Lamanai can be reached by road or by river from Orange Walk. This would be a whole-day tour starting at 6 a.m. and returning at approximately 5 p.m.
Lamanai is the Maya word for “submerged crocodile” The site’s name – “Lamanay” or “Lamayna” was recorded by Franciscan missionaries in the seventeenth century. It is one of the only sites retaining its original name and is among one of Belize’s largest ceremonial Centre. The name Lamanai helps to explain the numerous crocodile motifs at the site. Crocodile effigies appear on figurines, vessel decorations, and on a large headdress on a limestone mask at one of the principal structures at the site.
Lamanai is located on the banks of the New River Lagoon and the most spectacular way to travel to the site is by means of water taxi up the river. The trip by river is also a nature-lover’s heaven for numerous species of water birds live along this rich and diverse waterway. You may even be lucky enough to view iguanas and crocodiles as they sun themselves on the river banks. There are also interesting flora and fauna to be seen at the Lamanai reserve.
Another way to reach Lamanai is via an all-weather dirt road (approximately 28 miles) which runs from Orange Walk through several villages including San Felipe and Shipyard. The site is located in the village of Indian Church.
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