Baracoa, the most exciting Eastern Cuba city (Part I)
Since years I’ve heard incredible things about Baracoa. People always say it’s a must in Cuba; but until now I haven’t actually realized how amazing this town can be, placed in the middle of the mountains.
Located in Guantanamo’s province, Baracoa was the first city founded by the Spaniards in the island. More than 500 years of history and the best cocoa plantations of the Caribbean are hidden in this colourful city. Quite far from Havana: by bus nearly 22 hours of journey, almost 6 hours from Santiago de Cuba and 3 and a half from Guantanamo capital city; however views are just superb. But if you are not a road trip fan then you can go by plane; a two hours flight from Havana using national airlines will get you there. Planes are not the best, but it’s a secure flight and a very pleasant one. The landing is breathtaking: the airport is next to the sea and until few seconds before touch you’ll have the sensation of landing in the water.
First feeling when you arrive is the humid heat, quite different compared with the Western, but no an annoying one. A small airport is waiting for you, and also many taxi drivers outside. Baracoa is a cheap town, a taxi to the city centre costs a maximum of 5cuc. Cars aren’t luxurious at all: most of them are jeeps, later you understand why this is almost a compulsory issue in Baracoa. The first thing that actually got my attention was the people: they are the friendliest people I’ve ever met in the country.
The city centre is all you ever dream about a small and “vintage” town in Cuba: coloured houses in every corner, traditional music everywhere, art galleries open until 2am, a gorgeous boulevard and ancient buildings. However, at first sight it looks like a really small town and you might think you’ll get bored easily. But believe me; you won’t have time for it.
Guantanamo province has 27 rivers crossing the region; 21 of them are in Baracoa. So yes, it’s heaven for those looking for countryside experiences like climbing mountains, taking supernatural pictures and then dive into clear and cold river waters. I’ve never been in such magnificent rivers like those in Baracoa: Rio Miel (Honey River), Yumuri River or Toa’s (the biggest river in Cuba). But there are also stunning beaches like Maguana Beach (placed 45 minutes by car from the centre and located on your way to Holguin) and Manglito Beach (this in the opposite side, on the eastern). White sands and blue waters are virginal waiting for visitors. A plus: private houses on the first beach line offer incredible appetizers to enjoy beach time: seafood and tasty tapas will make you feel in paradise.
All this things are great, but they are far away for being the best thing to do here, in the middle of nowhere. The mountains are the greatest attribute of the city: climbing the Yunque Mountain is one in a life time experience. More than 2 and a half hours of hard work to get to the top, natural made paths, exotic nature, tons of cacao plantations, plus a marvelous waterfall when going down are literally heaven in Earth. The view of all Baracoa and pretty much all the region will leave you speechless; and the sensation worth the effort of going up more than 575 metres over the sea level.
SCUK can make a perfect trip for you!
These are just few things about Baracoa. In coming articles, will give you more details and experiences in Baracoa: a gem of Cuba, believe me! If you want to live this unique experience, contact us in www.scuktravel.com or email us to firstname.lastname@example.org