7 Must-See Sites in Baracoa
Perhpas Christopher Columbus really landed here before visiting Holguin or any other location in Cuba. Either way, Baraco is a great place top spend a few days. You may see many other sights in this ancient city but you definitely want to see these 7 points of interest.
1. Museo Arqueológico “La Cueva del Paraíso” – Baracoa’s most impressive museum is presented through an exciting series of caves known as “Las Cuevas del Paraíso.” The caves once served as burial chambers for the beleaguered Taino Indians who lived around Baracoa. Approximately 2000 authentic Taíno artifacts, many of which are quite ingenious, and unearthed skeletons, ceramics, 3000-year-old petroglyphs and a replica of the Ídolo de Tabaco, a historic sculpture found in Maisí in 1903 and considered to be one of the most important Taíno finds in the Caribbean, are displayed in this museum.
2. El Ranchón – The trip to the top of the steep 146 steps is made tolerable by the spectacular “top of the world” view once you arrive. El Ranchón mixes an exhilarating hilltop setting with taped disco and salsa music and many female companions.
3. Casa de la Trova, Victorino Rodríguez – Cuba’s smallest, zaniest, wildest and most atmospheric casa de la trova presents the rhythmic, voodoo-like beat of changüí-son every night. The house is usually packed so get there early. The mojitos are served in jam jars and perfect for a relaxing night of music.
Parque Natural Majayara – Located in Parque Natural Majayara travelers can enjoy a number of enticing hikes and swimming holes. One is an archaeological trail on the grounds of a special family farm. Passing the Fuerte Matachín, hike southeast past the baseball stadium and along the dark-sand beach for 20 minutes to the Río Miel. Oarspeople will row you across for CUC$1.
4. Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción – A often-discussed controversial topic among Baracoans is the renovation of the town’s main church. The original building was constructed in the 16th century. The recent structure is the least notable version and was completed in 2011. The church houses the priceless Cruz de la Parra , a wooden cross said to have been erected by Columbus near Baracoa in 1492.
5. Fuerte Matachín – Baracoa is protected by three formidable Spanish forts. Built in 1802, Fuerte Matachín protects the southern entrance to town and now is the Museo Municipal. The impressive building provides an engaging chronology of Cuba’s oldest settlement including polymita snail shells, the story of Che Guevara and the chocolate factory, and the particular strand of music Baracoa gave birth to: kiriba, a forefather of son.
6. El Yunque – For the energetic fitness walker, El Yungue offers a good test and a spectacular reward at the top. Plan around 3-4 hours to reach the top and come back.
7. Casa del Chocolate – If you are going to Baracoa, you owe it to yourself to stop here! Many tourists come more than once and usually have a chocolate drink after dinner. The options are hot chocolate, cold chocolate or chocolate ice-cream with hot or cold chocolate poured on top. The chocolate is amazing and better yet, locally produced.