Near the eastern end of the island and closer to Haiti than to Havana, it was founded in 1511 as the first village in Cuba. It was the first capital city of Cuba, but it was forgotten over time as the rest of the towns were founded, because it could only be accessed by sea. La Farola Highway is one of the seven wonders of Cuban architecture of the 20th century, it was built in the 1970s providing access to the city.

Baracoa is a true natural paradise, with 29 rivers, the Atlantic Ocean to the North, impressive mountains to the

the South. If you have ever searched for El Dorado, this is the place! And if the views weren’t amazing enough, it’s also a true foodie’s paradise with incredible seafood, unique dishes, delicious cacao, and the freshest coconuts.

Fertile forests, blue seas, foot-pounding melodies and delicious desserts: don’t miss the peculiar eastern city of Baracoa.

Baracoa has beautiful beaches away from the crowds and noise of the big beach resorts in the north. Playa Maguana’s clear sea and bright colors are unparalleled in the region. Its gentle waves rock you and it is a great pleasure to float in these waters, protected from sea currents by a series of rock and coral reefs. El Manglito epitomizes the relaxed Caribbean beach. Enjoy the good vibes under the sun and palm trees, stroll along the light-colored sand and swim in the shallows, enjoy a mojito or a beer and enjoy a nice fresh fish or seafood lunch by the sea. Or go for a swim in Playa Blanca, near the idyllic fishing village of Boca de Miel. Here, a rustic bridge that crosses the Río de Miel is the perfect place to take a photo before heading to the caves.

Baracoa’s most impressive museum, La Cueva del Paraíso is a series of caves that were once Taíno burial chambers. Among nearly 2,000 authentic Taíno pieces are unearthed skeletons, ceramics, 3,000-year-old petroglyphs, and a replica of the Idolo de Tabaco, a sculpture found in Maisí in 1903 and considered one of the most important Taíno finds in the Caribbean.

One of the best off the beaten path things to do in Baracoa is to visit the Majayara Natural Park, just southeast of the city. As you walk, you will arrive at the home of the Fuentes family, who sell fresh fruit and coffee from their farm. Just beyond that stop is a cave, Cueva de Aguas, a cave with a well of sparkling fresh water inside. Following the side of the hill, you will reach an archaeological trail with more caves and wonderful views of the ocean.

If you feel like hiking, visit El Yunque, the table-top mountain that towers over the town of Baracoa. Although it is only 575 meters above sea level, it is a strenuous trek to reach the top. Prepare for hard work, lots of sweat, and beautiful views of the rainforest. After an intense walk soaked in the sun, nothing is more rewarding than a refreshing swim in the river while

looking up at a beautiful waterfall. Or seek out Salto Fino, the highest waterfall in the Caribbean within the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When you are done admiring nature, you can see the trio of muscular Spanish fortresses that protected Baracoa. Fort La Punta, built in 1803, now houses an amazing restaurant. Fort Matachín, built in 1802, which now houses the Municipal Museum. The small but beautiful building shows an interesting chronology of Baracoa, which includes polimita snails, the history of Che Guevara and the chocolate factory, and the particular musical line that Baracoa gave birth to: kiribá, an ancestor of son. Alternatively, you can head to the Seboruco Castle. Baracoa’s tallest fort, though hardly recognized as a fort these days, serves as Hotel El Castillo.

For a different kind of museum, visit Casa del Cacao. It exhibits elements of history related to the cultivation of Cacao in the region and the history of the Mayan culture. The museum also explains the treatments of the grains, their drying process in the sun in large crates and finally the roasting over firewood in special pots, cleaning and grinding. And if you’re still in the mood for chocolate, they have a chocolate factory that churns out chocolate bars and other goodies for sale.

For a small town, Baracoa has a lot to offer! If you thought that only your days were going to be packed here, think again!

Nightlife is amazing in Baracoa with live music and various styles of rhythms, you can’t go wrong. Whether you’re visiting the Casa de la Trova, Cuba’s craziest, wildest and most atmospheric little place, or the Casa de la Cultura, be sure to grab a mojito and put on your dancing shoes, as you’ll be taking part in the dance in no time! weather!

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