As you emerge from the epiphyte-encrusted foliage along the banks of the New River of the Orange Walk District, a tangle of water lilies greet your boat and the main tower of Lamanai salutes your sudden appearance.
The thousands of visitors who have navigated through the New River en route to the grand Mayan city of Lamanai over the past 3500 years have felt the same awe you will suddenly feel. Throughout human occupation of the area, the New River remained essential to commerce and trade while still maintaining the ecological integrity of the diverse wildlife along its banks. The archaeological site of Lamanai ("submerged crocodile") lies nestled in the forest just beyond the banks of this idyllic lagoon and the remnants of an abandoned logging industry lay hidden in the forest.
As Belize's largest lake, the New River Lagoon is an oasis in a maze of narrow rivers and waterways that cut through Belize. Jabiru storks, roseate spoonbills, great black hawks, social flycatchers, snail kites, blue crowned motmots, night herons, northern jacanas, squirrel cuckoos, cormorants, and several species of parrot fly high above the surrounding broadleaf rainforest.
Tour boat dock, Orange Walk
Reluctant bats seem to prefer the shadows of hollowed-out tree trunks. Along the banks, crocodiles, iguanas, and turtles lounge in the sun. To access this lagoon and river, visitors usually begin their journey in Orange Walk Town where boats, tour guides, or tour operators are available for rent or hire. Pack a lunch and bring your swimsuit; you won't be able to resist jumping into the clear waters of this oversized pool.
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