Lamanai, meaning “submerged crocodile” in the Maya language, is home to the second largest Pre-classic Maya structure, and possibly the most interesting archaeological site in Belize. The Lamanai temple complex sits atop the western bluff of the New River Lagoon and is surrounded by pristine rainforest teeming with black howler monkeys.
Lamanai was once a major city of the Maya civilization, located in the north of Belize, in Orange Walk District. The site’s name is pre-Columbian, recorded by early Spanish missionaries, and documented over a millennium earlier in Maya inscriptions as Lam’an’ain. During the Spanish conquest of Yucatán Spanish friars established two Roman Catholic churches here, but a Maya revolt drove the Spanish out. The site was subsequently incorporated by the British in British Honduras, passing with that colony’s independence to Belize. Also, the British had settled in Lamanai and built a sugar mil.
Lamanai was continuously occupied for over 3,000 years and its remoteness contributed to its continuous occupation, beginning in the Early pre-classic Maya period and continuing through the Spanish and British Colonial periods, into the 20th century, well beyond most other Maya sites. Set in a tropical forest and providing spectacular views from several of its large temples, Lamanai provides a unique experience into the culture of the Maya and the biological diversity of the tropical rainforest. A scenic and thrilling 26-mile boat ride up the New River is the easiest way to Lamanai although the site is also accessible by road.
Entrance Fee: $5.00 US
Other websites with information about Lamanai Archaeological Site.