Belize City Lamanai Mayan Ruins Excursion Reviews
Personal Private tour by superior tour guide (David is incoming president of national tour guide association). Just about perfect. Respectable pricing anytime but exceptional for private tour.
Fantastic. What a great excursion. Excellent guides. It starts with a boat ride to the ruins, than the visit and climing of the the mayan temple.
Of all the cruises we have taken this is one of the top excursions we have enjoyed.
The highlight of the cruise.
King David of AlTournative tours was amazing. Enjoyed the hour long ride in a new a/c 6 passenger van, then hour long boat ride, the Lamanai ruins are in a gorgeous jungle park like setting (see my review on Trip Advisor). (take a poncho for you and bag for camera...it is the rain forest and if it rains you will get wet). After the boat ride back, we had a wonderful home cooked Belizean lunch of rice, chicken, platains, soda and beer. Long walk from ship to shore, but tip-only transport available.
Wonderful Adventure right out of an Indiana Jones Movie! This is a long day (8 hours) that is full of climbing on and off various types of transportation and an exhilarating, fast open air boat ride through the Rain Forest. Leaving the cruise ship is an adventure in itself as there is no Dock and all activities require that you "tender" into the port of Belize City. Once in Belize City, you are quickly placed on a Bus for a 1 hour ride through Belize City itself and onto the North Highway. Very interesting look at daily life as you gaze out of the bus window. Once at the "Old Belize River Landing" you disembark and load onto the open air boats that whisk you through the Rain Forest at break-neck speed for a 1 hr 15 min. ride to the Ruins. The tour at the ruins is fast-paced over uneven walkways/tree roots/stone outcroppings and some loose pebble/gravel walkways. This tour is not for those that are not sure-footed and need assistance walking at a brisk pace. After a quick visit it is back to the river for a shorter (45 minute) speed boat ride back to the base camp at the Landing where a Chicken/Rice/Bean lunch is served for approximately 30 minutes. After your meal is complete, the bus ride back to Belize City is even more interesting because you see the locals awake and the school children returning from a day of lessons. The town itself is bustling when you return just in time to run through a few souvenir stalls and then "tender" back to the cruise ship. All in all this was the absolute best adventure that we took on this cruise and is highly recommended to everyone. Remember to pack water bottles and insect repellent as none of this available at the Ruins site. The insects are large and bite so come prepared!
My husband and I decided to do this excursion because I have always wanted to see Mayan ruins. I was also excited to do the river safari and see some wildlife. The day started with an hour long bus ride to the New River. Our tour guide was good at making the time go by quickly by telling us all about Belize. When we arrived at the river, we were allowed a 10 minute break to use the facilities and apply bug spray if needed. We then got in the boat and started looking for wildlife. After finding a monkey, we started on our journey to Lamanai. Royal Caribbean’s excursion page explains the river tour: “Enjoy a splendid 90-minute riverboat cruise encountering exotic wildlife, mangroves and orchids along the way.” The boat ride is an hour each way, and while the boat slows to look at a few animals on route to Lamanai, you’re going top speed for 90% of it. On the way back, we didn’t stop once. So, I think calling it a ‘safari’ is a bit of a misnomer. You will encounter exotic wildlife, but not too much. Although the description of the excursion explains that it’s a 7hour tour, it really is a long day. The ruins are only about 1 hour of the day, but the tour guides are fantastic and getting to climb the ancient temples is amazing! The way back is two hours of silence as the drivers (boat and bus) drive as fast as they can to get you back to the ship. One exceptional highlight is the Belizean lunch served before the bus ride back to port. It was so delicious! All in all, it was a good trip with great tour guides. Just be prepared for a very long day.
Our tour of the Lamanai Ruins was very good, but the other aspects of this tour cause me to give the excursion an average rating. I would not have chosen to do this tour as a ship's excursion but for the fact that Belize is a tender port and we were only in port until 4:30 pm. With so little time on shore, we would have risked missing the boat had we done this tour with a private company. The tour included 1 hour on a bus to the boat which would take us to Lamanai. Then there was a 45-minute ride on the boat. The tour of Lamanai lasted about 90 minutes and we visited the 3 main temples and were able to climb the High Temple. After our tour of the ruins, we again did the 45-minute boat ride and the 1 hour bus ride. Added to this time were several overly long stops for bathroom breaks and just waiting around for the guides. The lunch that was served was small in size and not good. The meal consisted of two small pieces of chicken (you were explicitly told not to take more than 2 pieces), rice and coleslaw. Dessert, if you wanted it, was a couple small pieces of cooked plantains. This is probably the worst meal I've ever had on an excursion.
We were lucky to have the fabulous Lion (Leon?) brothers as our tour guides, among the best we've ever had (& we travel extensively). Their knowledge about and enthusiastic love of their country was infectious & made us want to return again to get to know the country better. Amazing ruins, but that's only part of the excursion. Other reviewers have complained about the long bus ride & long boat ride, but the Lions kept us entertained with information about what we we'd see - including amazing wildlife that they were on the lookout for (crocodiles, howler monkeys, amazing birds, etc.). A terrific tour, well worth it!
Do not buy they shore excursions from the cruise line. They charged about $130 and we only payed $40 once we were at port. We learned alot about the city and culture and even got to climb to the top of a Mayan Ruin. Not sure of the operating company but the tour guide, Jungle Joe, was fantastic!
We were late getting going because it was stormy and the seas were rough. It took about 2 hours to get the ship situated to get the tenders out. After a rough ride in the tender we got to shore and got on our busses. After an hour drive, we got on speed boats to take us up the New River to Lamanai. It was a wonderful place and I'd like to go back. Because we were so late starting, we didn't have time to see much and walked quickly thru everything. I wish there were guides there to tell us what we were seeing and time to explore more. Because of the time problems, we were really rushed - no one's fault - just the situation of the day.
As the Belize port is tendered, I’m very happy I had purchased Faster To The Fun. I reserved with outside of Carnival with 20% down through Belize Cruise Excursions through X-Stream Tours/Island Marketing to visit the Lamanai Ruins in the jungles of Belize. The Belize City port is run down and filled with lots of touristy shops. The tour operator had emailed me specific instructions on how to walk through the port to find them. We did quite effortlessly, paid the remaining 80% cash at $60 per person for the tour and waited about 30 minutes for the tour to start. This excursion began with a 1 hour van ride through Belize outside of the city to a location on the inner Belize river. Lead by Wintworth, we were in good hands. He talked a lot about the city and the country and was a fantastic guide. The van ride got a bit boring, but we finally made it to the landing where there were bathrooms and a light lunch of Belizean cuisine: a spicy chicken dish with rice beans, plantains salad and fruit. Refreshment consisted of sodas sweetened with the cane sugar native to Belize.
Then the 8 of us plus the Wintworth and the boat captain took the speedboat up the river. This part of the tour was completely out of Heart of Darkness or the Mosquito Coast. We zipped by mile after mile of indistinguishable jungle up paths I wondered how the captain knew so well. Unfortunately, we saw no fauna along the route. Eventually the river opened up into a very wide area where we saw other boats coming from other ships to dock.
The Lamanai Mayan ruins were spectacular. Wintworth guided us through three pyramids, including the tallest at 110 feet which we got to scale ourselves for an incredible view of the land. The other two, a Jaguar temple and a Mask Temple were also very cool! Just past the tall pyramid I saw a ball court which I wanted to visit. Trekking over there I stepped into a patch of quicksand where my feet disappeared really fast. I pulled out quick and had legs of mud for the rest of the journey. Our timing in Belize had to have us back to the lines for the boat by 3:15. With the boat ride back and the necessary van ride, we were going to be cutting it close.
Wintworth was a star and cut through the slow, dense traffic of Belize City like a champ. He even made sure to drop us off at Terminal 1, where he said security was very lax. We made it in time to get in a long queue back to the tenders. Time enough for a Belikin. At $1 a piece on the pier, they were a steal!