Lamanai Archaeological Site – Orange Walk Belize

It’s so much fun to fancy oneself as an archaeologist when traveling the world.  My latest attempt at being an armchair Indiana Jones/Dora the Explorer was at Lamanai near Orange Walk town in Belize.

We took a boat tour down the New River from Orange Walk to Lamanai.  We observed all sorts of gorgeous jungle wildlife on the way.  Birds, monkeys, crocodiles, turtles, flowers, and more.  The boat tour provided a lovely home cooked lunch to power up its guests for the walk to come.

Lamanai, which translates to “submerged crocodile”, is a Mesoamerican archaeological site of the Mayan people.  It is a gorgeous and peaceful location mostly shaded throughout with lovely jungle canopy.  It’s highlights are the High Temple, Mask Temple, Jaguar Temple, and the Ball court.  Much of the area still remains unexcavated.  The masks on the Mask Temple are reproductions protecting the originals beneath.

The howler monkeys who live in the area were active while we were on site.  It is an impressive noise one would more associate with a veloso raptor than a monkey.  However, it is effective in keeping pretty much any other animal or human at a distance.

This site was occupied from the 16th century until Spanish conquest.  The site boasts a small museum and a couple of lovely little souvenir shops whose proceeds go to the upkeep of the site.

Of all the archaeological sites I visited while in Belize this was likely my favorite primarily due to the location’s peaceful environs, the wonderful guides, and the enjoyable boat tour to gain entrance.

Jaguar Temple




Mask Temple


High Temple





Our Boat Captain motoring off in to the distance.




20 thoughts on “Lamanai Archaeological Site – Orange Walk Belize

  1. Lovely photos! I have visited Tikal in Guatemala and Chichen Itza in Mexico and I was stunned with both locations. Amazing to think about how they built these temples without the technology and tools we have today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t agree more. It takes an act of Congress to build something small anymore and these folks made epic buildings with no modern tools,computers, etc. I’ll bet they didn’t have a permitting process either though! Ha ha.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your description of the place is very appealing, and I love any kind of ruins from ancient people. I’m glad you drew my attention to this place, so I can keep it in mind for a future trip south. Your photos are wonderful. Are people allowed to climb the steps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They were allowed to climb pretty much everywhere on most of the temples. I think there was one where they asked you to walk up and down the side. If memory serves it was the temple with the masks.

      Lamanai was one of the best parts of the trip for me. I only wish I could have taken better photos from the boat. It turns out it’s hard to take distance photos from a moving boat.

      Liked by 1 person

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