Friday we did a day trip to the amazing Mayan ruins at Lamanai. This began with a three hour drive to the town of Orange Walk over some pretty rough roads, as well as some quite good ones, to the New River, where we boarded a small outboard motorboat with another tourist couple and Carlos, our driver and guide. He took us 25 miles down the river, pointing out wildlife and birds along the way.
This spider monkey is a regular stop, and here he is eating his lunch, a banana provided by one of the other tour boats..
One of the cool birds we were shown was Boat-Billed Heron, which is rare and hard to find, as they’re nocturnal, and stay in well-hidden roosts during the day. We saw five of them.
A Wood Stork, another cool bird. We saw many more, including a dramatic flight of aobut 50 parrots.
After our boat trip we landed at Lamanai, a very large Mayan site, occupied for about 3,000 years, but abandoned after the Spanish arrived in the area. Only about two percent of the site has been excavated and is open for tours, the rest is still buried by jungle. This is the Mask temple, with two large faces flanking the central stairs.
These huge heads and wonderful carvings are the most impressive artwork we saw at the site.
Here we are with the other mask.
The High Temple is even more impressive in size, reaching 120 feet in height. You can climb the central stair, though it’s very steep. The other couple did it.
Here they are going up. We only made it to the place the man in the yellow shirt is standing.
I found this section of stonework, moss and ferns interesting.
The Jaguar Temple is the third large one we saw, as well as several other structures, all very impressive and interesting.
This carving is meant to be a very stylized Jaguar head, though I can’t really see it myself. I like it all the same.
Another very long drive with our driver and guide from Chan Chich, Luis was enlivened by more good birds, including this Fork-tailed Flycatcher. A great day, though we were exhausted.
More next time.