Baracoa Tourist Information and Tourism

(Baracoa, Guantánamo, Cuba)

The small city of Baracoa lies at the farthest south-east tip of the island of Cuba, remote, unspoilt and approached only by a winding mountain road with nine bridges over steep valleys. Set on glorious Honey Bay (the Bahia de Miel), this almost untouched colonial settlement is guarded by Cuba's answer to Table Mountain (El Yunque), known as the Anvil of Baracoa. Surrounded by waterways and lush forests and as yet untouched by mass tourism, Baracoa is the ideal get-away-from-it-all destination.

The city is the oldest colonial settlement in Cuba, was its first capital in 1511, and is famed as the spot where Christopher Columbus finally touched land after his first epic voyage. Visitors who take the trouble to arrive here will find 18th-century fortifications, cobbled streets, secluded beaches and a famous cross said to have been planted on the beach by Columbus himself. For tourist information, the travel agencies of both Cubatur (on the Calle Antonio Maceo) and Ecotur (on the Coronel Cardoso) are the places to visit.

Baracoa Tourist Information and Tourism: Top Sights

The beaches fronting Honey Bay are quite special and as result, see large numbers of summer holiday makers. Just a short distance from Baracoa, the beachfront of Playa Maguana is one of Guantánamo's finest and features tropical palm trees and an azure blue waterfront, which lends itself to snorkelling. Away from the beaches, the colonial character of the city is often of interest to sightseers, who will enjoy walking around the old fortifications and admiring the magnificent architecture of the Cathedral of Our Senora of the Asuncion (Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion), which presides over the Triangle Square (Plaza Independencia). The harbour is a pleasant place to hang out at any time, with its views stretching as far as the El Yunque mountain and beyond, and its breathtaking sunsets. The 50+ pre-Columbian archaeological sites also warrant investigation and offer an insight into the lives of past Native American Indian tribes. More information about Baracoa Tourist Attractions.

When it comes to local landmarks, it is El Yunque that stands out and this towering mountain is just a short drive to the west, where it is possible to climb all the way to the summit, although only with a guide. Other sights to see line the lengthy La Farola road, which was nothing short of a modern engineering masterpiece, passing over giant gorges and providing easy access to the city. The River Toa is another important local landmark, although this time a natural feature, running through the city and forming a series of rapids and pretty waterfalls along the way. Around the centre of Baracoa, look out for the Plaza Independencia's bronze bust of Hatuey - a former Taino Cacique (chief), and the statue of Christopher Columbus - on the seafront promenade named the Avenidos Malecon. More information about Baracoa Landmarks and Monuments.

If you can drag yourself away from the beaches, the small selection of museums in Baracoa provide something different and a spot of culture, being ideal for a rainy afternoon. The Municipal Museum (Museo Municipal) is one of the most popular and is housed within an old fortress, which started life as a part of the city's fortifications and is today dedicated to documenting the regional history through a series of exhibits. On the southerly outskirts of Baracoa, the Paradise Cave Archaeological Museum (Las Cuevas del Paraiso Museo Arqueologico) comprises three galleries and an array of aboriginal and archaeological relics, as well as information relating to past civilisations and some 3,000-year-old petroglyphs. When it comes to appreciating Cuban art, the Eliseo Osorio Art Gallery is the place to visit. More information about Baracoa Museums and Baracoa Art Galleries.

The province of Guantánamo contains some very interesting attractions and those tourists planning a day trip will find it all the more easy with the assistance of a hire car. To the north-west of Baracoa, the sprawling Alexander von Humboldt National Park (Parque Nacional Alejandro de Humboldt) boasts rainforest trails, orchids and mangrove swamps, while next to the extremely photogenic Yumuri Canyon is the town of Yumuri, where white water rafting is possible, as well as a number of other recreational activities. To experience the farming of cacao, coffee and coconuts, take an excursion to the Toa Ranch (Rancho Toa), or if chocolate is more your thing, then the nearby Fabrica de Chocolade (Chocolate Factory) is not to be missed, being inaugurated many years ago by none other than one of Cuba's most famous past revolutionaries, Che Guevara. Further afield, Santiago de Cuba lies to the west, and as Cuba's number two city, is perfect for a weekend getaway. More information about Baracoa Attractions Nearby.

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