Like most of the destinations in Cuba, Baracoa was discovered by Christopher Columbus and is considered one of the most beautiful Cuban regions. Admiral Christopher Columbus sailed to Baracoa on the evening of 26 November in 1492 and documented his discovery in his diary describing a beautiful bay which was overlooked by a large, square mountain. Founded in 1511, Baracoa is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and therefore was the first capital of the country. Only four years later it was already changed to Santiago de Cuba. Since Baracoa was discovered, it has been home to a variety of settlers but it is firmly rooted in its Spanish culture. Known for its energetic colours and vibrant culture, it is clear that Baracoa holds its heritage in incredible steed. In honour of the brave explorer who first came across Baracoa, there is a magically sculpted tree trunk depicting a thoughtful Christopher Columbus looking inland. In the 19th century french settlers from Haiti brought the cocoa and coffee to the town. But most of all they brought a lot of diversity in the Cuban kitchen. Compared to other regions of Cuba, Baracoa will suprise you with creative, diverse and delicious food.
Until 1964 Baracoa was only accessible by boat. There was no street connecting the town with other cities in Cuba. One of the few road construction projects after the revolution was the mountain pass "La Farola". The street is connecting Baracoa with Santiago de Cuba. The way leads you through the semiarid, desertlike landscape and the down the mountain pass into the tropical green landscape. On the way, you can also find a view point, from where you can see the famous US Marine Base Guantanamo. Due to the long and rough way, only few tourists are coming to Baracoa - which led to a really authentic flair of this region.
What to see and to do in Baracoa
Baracoa is surrounded by spectacular natural beauty. From beaches to rivers, orchards, mountains and impressive natural reserves - Baracoa and its surrounding regions are abundantly blessed with the sights, smells and sounds of a natural paradise! Explore the El Yunque Mountain with hiking trails and paths that will showcase the hidden gems of the region. From colourful bird spotting to unparalleled views of the city and sea below, there is no shortage of incredible sightings in Baracoa.
Coffee enthusiasts will be captivated with the variety of Cuban coffees, and may even be interested in learning more about how these coffee plantations come to be. From coffee tasting tours to coconut and cacao excursions, you will find something to tantalise your taste buds in Baracoa.
There are also a number of activities to get you onto the waters, so get ready to get your feet wet in the rivers and bays of Baracoa. Whether you want to scuba dive in the reefs of Maguana, or you want to paddle along the Miel River - you will find yourself enchanted by the beauty of your surroundings.
If you are looking for a more culturally enriched vacation, then why not explore the secrets of the Spanish fortresses which make up the city of Baracoa? Get lost in history as you stroll through the museums, or find yourself falling in love with the vibrant culture of the region.
If you like nature, you might want to go on an excursion to the Nationalpark "Alejandro de Humboldt", named after the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt. It's one of the most beautiful parks in Cuba and Baracoa is the perfect start for hikes and excursions.
More information about the country and the people of Cuba you can find here.