Altun Ha and Northern River Tour
Archeologists uncovered one of the largest carved jades of the Mayan world in the ruins of Altun Ha, an important trading center more than 2,000 years ago. Today the ancient plazas and ceremonial grounds are covered in green grass and create a park-like feeling as you marvel at the thirteen temples rising overhead. You may climb to the tops of these pyramids and experience the energy of the past while looking out over the jungle canopy at eye level.
The trip to Altun Ha begins with a Northern River Tour. After a short boat ride from Caye Caulker to the mainland, you’ll enter the mouth of the Northern River where you’ll cruise slowly (about 45 minutes) as your guide points out the native flora such as orchids and huge Mahogany and Mango trees, and the fauna such as insect bats, birds, and possibly crocodiles. When you arrive at the small river village of Bomba, you’ll have a few minutes to view local crafts, and then board a private school bus that will take you half an hour through the Belize jungle to the Altun Ha ruins.
You’ll spend 1.5 hours at the ruins, accompanied by your guide, and then head to Maruba Resort for a relaxed lunch, and a swim in the pool, if you like. If you choose, you may indulge in a massage at the resort. You will see howler monkeys (and if you’re lucky, will hear their unearthly vocal chords), and a Spider Monkey which lives around the resort. After lunch, you will return to Caye Caulker.
The trip includes water, fruit, transportation, and entrance fee. You will buy your own lunch at Maruba. Depart at 8AM; return at 4PM.
Lamanai and New River Tour
Traveling to Lamanai, one of the most popular Mayan ruins in Belize, is a bit further than to Altun Ha, but the wildlife of the journey makes up for the trip.
Lamanai (which means submerged crocodile) was occupied from 1500 B.C – 1675 A.D, one of the longest Mayan- settlement occupation periods. Focal points of Lamanai include one of the largest Preclassic Mayan structures – the 108- foot-tall El Castillo pyramid; a well-preserved mask of a Maya ruler emerging from a crocodile headdress; and one of Belize’s largest ceremonial centers. You may climb to the tops of various pyramids and see panoramic views of the surrounding jungle, inhabited by Howler monkeys and many species of birds.
You’ll leave at 6AM, and travel to Bomba (as described in the Altun Ha trip, but without slowing along the river) where you’ll have a local Belizean breakfast of Johnny Cakes (biscuits) with ham and cheese and fresh juice. Then, you’ll take a private school bus to nearby Orange Walk, where you’ll board a boat on the New River. The wildlife on this river is plentiful. It is almost a sure thing to see crocodiles, howler monkeys (you’ll never forget their amazing howls), insect bats, and countless bird species. From the New River Lagoon, you’ll emerge into Lamanai, just as the Maya did centuries ago. You’ll spend 1.5 hours at the ruins, accompanied by your guide, and then eat a traditional Belizean lunch (chicken, rice and beans, and side dishes) under a large palapa. You’ll return to Caye Caulker at 5PM.
The trip includes breakfast, lunch, water, fruit, transportation, and entrance fee.