Our next stop, Belize City, was the only one where we had to take a tender to get to the shore, because of the large barrier reef here. And it was a very long tender - you can barely see the city in the picture.
I can't pass a lighthouse without taking a picture...
Once again, I made arrangements to go on a shore excursion booking directly with the company instead of going through the ship, for about half what the ship charges. Three of us are going to the Mayan ruins of Lamanai. It's quite a journey - 1 hour in a van, and then 45-minutes on a high-speed boat down the New River. I really enjoyed it because we got to see a lot of the countryside.
We got a glimpse of some of the local wildlife - a big iguana that we saw on our van ride -
And a little baby crocodile when we first got on the boat.
From there on it was high speed only!
Here's a short video to show just how fast we were going.
Lamanai is located on the New River Lagoon and was excavated just 30 years ago. Three major temples have been uncovered, and more are waiting to be found. "Lamanai" is the Mayan term for "submerged crocodile."
Because of Julian's excellent high speed driving, we got there before the crowds from the cruise ship tour. Our first stop was the Jaguar Temple -
So named because of the jaguar heads that adorn each of the front corners.
This is the bedroom - doesn't look too comfy...
From there we headed over to the High Temple. You used to be able to climb up the front using a rope, but it was causing too much damage, so now they have built modern stairs in the back.
I went part way up to get a closer view of the eroded faces.
Our last stop was the Mask Temple, which features 13-foot tall masks of an ancient Mayan king.
These masks have been reconstructed, because they were too decayed.
Here's a short video of Julian trying to explain the Ball Court, while we were distracted by the roaring of the Howler Monkeys.
He finally gave up and took us to see them.
We then got back in the boat and zipped back to our lunch spot. This Spider Monkey was waiting for us - I think he's used to getting treats.
Phil was happy to oblige.
We got a very nice buffet lunch. They tried to tell us that was iguana meat, but it was really chicken. The fried plantain was the best!
And then back to Belize City on the van. We made it to the tender in plenty of time.
Tonight our towel sculpture was a little easier to recognize.