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Central America Adventure Peace be the Journey

Orange Walk, Belize, LAMANAI ruins

BELIZE | Wednesday, 15 December 2010 | Views [716]

Wow! Belize! I could not believe how nice everyone was as soon as we crossed the border.  So surprising and, so far, so much cheaper than expected.  We had some interesting monetary issues crossing the border and exchanging money but with only $13US, we managed to make it to Orange Walk, an hour and a half south of the border and to an ATM that would actually work.  

We came to Orange Walk to visit Lamanai, the Mayan ruins found on the New River.  An hour and a half boat ride to the ruins left us awe inspired, as we saw dozens of species of birds (king fishers, heron, yellow ones, blue ones, green ones), baby crocodiles, turtles, spider monkeys that Lacey fed bananas to, and the ever scary sounding howler monkeys. All this before we even got to the ruins set deep in the jungle of Belize.  Lamanai is the most unique of all the Mayan civilizations.  It is the only Mayan city that was still occupied when the Spanish arrived and was still settled into the 17th century.  Lamanai also experienced more peace then the other war-faring states of its time and there is no evidence of human sacrifice.  The "High Temple" is one of three temples that you can see above the canopy of the jungle towering 33 meters high.  Lamanai was also where much of the Cocoa was grown, Cocoa was used to make chocolate the "drink of the gods" that the Maya elite cherished.  Lamanai was also the only civilization built on a river and therefore didn't have to depend on seasons for rain, they are said to have developed an irrigation system for farming used throughout the Mayan world 400 years before the rest of the Mayans learned to irrigate their farm land. 

It is easy to say that not only was this our favorite ruins but it was also one of the best highlights of our trip.  Jungle River Tours was our guide and I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in visiting Belize.

Tags: 17th century, belize, cocoa, crocodiles, lamanai, mayan, new river, orange walk, ruins, spider monkeys

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