Lamanai was once a major city of the Maya civilization, located in the north of Belize.
It is famous for its exceptionally long occupation spanning three millennia. Lamanai was not abandoned at the end of the 10th century AD. as were many other Maya cities.
We visited the ruins of Lamanai (a Maya word meaning “submerged crocodile”), named for the abundance of crocodiles that make the adjacent New River Lagoon their home. Nestled amid thick jungle vegetation alive with exotic birds and howler monkeys, Lamanai is accessible only by boat, and boasts the second-largest pre- Classic structure in the Maya world: its magnificent High Temple. The site also features the 13-foot Mask Temple, a stone temple mask of a Maya king. The Maya lived at Lamanai for more than 3,000 years, and the ruins here are some of the oldest in Belize, dating to 700 BC. Excavation of the site began in the 1970s, and thus far less than five percent of the structures here have been unearthed. Excavation of the ruins continues to this day.