Lamanai Day Trip

Old Jan 18th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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Lamanai Day Trip

We're staying on Ambergris Caye in three weeks and want to plan a day trip to Lamanai. How does one get there without engaging a tour? Is it possible to do this on our own as first timers to Belize or are we going to get hopelessly lost?
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Old Jan 19th, 2007, 04:28 AM
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I don't know if you'd get lost, but with the tours to Lamanai, getting there is half the fun. Early morning pick up, boat ride to the mainland and up a river to a small town. Lots of birds, crocs, turtles to see on the way. 45 minute bus/van ride to another river where a smaller boat awaits. Lunch at Lamanai and a tour. Usually monkeys abound. We also saw a beautiful pair of toucans. The history is fascinating. Faster trip back, we had a pod of dolphins hang with us most of the ocean part of the trip. Definitely a day to remember, although pricy.
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Old Jan 19th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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JeanH, How long did you spend at the site? We want to make sure, if we take a tour, that we have quite a bit of time. How long did you have? Did you find that some operators spent more time than others?
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Old Jan 19th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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I took the tour from Ambrigris a couple years ago that we booked thru the Victoria House. Don't know for sure, but I think it would be difficult to do without going thru a tour group.

I remember it being a very long day involving boats and old school busses, and that it rained most of the day. The first boat was very nice. After the bus ride, we went on the second boat which was operated by a different tour operator. The boat was old and had barely enough room for everyone. The worst part was that it rained the entire time on it and they didn't have enough tarps to keep everyone dry. It was pretty miserable. The tour group had lunch that we ate in picnic grounds under tarps. Heard more than saw monkies. Was told there were toucans there, but without binoculars, I didn't see any. Lamania was pretty neat, but I didn't enjoy the trip there and back. Could be because I had gone to Ambrigris after being in the "jungle" and for me nothing could compare to what I had seen there.
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Old Jan 24th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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We did the Lamanai trip two weeks ago, on our honeymoon. Loved it. We booked through our resort, the Mata Chica on Ambergris Caye, and they used a company based in San Pedro called "SeaDuced".

Our guide(s) were great; it did take one full and tiring 12-hour day to do a boat - boat - bus - boat commute each way. But along the way we saw tons of birds, crocodiles - it was amazing to us. Our guide at Lamanai was an ex-history teacher (Eduardo Blanco) and he knew an immense amount about the Mayan culture and local history.

A few suggestions: (1) get a bird guide so you can I.D. the birds you're going to see along the way, (2) take some strong bug spray - and put it on your feet, too, because there were fire ants everywhere. I was wearing open-toed hiking sandals, and my toes felt like they were aflame by the end of the day. Oh, and (3) pack a poncho - they don't call it the rainforest for nothing.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 04:40 AM
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I never answered the question how long we were at the site. Probably not as long as what you're looking for, maybe only two hours touring. It was raining while we were there as well, although I don't think we could have stayed much longer anyway, it was almost a 12 hour trip the way it was.

We went with Tanisha Tours, they brought rain ponchos for all of us.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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You can do it on your own from San Pedro, though it will end up costing you about as much or more as going on a tour from San Pedro, with more hassles and stress.

You could fly to either the international or municipal airport, the earliest flight of the day (around 7 a.m, US$56 to $104 RT depending on the airport). You can go by bus, but I doubt you can make connections and get to the Tower Hill bridge just south of Orange Walk Town in time to make the boats. They leave for the trip up the New River to Lamanai around 9 or 9:30 a.m. (US$40).

What you'd probably want to do is to rent a car (US$70 or $80) and drive to the bridge.

You can also drive all the way to Lamanai via either Shipyard or from Orange Walk Town via Yo Creek. Emory King's Driver's Guide to Belize has pretty good driving instructions. This is a fairly nice drive on mostly unpaved roads, but it is easy to make a wrong turn, and you miss the great trip by boat up the New River.

So, I'd say either go on a tour or if you want to do it on your own plan to take a couple of days and overnight at either Lamanai Outpost Lodge or Lamanai South lodge.

--Lan Sluder
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 05:37 PM
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Thank you, Everyone! I think we'll take a tour this time around!
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 11:27 AM
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I took this tour...it is a whole day event from San Pedro. It was nice, but long. I loved the tour guides, very personable and knowledgeable. He was so knowledgeable, he predicted that I was pregnant with a baby girl (I was only 10 weeks along) and he was correct! Have a fun trip!
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