Mask Temple at LamanaiWhen we first visited Belize in 2010, one of the things we chose to skip was a tour of the Lamanai Mayan Archaeological Site. This time it was high on my list of must sees.

Lamanai is unique among Mayan sites for two main reasons:

1) Lamanai was continuously inhabited from 1500BC through 1800AD – that is a seriously long time and means that it continued to be inhabited several hundred years after many other Mayan sites in the region had been abandoned. Because Lamanai was built on a river the people there were able to avoid drought-related food and water crises that plagued other cities.  Just to emphasize the longevity of this civilization, 1500BC to 1800AD is over 3000 years!! The fact that I would round this number to 3000 says something as I’d be rounding off more time than the US has been country.

Here’s the view from the top of the High Temple, I thought it was pretty impressive.

2) You get there by a 25-mile boat trip, which seemed like much more fun than a bus or rented car, and to ice the cake there were animal to be seen along the way.

While I did not see any crocodiles, like I was hoping, but watching this little guy eat a banana more than made up for it.