Baracoa, the oldest city in Cuba, lies to the far eastern tip of the island. It’s name, in the native language, means “presence of the sea” and it was founded in 1511.
This isolated coastal town is for many, the most beautiful place in Cuba. Because of its remoteness, it retains all the charm and could hardly be considered a tourist hotspot.
Baracoa is known as the landing site of Christopher Columbus in Cuba. According to local folklore, Columbus planted a cross in Baracoa to mark his arrival. Preserved to this day at the Baracoa Cathedral (Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion), the Cruz de Parra has been carbon-tested for authenticity and is considered the oldest artifact connected with Columbus to be found in the Americas. As the story goes, Columbus wrote about Baracoa:
“A thousand tongues would not suffice to describe the things of novelty and beauty I saw, for it was all like a scene of enchantment”.
A few hundred years later, British travel journalist Claire Boobbyer ratified Columbus’ travel review of Baracoa, albeit appealing to a less dramatic language. The author said:
“Baracoa is, for my pesos, the most beautiful place in the island”.
For such a small village, Baracoa is loaded with things to do which nearly always justifies the difficult journey from Santiago or Holguin. First among all things to do in Baracoa is the simple pleasure of been there, taking in the extraordinary beauty and peaceful nature of this stunning town. The best view of the town is seen from the terrace of 18th century fortress “Castillo de Seboruco”, now a hotel.
Trekking, hiking, boating, and rafting comes next. Baracoa is a designated UNESCO Biosphere reserve
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