Billy Barquedier National Park is a spectacular hilly terrain, covering 1,639 acres of preserved Belize tropical evergreen forest, sitting on Santa Rosa metasedimentary rocks and featuring a gorgeous waterfall. Located between two watersheds, Mullins River watershed (north) and Stann Creek watershed (south), this pristine jungle is also situated near the Manatee Forest Reserve, part of the foothills of the Maya Mountain Massif.
If you’re traveling down the Hummingbird Highway, stop at Mile 17 at the “Billy Barquedier National Park” sign.
Once you arrive at the site, be ready for a 15-20 minutes moderate hiking trail to the freshwater Barquedier waterfall. After that short hike, take a swim, it’s worth it!
The area that would later become Billy Barquedier National Park was named in the early 1960s, as the Billy Barquedier creek runs through it. The creek is so named in part for a nearby barquedier (also spelled barquadier or barcadere), a structure similar to a pier. The origin of the name “Billy,” is unknown.
Attempts to conserve the area began in 1994, when the park became the main source of potable water for the communities of Steadfast, Alta Vista, and Valley Community, and Steadfast Tourism And Conservation Association NGO (STACA) was established with the goal of protecting the watershed and its wildlife. In April 2001, STACA was included in chapter 206 of the laws of Belize and in December of that year, the forest was declared a national park. STACA was later, in 2003, declared a non-governmental organization (NGO). The organization has taken responsibility for the maintenance of the park since its founding, advocating for the growth and protection of the park, as well as for the rights and interests of the communities that rely on it.
One of the waterfalls that forms part of the watershed and is within the protected area is used for tourism. The upper part of this zone supplies the communities of Steadfast, Alta Vista and Valley Community Stann Creek District with drinking water.
The existing ecosystems in the BBNP shelter populations of vulnerable species such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), tapir (Tapirus bairdii), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and howler monkey (Alouatta pigra) (Miller and Miller, 1994, Walker and Walker, 2011). The watershed is habitat for migratory birds and other endemics such as the Keel Billed mot-mot (Electron carinatum) and cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea) (Burke et al., 2009, Walker and Walker, 2011).
The Billy Barquedier National Park entrances are easily accessible from the Hummingbird Highway between miles 19 and 16.5. A short trip to the Billy Barquedier National Park falls begins at mile 17. The office and resource center is located at 16.5 miles Stann Creek valley Road, Steadfast Village, Stann Creek District, Belize.