Price & Hours
- Sightseeing Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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Perched on the New River Lagoon in northern Belize, this sprawling 960-acre Mayan site stands masked in crocodile art. Lamanai means "submerged crocodile" in Yucatec Mayan, which should give you a good idea of what you'll encounter here: artifacts depicting representations of the reptile, plus crocodiles (and iguanas) crawling along the banks of the New River to catch some sunlight.
Inhabited from about 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1700, Lamanai is the longest-occupied known Mayan site in the world. Its dense compound features three Mayan pyramids, the remains of a 16th-centruy Spanish Church and several noteworthy plazas and temples established during Pre-Classic Mayan rule. You won't want to skip climbing the High Temple, and you'll also want to visit the Mask Temple, which includes ancient artifacts linked to Mayan, Aztec and Olmec rulers. Just come prepared with sunscreen, light clothing and plenty of water.
Lamanai welcomes visitors every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance to Lamanai costs 10 Belize dollars (roughly $5). You can reach Lamanai from Belize City via the Northern Highway. Locals recommend traveling up the New River by water taxi or a guided river tour from Caye Caulker. Reliable companies that offer tours include Lamanai Belize Tours and Belize Fun Tours and range from $60 to $75 per person.