Bounded to the north by the Atlantic, and in all other directions by rivers, mountains and forests, Baracoa is still largely isolated, which is one of its prime attractions. It has been called one of Cuba’s most charming travel destinations, thanks to the stunning diversity of local landmarks, like the distinctive flat-topped mountain El Yunque, and vibrant cultural scene, such as the annual street festival each April commemorating the beginning of Cuba’s War of Independence.
Music lovers will appreciate Baracoa’s unique changüí music, which can be heard echoing through the streets of nearby villages Virginia and Yateras. Baracoa is also the home of the Tumba Francesa, a Creole dance inspired by the French minuet.
Baracoa’s lush rainforests are home to thousands of species of flora and fauna, many of which are rare or endangered. The diversity of the landscape – semi-arid cactus, fertile mountain plantations and seaside paradise – makes travelling throughout the region as enjoyable as the destination itself. Memorable excursions include the UNESCO biosphere reserve Cuchillas del Toa (which contains Alejandro de Humboldt National Park) and the stunning 17-metre high Saltadero Waterfall.
As you drive along La Farola (the region’s main highway), say yes when local vendors offer to sell you a cucurucho – a melt-in-your-mouth mixture of coconut. honey, mango and banana wrapped in a palm frond.