At Orange Walk, in Belize, we stayed at the Orchid Palm Inn, a lovely inn filled with – you’ll never guess – orchid plants. Reasonable rates and very nice rooms: Orchid Palm Inn.
The owners of the Orchid Palm told us about the Lamanai Jungle River Boat, so the next morning, we drove to the Lamanai River and waited for the boat.
Within a short time, we were gliding down the New River in our little boat.
Our knowledgeable Guide educated us about all the animals and birds along the river.
Noisy and playful Howler Monkeys were swinging from tree to tree. Can you spot them?
Suddenly people started screaming. There was a great commotion as a spider monkey jumped right into our boat!
Everyone on the boat reacted with complete shock and surprise, and our Guide didn’t look any too pleased either. The monkey rushed to the front of the boat to inspect the engine.
Then he stole a banana from the Captain’s lunch bag!
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?!”
“You have to share, you know!”
Then, quick as a wink, the monkey sprung down to the bottom of the boat between all of our legs. The girls squealed; the men laughed nervously.
It felt weird as his back and his fur coat pushed up against the front of my legs! I was never this close to a tame monkey, let alone a wild monkey, and probably never would be again.
Some of the people (there were six of us – plus the Captain and the Monkey) were genuinely frightened and did not want him near them. This girl didn’t mind him too much as long as he stayed his distance.
Having discovered a close relative, Mr. M, the monkey, rested his hands affectionately on T’s knees.
“Good to see you again Buddy.”
Then he sat comfortably down on the floor of the boat, modestly covering his privates (which he had failed to do previously).
This guy didn’t sit still for long. As if he forgot to make an announcement, he jumped up to the front of the boat, raising one foot casually up to rest on the board beside the Captain, and made a series of sounds which I interpreted as,
“Ladies and Gentleman, I will be your new Captain!”
Then down he bounced again to examine his crew more closely.
“Care to join me in a little mid-day exercise?”
“This is very good for improving your balance. You should try it!”
“Ooops, I slipped a little there… No, no, I’m fine. My dexterity is excellent.”
“Alright Captain, carry on. Time for me to go ashore! Move in a little closer now.”
“Closer. That’s better. Adios!”
And as quick as a lightning flash, he was gone! Some seemed relieved, perhaps afraid that wild monkeys might carry diseases, but we were sad to see him go.
Flushed with the excitement of our monkey visitor from the wild jungle of Belize, we continued down the river.
Then we came to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins.
T was about to jump into the river to cool down…
So he backed away and up into the jungle to discover the Lamanai Mayan Ruins.
What surprised us most was Canada’s involvement in excavating the Lamanai Ruins. The Royal Ontario Museum invested considerable time and money in conjunction with the Belize government to study and restore these Mayan Ruins.
Be sure to visit the famous Jaguar Temple, Mask Temple and Rain God Temple (High Temple), and enjoy the panoramic view as you climb 112 feet to the top of the Rain God Temple.
Walking through the ruins was good exercise and after a delicious Belizean lunch we were all a little sleepy.
T caught me dozing in the boat lunch.
It was on a calm river, peacefully gliding back, where we saw various types of boats, some a little strange, and with some passengers boasting of their catch.
T was glad he didn’t take that swim after we saw the “hidden crocodile” of Lamanai.
There was one little surprise left before we got back to the dock. A huge iguana with the armour of a warrior was sunning himself on a tree branch.
For $60 per person including refreshments before leaving, entrance to the Lamanai Mayan Ruins, Guide Fees and a delicious Belizean lunch, we found The Lamanai River Boat tour well worth the price: Lamanai Jungle River Boat.