Skip the beach and visit the rivers!
Some people talk about the beaches in Baracoa. You have to understand that although Baracoa is coastal, it doesn't really have beaches... at least not the kind of beaches that most people would like to visit.
The most common beach mentioned in Baracoa is Playa Maguana. I have to say that I found Playa Maguana to be very disappointing. It was very small and remarkably dirty the last time I was there. It depends on the time of year that you travel, but, in my opinion,it is overrated. And it's far from the town of Baracoa... like over 2 hours bike ride... You could take a car, but still, it's not close. There is a beach less that half a kilometer away from it, travelling a bit further along the bumpy road... It's basically the same deal; a rounded beach, but, it is a bit nicer and there are absolutely no tourists. There is a tiny house beside the beach, on a rock ledge, and the owner will cook you a fresh lobster meal, and you can eat it on a beach side table. It costs about 5cuc. That beach was nicer and the water was completely clear and blue. Nevertheless, is it worth the trip all the way to Baracoa?
But I will say, the best thing about Baracoa are the rivers. My God. The clearest water I have ever seen in a river. And warm too. And if you have the chance, go up the mountain along the eastern trail and see "la cascada". It's far, especially if you go by bike. But still.. It's not a waterfall. The locals call it a waterfall, but strangely enough, even most of the locals do not actually go up the mountain to see what it really is. At the top, the Toa is a tight river, about 20 meters wide, filled with boulders... the biggest rocks you have ever seen in your life. There are a million of them, filling the whole river, for miles and miles. You can see it from google earth.... I regret so much that I was unable to take a photo. I cannot find a photo of this anywhere online. It was the most magnificent sight I have ever seen in my life. I say that honestly. That made the trip to Baracoa.... after I saw that, I knew I could go home happy.
I wrote a book about Cuba, and it will soon be published. Havana Cheap: Explore Cuba Like A Local And Save Tons of Money in Havana. http://www.bestcubaguide.com
- National/State Park
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- Farm Stay
Tour on Rio Tao Baracoa
We have visited Cuba from April-May for three weeks. We did a boat trip on the Rio Tao including a hiking tour through the banana-, Mango-, and Cacao plantages nearby. We have searched for a good guide in the Internet at home and really were lucky. But when we arrived in Baracoa we had to recognize that "our" guide has settled to Havanna and stopped leading tours. So if you really are interested in making a guided tour with a really friendly nice guy we got to know a name for you: Norge Quintero Matos
+520907569 if you want to phone him
and if you want to mail him: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Road to Guantanamo
The word Guantanamo now has entered the worlds imagination after 9/11 when the Yanquis erected a detention camp for the Jihadis.
The road from Baracoa to Gtmo, is a picturesque one, the intial part of which is far more beautiful than the final part of the journey.
There is a Via Azul that leaves Baracoa around 2 pm and winds its way through the Farola and then descends into the semi arid area around San Antonio, hugging the southern coast of Cuba and finally on to plains towards baracoa.
One can watch the life in the villages as the buse drives me, the magnificent scenery, the rugged coast, and the small towns of san antonio del sur, imias etc..
There is still no official religion in Cuba.
But the believes of Cubans is dominated by Santeria - a religion of people of African descent. Although it incorporates a number of Christian themes and motifs - the heart and soul is African. (Picture taken by Ingrid - my travelfriend in Cuba
Even if you are a traveller who feels if you've seen one cathedral you've seen them all, IT IS A MUST to stop in the Cathedral in Baracoa. This is the oldest church in Cuba (1512) and has on display a cross which is said to have been placed in Baracoa by Christopher Columbus.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Strolling around in Baracoa
I do not know why i like this picture.
Maybe because the strenght this bull is showing reminds me at the optimism of the Cuban people. The regime nor the American embargo will keep them from happiness.
Iglesia de la Asunsion
The center of Baracoa - another view on the t famous and first church of Cuba.
This is the place where many locals meet,day and night - where you can get a taxi - car, bike - for a good price.
Hotel Castillo is very near and will give you an exiting overview on the village.
Iglesia de la Asunsion
The oldest Church in Cuba - founded in 1512
The parish priest named Valentin Sanz is a very interesting man in this part of Cuba.
We tried to meet him - but we failed.
This church is welknown by the Parra Cross - the cross of the Santa Maria (CC)
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
See the Bay - from Hotel Castillo
El Yunque - a mountain dominating the bay of Baracao and rises to 530 meter above the level of the atlantic ocean
Picture was taken from the famous Hotel Castillo - take a deep breath before climbing all the stairs - but the view is marvelous.
The hotel was a previous fortress (Sanguily Fort) - guarding the eastern bay of Cuba.
Grafity in Baracoa
Hiring a Bicitax - officially not allowed - but however - getting to the Baracoa center - and than this Grafity wall - we had to get out the taxi because there was a hill the driver ....
But oké - my cam was ready !
The first rebel Hatuey
Chief of the rebelling indian population and captured by the spanish conquistador Velasquez. He condamned this leader to death.
Hatuey's last thought :"If in heaven - people like you - so called christians are living -
i better get murdered here !!"
Fauna and Flora in Baracao
Visiting a local botanical garden ! But watch out ! The steps might be slippery !
Our guide was a local farmer § telling us everything by the heart and soul about flowers... and the life in Cuba.
Please help me to name this flower - i'm not a specialist !!
- Budget Travel
Visit the local cigar factory
In Baracoa, there is also a cigar factory. Two people of our group visited this factory and they liked it more then the factory in Pinar del Rio.
This cigar factory is smaller then the one in Pinar del Rio, but they had a very good time here. There was a radio playing and they danced the salsa with the workers. In this factory they don’t see so many tourists.
Walking over the Malecon
Take a walk over the Malecon next to the ocean and smell the fresh air.
The Malecon is not so full of life as the one in Havana, but it’s a nice stroll to stretch your legs after that long bus ride before you arrive in Baracoa.
While we were walking there, we were asked if we wanted to buy some local chocolates and I can tell you they taste very good. So try one if they ask you, you will not get disappointed.
The harbour of Baracoa and views on El Junci
Walk towards the harbour and see some boats that are located there. In the distance you can see El Junci and in front of you, you can see a shipwreck.
This walk brings you next to the houses of the locals and although they seem old, one thing what you can notice is that all is clean. You will see people walking around who want to sell you some chocolate or even a proud old men who will show you his new brooms he bought. Walking here, will give you a feeling of the street life in Baracoa.
- Hiking and Walking