200 km away from Santiago de Cuba, located in the Guantanamo province, laid along Miel Bay, Baracoa is the first city of the Spanish colonization’s era.
The road that today connects Baracoa to the rest of the province called “Carretera de La Farola” is pride of the Cuban engineering.
This panoramic road built up to 600m above the sea level counts nine bridges hanging over steep cliffs. The view offered is definitely worth the trip. The cross that Columbus planted in this city (Cruz de la Parra) during one of his trips to Cuba is still conserved in the church of Baracoa. The city conserves a colonial style and is characterized by its cobble-stoned streets and one-story homes with tiled roof. The waterfront Malecón shows various forts built against pirate attacks as Matachin Fort or Sanguily (Today’s El Castillo hotel).
The culture of the city as well has a colonial taste: Creole dance and music The area surrounding the city is rich of everything the nature can offer: mountains (El Yunque -575m high), rain forest, Biosphere (Cuchillas del Toa reserve is a UNESCO heritage site), crystal clear rivers (Toa, Duaba, Miel, Yumurí), caverns with pictures on the wall left from aborigines (Patana, Potrerillo e Oscura) waterfalls (El Saltadero) and wonderful beaches (Playa Maguana and Playa Nibujón), banana and cocoa plantations. Baracoa is famous for its white chocolate. Whether you take an excursion on the rivers and the inland or decide to lay down on the beach, Baracoa is the perfect place for a “dive in the nature” and relax. The Municipal Museum exhibits archeological artifacts dating from the period before Columbus’ arrival as well as many photos, documents and materials related to Baracoa’s history.
Bounded to the north by the Atlantic, and in all other directions by rivers, mountains and forests, Baracoa is still largely isolated, which is one of its prime attractions. It has been called one of Cuba’s most charming travel destinations, thanks to the stunning diversity of local landmarks, like the distinctive flat-topped mountain El Yunque, and vibrant cultural scene, such as the annual street festival each April commemorating the beginning of Cuba’s War of Independence. Music lovers will appreciate Baracoa’s unique changüí music, which can be heard echoing through the streets of nearby villages Virginia and Yateras. Baracoa is also the home of the Tumba Francesa, a Creole dance inspired by the French minuet. Baracoa’s lush rainforests are home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, many of which are rare or endangered. The diversity of the landscape – semi-arid cactus, fertile mountain plantations and seaside paradise – makes travelling throughout the region as enjoyable as the destination itself. Memorable excursions include the UNESCO biosphere reserve Cuchillas del Toa (which contains Alejandro de Humboldt National Park) and the stunning 17-metre high Saltadero Waterfall.