As mentioned in a previous post, Caracol and Lamanai are the two most important political centers in Maya Belize. Unfortunately, Caracol was closed during our trip because there was a shooting there killing a police officer only a couple of weeks before our arrival. With Caracol closed, we decided to go to Lamanai even though it is much farther away and the weather was very rainy.
Lamanai which translates to “Submerged Crocodile”, was once a considerably sized city surrounded by dense rainforest on the banks of the New River. It is one of the biggest and best excavated Maya sites in northern Belize. We had to cruise along the New River for about an hour before arriving at the archaeological site. The boat ride is supposed to be an opportunity to observe the river’s colorful birdlife, as well as crocs, and monkeys etc. But it was torrential downpour for us most of the way in a speedboat with no shelter. We had to hide under some old tarp which was not too much help. We arrived Lamanai completely soaked and it basically continued to rain nonstop the rest of the day.
The sky darkening as we cruise along the New River towards Lamanai.
Beautiful palms along the New River.
The pier at the Lamanai archaeological site.
Our guide found a grasshopper disguised as a leaf.
The grasshopper is completely camouflaged.
The Jaguar Temple with the jaguar head adorning the front.
Normally visitors can climb up the High Temple, but look at the rain coming down the stairs like a waterfall.
Temple of the Masks is the smallest of the 3 excavated pre-Colombian temples.
Temple of the Masks with two identical mask carvings at the base of the temple reflects the tradition of symmetry in Mayan architecture.
It was raining so heavily that it was hard to trek through the mud and it was too slippery to climb up any of the temples. We had a nice picnic lunch (under a roof) and decided to call it a day.