Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Lamanai Report

A reporter and photographer from the San Pedro Sun accompanied us on the Searious Adventure jungle river tour to the Lamanai ruins in Belize in February.  The writer does a much better job documenting the trip than I ever could, so here's the link to the article  describing our day!  

I was a little strung out on heavy decongestant doses the entire trip, so it's great having a recap to read!  Here are some more of my photos from the day.

In the Searious boat out on open water from Ambergris Caye to Belize City.  I think the crossing took about an hour and a half.

Our guides, Gustavo and Javier manning the boat as we head up the New River.  I was impressed at the depth of their knowledge. I guess I expected them to be skilled boat drivers, but they were also great guides!

Since childhood, I've been very picky about restrooms and known to jump into the ocean rather than use a nasty bano at the beach.  I quickly realized I was in clothes headed up a river with crocodiles, so being picky wasn't an option!  I drank copious amounts of water and took advantage of every bano provided at various points in the tour.  Fortunately, the light was very dim in this place and my sniffer wasn't working due to the bad cold. 

Mayans show us their catch along the 25 mile ride upriver.

Craig and I posing in front of the Temple of the Jaguar Masks.

Distinctive jaguar mask on the front of the temple.

The High Temple at Lamanai.  Lamanai, which means submerged crocodile in Mayan, was occupied as early as the 16th century BC and became a prominent Mayan city from the 4th century BC through the 1st century.  Lamanai was occupied up to the 17th century AD. Two Catholic churches were established here by Spanish friars, but the Mayans revolted and drove them out.

Mask Temple on the front.

Only the front side of the High Temple has been excavated.  The entire Lamanai site is largely unexcavated due to lack of funds and remains covered by earth and jungle.

Our Mayan guide Ignacio at the front of the boat as we head up the New River to Lamanai.

Our river boat waiting at the dock.

Craig took the Flip video to the top of the High Temple while I waited in the shade down below. I was a little disappointed because I remember what fun it was to climb El Castillo at Chichen Itza back in 2002, but I knew it was out of the question when I was sick, dehydrated, and not even carrying an inhaler. Next time!

One other thrill from the trip was hearing the howler monkeys at the Lamanai site.  When we first approached the jungle, I thought the roaring sound was a fake recording from one of the gift shops.  It reminded me of sound effects from a Spielberg movie.   Here's a video from YouTube with the distinctive sound.  They're harmless, but when you're at the back of the pack leaving the ruins in the jungle, that sound's pretty frightening!


drgeo said...

Wait ! You said you've been " ...known to jump into the ocean rather than use a nasty bano at the beach." Eeewww. Guess I will cancel my next trip to Playa Norte.

Craig was so nice to hire a journalist to report on your day because you were feeling poorly.

Life's a Beach! said...

drgeo, guess I should have referred to the Mayan banos, but Playa Norte's getting way too crowded anyway! I've also been known to jump in a lake, but not one with crocodiles! On the way back, the boat capitan actually stopped and let a 20-something in a bikini jump off the boat because she'd had too much Rum punch and couldn't wait. The reporter didn't identify himself until the boat dropped him off at the dock. Guess they didn't want anyone asking for autographs. (That's a joke.)

Allan Baxter said...

Have you watched the "Six Days, Seven Nights" water scene where the fish goes into her shorts and Harrison Ford offers to get it out?

I almost died laughing.

Life's a Beach! said...

Allan, we just watched that recently! LOL! Scenes from that movie were filmed on Kauai, so it's a favorite!

Jana said...

Very cool! I like your sepia treatment of some of your pics. I love stuff like that but haven't even been to Chichen Itza - it's impossible to get me off Isla once I'm there, plus it's usually too hot to even think about getting away from the water and going into the jungle when we're there!

Life's a Beach! said...

Jana, I was shocked at how hot it was inland. That's one of the reasons I didn't even attempt the climb. We went to Chichen Itza our first trip -- in May! OMG! It was over 100 degrees at noon when we climbed up on top of El Castillo. We hired a driver and car from Prisma for a private tour and Gabby had the car waiting at the entrance blasting A/C when we were ready to leave. We were going to spend 3 nights inland in late November, but I got a new tooth instead. Lucky me!