Deep in the jungle was a 10 square mile ancient city covered in vines and hidden by the massive trees of the jungle. For several hundred years, the city served as a trade post for Mayans in the area and had an estimated 700 buildings. After 12 years of excavating, archeologists have uncovered only 5 of those buildings.

The site is called Lamanai, just off of the Old River.

Last summer, we visited the ruins at Tulum in Mexico. Although the buildings were fairly similar, I enjoyed Lamanai much more because they were still in the heart of the jungle. It was as if you were out on a hike and happened upon the High Temple:

This was supposedly the equivalent of a 10 story building – a very steep 10 story building – and we were allowed to climb it. As the guide said, going up was physical and coming down was psychological (Although, it was neither physically nor psychologically taxing for Russell. He ran up and and down it like he was Rocky. All of us who were struggling up and down were not amused with him.).

But, the view was definitely worth the trip up; we could see for miles in every direction.

The ruins at Lamanai were pretty ornate, rather than just brick pyramids. Since it was a huge trading post, the inhabitants had items and influence from throughout the region. Jade, tools, and weapons that originated from far away have all been found at Lamanai.

Each of the five sites were really interesting to see and learn about – and who knows what else lies under all of the jungle vines and growth that have taken over the other 695 buildings!

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