Payne's Creek National Park
Payne's Creek National Park (PCNP), 36,780 acres of lush broadleaf forest, thick mangroves and wide stretches of pine savannah, forms a significant part of the one million acre, Ridge to Reef Corridor, dubbed the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor (MMMC). TIDE co-manages the Payne's Creek National Park with the Government of Belize Forestry Department and local communities.
The well known Punta Ycacos Lagoon which is located within the boundaries of the Park is an important fly-fishing area as well as breeding grounds for West Indian manatee. Though manatees are threatened with extinction globally, the species has made a comeback in southern Belize. Approximately 300 avian species live in PCNP, including 146 migratory birds, and many endangered species such as the yellow-headed parrot, jabiru stork, Muscovy duck and the Aplomado falcon.
Within the park boundaries, archeologists have uncovered four ancient Mayan sites, now submerged underwater in the Punta Ycacos lagoon. These sites were recently excavated and evidence shows that some sites date back to 1300 B.C. The area is said to have been used by the Mayans to manufacture an important food preserve.
PCNP can be accessed via the Port Honduras Marine Reserve. A boat ride will take approximately 1hour. The Payne's Creek National Park boasts some premier fly-fishing sites and is also perfect for bird-watching, kayaking and manatee sightings.