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Pictures from Baracoa (Guantanamo)


 







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Baracoa is a small city located in the eastern part of Cuba. Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba for the first time in 1492, probably in Baracoa. He described this as the most beautiful place in the world, and the scenery is indeed idyllic. The city is located by a beautiful bay, and the view towards the mountain El Yunque is marvelous. Baracoa was the first Spanish settlement in Cuba, and is therefore called the "Ciudad Primada", the First City.


There is little mass tourism in Baracoa. There are two flights each week from Havana (a two hours' flight), and there are daily bus services from Havana (19 hours) and Santiago de Cuba (4 hours). Most visitors come by bus in organized tours visiting a number of regions in Cuba. Baracoa has some good hotels; Hotel El Castillo has a marvelous view over the city and the surrounding area and is absolutely recommended. In addition there are some Casas Particulares. Around Baracoa you will find some cacao plantations, and one of Cuba's few chocolate factories is located close to the city.


For an independent traveler who does not speak Spanish fluently, Baracoa may be a somewhat more challenging destination than Havana and Trinidad. It is difficult to find information about the local attractions and how to find them. There was no information about organized tours in our hotel, and we did not find any information elsewhere. There are very few tourist taxis; there are a large number of horse taxis and bike taxis, but they are not allowed to drive foreign visitors. So be prepared for walking.


Baracoa has beaches with great potential, but at present you should swim in the pool by the hotel instead. The beach in the Baracoa bay has a lot of garbage, and a dirty river pours dark water into the bay. The large beach by the sports arena is better, you can find a few locals swimming there. There are, however, more beautiful beaches further away from the city.