- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Lamanai ("submerged crocodile")
Lamanai ("submerged crocodile") Review
What makes Lamanai so special is its setting on the west bank of a beautiful 28-mile-long (45-km) lagoon, one of only two waterside Mayan sites in Belize (the other is Cerros, near Corozal Town). Nearly 400 species of birds have been spotted in the area and a troop of howler monkeys visits the archaeological site regularly.
For nearly 3,000 years Lamanai's residents carried on a lifestyle that passed from one generation to the next, until the Spanish missionaries arrived. You can still see the ruins of the missionaries' church near the village of Indian Church. The same village also has an abandoned 19th-century sugar mill. With its immense drive wheel and steam engine—on which you can still read the name of the manufacturer, Leeds Foundry of New Orleans—swathed in strangler vines and creepers, it's a haunting sight. In all, 50 to 60 Mayan structures are spread over this 950-acre archaeological reserve. The most impressive is the largest Pre-Classic structure in Belize—a massive, stepped temple built into the hillside overlooking the New River Lagoon. Many structures at Lamanai have only been superficially excavated. Trees and vines grow from the tops of temples, and the sides of one pyramid are covered with vegetation. On the grounds you'll find a visitor center with educational displays on the site, and pottery, carvings, and small statues, some dating back 2,500 years. Local villagers from the Indian Church Village Artisans Center set up small stands on the grounds to sell handmade carvings, jewelry, and other crafts, along with T-shirts and snacks. Many visitors enjoy Lamanai not only for the stunning setting on the New River Lagoon, but also for the boat ride up the New River, where you are likely to see many birds, along with howler monkeys and crocodiles.
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
I've just returned from a fantastic 10 day adventure to Belize and wanted to share my trip report since reading so many of these before I went was so helpful.
i put off for too long shopping for a new Read more
My fiancee and I are planning our honeymoon. Read more
For anyone who has been to both Chan Chich and Bosque del Cabo, how did you think the two compared? Read more
· News & Features
Travelers to Belize will find a fairy-tale landscape of white-sand beaches, lush rain forests, and soaring ... Read more
Do you dream about going snout-to-snout with a bear, or at least observing a bear from a safe and responsible... Read more
Honeymoons are the chance to take the adventure of a lifetime.... Read more