The Lamanai Mayan Village
Trip Start Jan 16, 2006
26Trip End Feb 28, 2006
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We got into two rather small boats and motored 30 miles up a wide tree-lined river to the New River Lagoon, which is about 21 miles long, and Lamanai, another Mayan site. On the way our boat driver and guide, a young Mayan/Mestizo stopped periodically to point out birds, huge termite nests on trees, an iguana, and many other interesting points of interest, even a Jabaroo stork nest in a tree. The Jabaroo stork is the largest bird in the Americas, over 5 feet tall. We also saw a Mennonite colony on the banks of the river. There are about 8000 Mennonites in Belize and they are responsible for 50-80% of the agricultural production in the country
At Lamanai, we were given a typical Belizean lunch of chicken, rice and beans and potato salad. The chicken was delicious, cooked with a Mayan seasoning called anato.
Lamanai is the second oldest Mayan city, occupied for 3500 years, the longest occupation of any Mayan city. Only five percent of it has been uncovered. Our very knowledgeable guide, Ron, pointed out trees and flowers of interest, and gave us many interesting facts about the Mayan ruins. We had been wondering throughout our trip where the palm fronds come from to make the many thatched roofs that we'd seen along the way. Ron showed us the Kahune palm, which has fronds 20-30 feet long. These are used for hats, roofs, and many other items, and the hearts are good to eat.
The ride back to the boat dock was much faster as we didn't stop, and much warmer too.
We stopped at a shop, which sold various touristy items and a grocery/hardware store. Many of our party purchased rum, which is made in Belize. Getting through customs this time was a little different. We were held up because the officials wanted to collect a $30 fee. Supposedly our fees had been paid with our tour fee. So we had to call Henry, the tour director, and he settled it. He said it had been a trying day at customs because a large RV caravan had come through and they were held up most of the day while the officials searched each RV. We saw them just getting into their RV park as we were getting close to the border. They had been at the same park as we were the night before.
We got home about 6:30 and Doug and I went to a little restaurant, Villamar, to have dinner. Two other couples joined us as we were eating. It was a very long day, but one we are glad we did. We may never have another opportunity to go to Belize.