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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 28 Reviews

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  • Location:Belize City, Belize
  • Duration:9 hours (approx.)

Best Lamanai and the New River Safari in Belize

Discover ancient Mayan architecture on an excursion through Belize's exotic landscapes. You'll enjoy stunning views and spot diverse wildlife as you make your way to the Lamanai ruins, one of the most famous sights in Belize. Accessible only by water and a brief hike, this adventure is fun for the whole family.


  • Full-day excursion to the Lamanai Mayan ruins
  • Wildlife-spotting cruise along the New River
  • Short jungle hike to the Lamanai Mayan site
  • Lunch by the lagoon
  • Free time for rainforest sightseeing
  • Pickup and drop off from most Belize City hotels

What You Can Expect

Best Lamanai and the New River Safari in Belize

Mask Temple, Lamanai

A 45-minute drive up the Northern Highway, passing through villages and lowlands with many bird species, brings you to Tower Hill, where you'll board a riverboat and head up the New River.

While traversing the many creeks and lagoons, you may spot birdlife including hawks, kites and falcons. The river is lined with hardwood trees, orchids and bromeliads, and you might see dainty wading birds called jacanas lightly walking on lily pads while elusive crocodiles bask in the morning sunlight.

At the entrance to the New River Lagoon, the ruins of Lamanai (Mayan for submerged crocodile) rise into view. Once at the site you'll tour the small museum which features many ancient relics found at Lamanai.

You'll then embark on a 1.5-mile (2.5km) jungle hike to visit the Temple of the Mask, one of the tallest Mayan pyramids; the stucco mask of the Sun God "Kinich Ahau"; an elaborate carved stellae; and the Temple of the Jaguar Masks. These impressive sites appear to materialize out of the rainforest amid the chatter of birds and the haunting call of the howler monkeys.

Your guide will point out the copal and ramon trees, which were of great importance in ancient times. For the jungle hike you will need insect repellent and sturdy walking shoes.

At the end of the tour you'll have lunch under thatched palapas near the lagoon's edge. After lunch, free time is available for more sightseeing in the rainforest.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

Our guide,Vel, was fun, knowlegeable, and interesting. He informed us about wildlife as well as Mayan culture and history. The river cruise was very pleasant, and the bus transportation and boat were both comfortable. We would do it again!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

This was absolutely amazing!! It was by far one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Every bit of it was incredible, from the boat trip over, the animals we saw (a monkey took a banana from me!), the tour itself, and those amazing buildings. Andy and I will always remember that view from the top of the temple for the rest of our lives. Our guide, Val, knew so much about the Maya and he was so entertaining and kind. We have recommended this experience to everyone who is talking about visiting Belize. WELL WORTH it!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

Great tour! Lot's to see and learn!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

We were the only ones at the site on a friday morning. It was a beautiful boat ride and fascinating ruins.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2014

An excellent tour! Had a great guide, learned a lot, and got to climb two of the ruins. Even heard a howler monkey in the trees at lamanai. During the river safari portion on the way to the site, saw a crocodile and many birds, and got to feed a spider monkey. One of my best days in Belize for sure!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2014

We absolutely loved our Lamanai tour. Our guide, Vel, was enthusiastic, pleasant and proud to show us what his country had to offer. He took time to show us wildlife along the boat ride and educated us about the locals that lived in the area. The trail to the ruins was easy and accommodating to ALL types of individuals. The howler monkeys made it a little more entertaining along the way. Once at the ruins, you are free to roam around and climb them if you choose. The view at the top were absolutely breathtaking.
We would have preferred to have more time to explore the ruin and, at times, we felt rushed. Other than that, everything was great!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

Very nice tour on the river and amazing Maya "town" in the jungle. Very friendly guide "Lev" but maybe somewhat overambitious trying to convince us how great the Mayans were. Trying to explain math to some in the group with higher education in math. But they gave up and let him go on, especially on "infinity". Some medicine facts were also false like that we get C vitamins from the sun... Other than that it was a fantastic tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2014

Great tour, interesting country! Thank you!!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2013

Excellent trip, good combination of nature and culture, nice, good english speaking guide

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2013

It was great. Our guide Vel was funny, knowledgable and has a great eye for spotting crocodiles on the river banks. The riverboat ride and the ruins were beautiful- I highly recommend this.

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Tour code: 4110DEB3


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