sure you are up for that. Please also do NOT forget the bug spray, as heavy duty as possible is absolutely required. You are in the jungle, so you need something very good. I had some incredibly powerful products, plus deet 100 and still managed to get attacked by thousands of fire ants- both feet/ankles/legs. Believe me when I say it was excruciating. I was also wearing capris so I'd suggest long pants despite the heat. It is an experience I will never forget and I had the battle wounds for months before they fully healed. Regardless of that it was an experience unlike anything else, and one I will always be thankful for. When you are standing their among the ruins, it is something else. Not easily explained. I would highly recommend this , even if you do nothing else. This is important and unique. An in dept education that will blow your mind. Don't forget your camera- you never know what else you might find!
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Mary B

Amazing Experience of both History and Nature!

Incredible experience traveling through the city of Belize and country side by bus. Our guides (Eva, Doris and Andre) were very knowledgeable of the history, culture and political landscape. The bus tour is about 1 hour long and then another 30 minutes traveling by safari boat to the Mayan ruins. Touring the ruins was very educational and the natural wildlife in the jungle just cam alive with all of the amazing sounds and plant life. Definitely would recommend this tour to anyone considering it!
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