Last week I took the family on a cruise ship to visit the Western Caribbean nations of Mexico, Honduras and Belize. We booked excursions and was really looking forward to visiting the Mayan ruins of Lamanai in Belize.
Always wanted to see Mayan ruins. This is how the excursion was pitched:
Your adventure will begin when you hop aboard a comfortable air-conditioned bus for a one hour drive through the scenic Belize River Valley. You will pass through the historic villages, which were the original settlements of the colony of British Honduras; all of which form the Belize River Valley, on the way to Ayinha Eco Park. You will then board a riverboat for a 30 minute cruise of the New River Lagoon, with its spectacular rainforest teeming with exotic birds, deer and iguanas, mangroves and orchids. Experience the thrill of gliding along the sparkling New River Lagoon, while viewing the spectacular rain forest. This includes exotic animals and birds en route to Lamanai (from Lama’anayin, “submerged crocodile” in Yucatec Maya), once the largest Mayan ceremonial site in Meso-America and occupied as early as 1500 B.C.
But this is how the excursion REALLY went:
This excursion did not match the description at all and was a complete waste of time and money. The “comfortable air-conditioned bus for a one hour drive through the scenic Belize River Valley” was actually an old school bus with dirty windows so that you could not clearly see or take pictures of any of the scenery. The supposed “River Boat Safari” was actually a speed boat ride in the middle of a wide river where all you saw were the walls of water on each of the boat as it sped up the river and no chance to view any of the plant life or wild life as described. Everything was also rushed and we were unable to purchase water before heading to the ruins site as we had been told we would be able to.
The bus ride through Belize City was bumpy and showed all of the poverty that this neo-socialist Banana Republic had to offer. And it was closer to a 90 minute ride, and not the hour that was touted. That’s 90 minutes each way. The boat ride was a 50-person speed boat that began in a drainage ditch before opening up in a wide swampy river. No jungle cruise, that’s for sure.
But all of that may have been tolerable if the destination was actually worth visiting. You see, those Mayan temples are heavily reconstructed with simple poured concrete. Not even painted to make it look ancient. The mask temple on the site have two glaring fake masks on the front. And we were told that the Mayans would sacrifice the winning team of the ball court competition which made me laugh out loud. If I were a competitor of that ball court, my team would be a perfect 0 and 82. Stupid. When I asked why there were no ongoing excavations, the tour guide told me that they are waiting on new funds from richer countries to do anything else. Despite having socialized education I guess they aren’t training anyone to be archaeologists. Belize is ugly and full of lazy sad people. You can BELIZE that!