Caye Caulker & Lamanai Mayan Ruins, Belize (Day 2)

On our second full day in Belize, we caught the ferry back to Belize City to join a tour we’d signed up for online through a company called Tsunami Adventures, “Lamanai Mayan Ruins and Jungle River Cruise.”  When we arrived on the mainland, we found our small tour group and loaded into a van to drive a couple of hours to Tower Hill bridge and begin our cruise along New River to the Lamanai Mayan ruins.

When we arrived at the dock for the river cruise, I took this picture to remind myself to mention something that was different about Belize.  When using the restroom… you had to put your toilet paper in the trash can!

It was interesting to see the different sights along the river including termite nests, snake cactus growing on trees, bats and a Mennonite community.

Termite mound on a tree
tranquil view
Greenish yellow Snake Cactus growing on a tree

It’s hard to see in this picture, but the darker spots on the tree trunk below are bats.  Our tour guide hit the tree and several flew away.

Bats on a tree trunk
Mennonite community

When we arrived at the Lamanai Mayan Ruins, we deboarded the boat and followed our guide up to the first temple, Temple of the Jaguar.  On the way to the temple, he showed us a rubber tree.

Rubber Tree
A strip of rubber taken straight from the tree
Temple of the Jaguar
Martin and me with the Temple of the Jaguar behind us

From there, we saw an ancient athletic field and then continued on to High Temple, and climbed to the top to see a view of the jungle below.  Whew!  The hike to the top felt fine at first, walking up a few flights of a modern staircase, but quickly we found ourselves having to scale ancient stones without anything to guard from a falls.. thankfully we made it to the top OK!

High Temple
On top of High Temple

After High Temple, we saw Mask Temple and took a picture with the 13-foot mask carved in the front of the temple.  The mask shows a man in a crocodile headdress and dates back to about AD 400.

Martin and me at Mask Temple with a 13′ mask carving
Sitting on the steps of Mask Temple

 After seeing Mask Temple, we made our way back to where we had entered the park to have the lunch that our tour guide had prepared for us.  Back in the park, we saw Spider Monkeys in the trees!  It reminded me of when I saw monkeys in the wild in Morocco.

The walk back through the jungle
Spider Monkey in a tree
River cuise back

That evening once we were back in Caye Caulker, I wanted to do something water-related and since there wasn’t really a beach, we rented a couple of kayaks.  We didn’t have much daylight left, but we paddled over to where the island splits in half and were able to see the pretty sunset.

Two women paddle boarding in the distance
A dock in Caye Calker
View of The Lazy Lizard
Me in my kayak in the distance
Tour Description: “Explore the ancient hidden ruins of Lamanai. Departing Caye Caulker early on the water taxi. Our guide meets us and brings us to Tower hill bridge, where we will start our journey down river to Lamanai, passing dense jungle vegetation and a Mennonite community. Located in the east-central part of the Orange Walk District. Focal points are a well-preserved mask of a Maya ruler emerging from a crocodile headdress. El Castillo rising 108 feet, is one of the largest pre-classic structures in the Maya area. This site was continuously occupied from 1500BC – AD1675. A variety of birds, crocodiles, howler and spider monkeys will greet you. Your guide is fully knowledgeable of the Flora, Fauna and Mayan History. A two hour guided walking tour of Lamanai visiting 4 main temples. Your guide also points out medicinal plants of the jungle. A delicious home cooked Belizean meal and local souvenir stands to enjoy. See ancient artifacts in the Lamanai Museum on site, entrance included. We journey back through the mazes of river to Tower Hill Bridge, where our guide is waiting to bring us back to the marine terminal.”