Quote — Buddhist chant

Logo CubaCasas Baracoa

Baracoa panorama © Chuchi zoi org •]• Baracoa seen from Playa Miel, a black sand beach © sogestour
Not easy to reach by road (but what a drive on La Farola, the alpine-like carretera with 107 curves over 35 kilometers), Baracoa is at the eastern end of the country on the north coast of Guantanamo province, some 5 hours from Santiago.

The town was established as the country's capital when
Diego Velazquez de Cuéllar arrived from Spain with 300 men in 1511. Isolated from the rest of the island for nearly 450 years, the town was to become the focal point of all the rebels in Cuba's history from the very first, Hatuey to the most famous, the Che to the most enduring, Fidel.

The town and its surrounding area (
El Yunque, Maguana, Nava, Toa, Humboldt, Yumuri, Duaba) are to the Cuban universe what Tibet is to the rest of the world and we're barely exaggerating. Most Cubans have never heard of these places. If you've ever been to some island in the South Pacific, you get the idea. If you really like it, don't tell anyone.

Biking down a backroad at night, we saw a tiny "community video room — sala comunitaria de video". On its roof, a solar panel : bright minds learning in pitch-black wilderness. Revolutionary. Indeed.

According to colleague Brendan Sainsbury of Lonely Planet, Baracoa is "The happiest and most magical place in Cuba."

Banes, 266
Bayamo, 413
Boca de Yumuri, 15
Cayo Saetia, 169
El Yunque, 8
Gibara, 262
Guantanamo, 116
Guardalavaca, 234
Holguin, 229 via Moa
La Habana, 1100
Moa, 76
Parque Alejandro Humboldt, 40
Playa Duaba, 5
Playa Maguana, 25
Playa Nava, 31
Rio Toa, 10
Santiago, 240

Map - Guantanamo Province
Map - Guantanamo to Baracoa — La Farola Road
Rising and downward tides - Baracoa
Map - Municipio of Baracoa and surroundings
Map - Our casas on map of town center
Map - The town, the bay and burroughs
Map - The town and sites
Map - The coast and area in relief
Massacre and mutilation of Tainos (illustration)
Photos - Our galeria of Baracoa and surroundings
Photos - Our galeria of Maguana
Panorama (Porto Santo) © Thomassin
Local weather forecast (Meteorologisk NRK)
Daily currency exchange rates
All that's natural on Guantanamo province
Island-wide bus connections (horariodebuses.com/)
360-photo from the bus terminal
Web site of Fuerte Matachin Municipal Museum
Cuba, the Landshells Paradise - pdf
Arrivals & departures at Baracoa airport

All the Web particuba.net

Calle Marti 114, corner Maravi. Tel (21) 64-1122 photos © sogestour

Taller Atabey where you will meet painter Mildo Matos Carcases [Pintor indigenista] in his workshop.

The man is a huge talent. His works are in private collections in Europe, mostly in Germany, as well as in the U.S.A. and Mexico.

His irresistible daughter does the « public relations » thing. Just go, you'll be charmed.
POPULATION 81,677 (2007) in the regional township including 56,000 in Baracoa per se

Plaza Cacique Hatuey (Parque Central or Independencia) where everybody meets. Saturday nights can be heady. In front of the Catedral the bust of Hatuey, first Cuban internationalist (named here the first Rebel of America, El Primero) who arrived from Hispaniola (Haiti/Dom Rep) like many Frenchmen to warn Cubans the Spaniards were killing anyone who did not believe in God. Before being burnt alive in 1512 for having fomented resistance, he asked if there were religious fanatics (Spaniards) in heaven. When he was told so, he replied he'd rather go to hell. Proof he did, his name is on beer bottles Museo archeológico Cueva del Paraiso, 300 m from El Castillo Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Asunción totally revamped and now as popular if not more than the ragtag pentecostal and adventist "churches" which popped up on the back street of town; inside, its Cruz de la Parra, the oldest European relic on the continent. In dire need of repairs, Italian funds are were rencently used to restore it Museo Municipal (Fuerte Matachin) with Taino exhibits and photos of La Rusa Fabrica de Tabaco (cigar factory) Monumento Antonio Maceo at the end of the airport runway. Majestically laid-out, it marks the beginnings of the revolutionnary forces and the meeting in Baracoa in 1895 of Marti, Maceo, Gomez, Garcia, Sanchez and Echevarria which eventually led to the overthrow of the Spanish colony three years later Hotel La Rusa (1953), once owned by Magdalena Rowenskaïa (photos at Museo Matachin), a princess during Nicolas II's reign. Che Guevara, Errol Flynn, Fidel Castro et al have slept there. She gave $25,000 to the Barbudos in 1959. They thanked her by building La Farola, the scenic zigzag road which leads here, freeing Baracoa from isolation in 1964. Spasibo, Magda. Her son, a painter, still lives and exhibits in town Fábrica de Cucurucho Fuerte de Seboruco (Hotel El Castillo)

Bus Viazul Leaves Santiago daily at 7:50am and arrives Baracoa 12:35 for 13cuc pp; return Baracoa-Santiago leaves at 13h, arrives 18h45); Both terminals share the point by the bay entrance at the end of Maceo Street Aerotaxi, to/from Santiago (3xweek 28cuc) Cubana de Aviacion, to/from La Habana (Thu, Fri, Sun 108cuc), Santiago 22cuc

Do not buy polimitas, these pretty and extraordinary colourful shells — the species is endangered. In Spring 2011, on la Farola, in one of the curve lookouts, we bought some polimita shells — before reading on the subject in the beautiful album "Cuba, the Landshells Paradise" [Cuba el paraíso de los moluscos terrestres] by Cuban author Adrian Gonzalez Guillen — in English and Spanish with many colorplates. A masterpiece of the genre.

La Farola •|• Toa River © partwish — picasa.com
Zigging and zagging over 35 kilometers of mountains, this is La Farola| Navigating the Toa River, these two kids are looking for current © partwish on picasa.com

Le rio Moa s'étend  © partwish sur picasa•|• Chicos sur le Malecon © sogestour
Cuba's longest, the rio Toa spreads H2O over 116 kilometers of bucolic beauty : enlarge ©
partwish, picasa|With the Yara mountain as a background, these chicos are hangin 'round the Malecon. © sogestour

Entrée de la baie et l'aéropiste © partwish sur picasa
Clients of the bank in front of this tiny park with its stunning arbol will need all the time in the world waiting for a teller to be available : change your money elsewhere or pay someone to "sub" for you : Hotel guests do it all the time © sogestour | Hotel Castillo and its inviting swimming pool dominate the town © partwish, picasa

From the bahia, the sun sets behind El Yunque © sogestour •|• Hatuey forever facing the institution whose fanatics burned him alive © sogestour
At the mouth of the Yumuri river, beachcombers can see the silhouette of El Yunque, the anvil-like mountain on the horizon © partwish picasa |• Hatuey forever facing the institution whose fanatics burned him alive © sogestour

The Playa Duaba dragged there to break the waves and protect the port installations on the bay. Across, the Porto Santo Hotel © sogestour •|• Cyclist enjoying calle Mariana Grajales downhill © sogestour
Cheeky chica letting go on calle Frank Pais bicicleta © sogestour |The town, the bay, the airport and the sea seen from el cielo © unk

Playa Boca de Miel : agrandir © partwish sur picasa.com
Playa Boca de Miel : enlarge © partwish — picasa.com

Cubatur excursions (see below), calle Maceo 149 Tél. (21) 64-5306 Other agencies offering "safaris" in nearby nature with local treasures such as the Almiqui, beautiful Polymitas and the mysterious Manati : Agencia Flora y Fauna and Havanatur Cubana de Aviacion, calle Marti # 181 (21) 64-2171 Gustavo Rizo Airport (21) 64-2171 Havanautos (21) 64-3606 Wi-Fi spot in the tiny central park : 4,50cuc per hour with a card from the sala Internet (Etecsa, Nauta) located right in front : bring a sweater, it's freezing in there. Also wi-fi in all local hotels. Massages in the casa. Professional Miguel Cantillo has 20 years experience Tel. (21) 64-3351 Money exchange officially in two banks : calle Martí 166 and Maceo 99, always full, don't waste your time; best choice (when open) is CADECA, Calle Marti 241; if closed, look for street vendor living steps away : you can trust him, rate is the same Clinica internacional calle Marti 239 Tel. 64-1038

Regional map • Mouseover for La Farola. Click to enlarge.
Mouseover for the twisting, 107-curve road here : La Farola. Click to enlarge.

Three niños dipping toes in the fountain in Parque Central in front of the cathedral whose god-fearing priests burned fearless Hatuey 'cause he did not believe religious BS. Named Nuestra Dama del Asuncion |Near Gustavo y Yalina's casa, the Paladar El Colonial has been satisfying hungry travellers for years in a lovely setting © robin thom, flickr.com

Daily Viazul bus running from Santiago to Baracoa; leaves Santiago from avenida Libertador No. 457 Tel (022) 62-8484 In Baracoa, it's at one end of the Malecon tel. (21) 32-37-13

Playa Boca de Miel, at the mouth of the rio of the same name. They say who bathes in it will... Ask someone to tell you the legend.

Playa Cruz de Colon (Hotel Porto Santo) Playa Duaba (5 km) Playa La Punta and not least Playa Maguana (25 km) Playa Nava (31 km).

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Casa de la Trova always crowded, overflow on street : where tourist women get asked to dance; Casa de la Cultura with Afro-Cuban folk costume dancing; Cine-Teatro Encanto, the large Galeria de Arte on main plaza, Circulo Social, Disco Noche de Praga, the noisy El Ranchon (up the hill in reparto Paraiso : 146 steps up, swings after midnight), La Terraza de Cultura facing Casa del Chocolate; same for El Patio de Artex from 10 to midnight. El Paraiso (20 pesos cubanos per couple to try karaoke). Live music and dancing at Hotel Porto Santo and Hotel El Castillo hotels. On the first weekend in April, it is fiesta time during the Carnaval de Baracoa. See what the Terrace of Hotel La Habanera has become, day or night a great watch as watch can spot, without cars to fumigate you but with Burgs or sandwiches to fill you and pretty nice coffee from the real big espresso coffee machine as in Italy, per che ? SNACK BARS : Costa Norte - three along the Malecon; El Picopo (fast fool); the new hot dog (Perro Caliente) counter on Parque Marti; Pizzeria La Baracoesa (cheap, in pesos); Casa del Chocolate (cakes, cups of cocoa, snacks) PALADARES La Colonial on Marti 123 has many seafood and fish dishes; also, El Boulevard at Maceo 131; There's La Musa de Piedra also on Maceo at 127; Paladar El Colonial Calle Marti (21) 64-3161; Paladar La Terraza Flor Crombet 143 (21) 64-3123; El Boulevard Maceo 131 (21) 64-5908; La Musa de Piedra Maceo 127 (21) 64-1830; Williams Marti 287 (21) 64-1917 ou 64-2798 RESTAURANTS Caracol, El Parque, Cafeteria La Punta on Maceo 142 HOTEL DINING ROOMS Hostal Gaviota La Habanera, 10-room, 46cuc/day Cubanacan hotel in town centre (21) 64-5273; Hotel Gaviota Porto Santo, 80 rooms across the bay (21) 64-5106; Hotel Gaviota El Castillo, 34 rooms - sitting atop town (21) 64-5165; Hotel Gaviota La Rusa, on the seaside Malecon (21) 64-3011

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Río Toa, 10 km — One of the country's longest rivers, the Toa runs wide and deep with quite a strong current in season. Superb greens, freshwater swimming, memories to last a lifetime El Yunque, 8 km The famous, mysterious, daunting and irresistible mountaintop can be reached on foot in 2 and a half hours. Stupendous and well-deserved views of the area. The Campismo El Yunque with its wooden cabins is reserved for Cubans. Best is to book a day tour including transportation from Baracoa, leaves at 9h15, returns at 16h for 16cuc, including the trek with guide up the Yunque and 90 mins. swimming in a freshwater laguna. Check with Cubatur in town. Tel. (21) 64-5306 Finca Duaba, some 5 km on the way to Playa Maguana A typical waterside farm with all you can imagine, even a boat ride up the river and a typical meal. Boca de Yumuri, 15 km on the way to La Farola Freshwater river, small beach, canyon for trekking and kids selling you escargots. Catch a boat to the village where a local guide will take you up to El Balcón,narrow caves the length of the cliff face : 30 metres above the palm trees with lovely views across the ocean; bathe in a sub-terrain pool and bring a flashlight. Only Cuban place left where a few descendants (with facial features) of its aboriginal Tainos still live. Their hero was Guamá, who set fire to Spanish outposts in 1512, answering Hatuey's call. He was never captured and died of natural causes 20 years later Playa Maguana and Playa Nava, 28 and 34 km Best, quasi-deserted beaches of the region. Get there for the day or spend a night at Villa Maguana. (See bottom of page.) Boca de rio Miel this you can reach from town by walking on the black sand beach, beyond the beisbol stadium.

Located 40 km west of town, this is a World Heritage Site since 2001. An ecosystem with some 905 endemic varieties — only found in Cuba! — of flora. Few of its 59,400 hectares are open to the public. A full-day excursion (9h-17h) including 4h30 mins in the mountains, 1h30 mins to the El Maja waterfall. English-Español guide on hand. 24cuc per person; min. 4 passengers, including transportation from Baracoa by minibus or jeep. Boat ride on the bay of Taco is available on request. Book through Cubatur in town by the art gallery. (21) 64-53-06 Go before BP causes another unpaid-for oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pay attention, this video shows you how to do this at home, assuming you have a coconut tree in the backyard, eh ?
In the tiny mountain settlement of Cagüeibaje, 20km before Baracoa on La Farola, there is a lookout point and kiosk where a group of mountain villagers and cooking artesans headed by Sra. Eyder Laffita sell what some say is the best cucurucho in Cuba.

Served in a cone, the cucurucho is basically grated coconut sweetened with pineapple, grapefruit and guanábana, sometimes honey. Strictly natural, it's a sweet like no other.

The group also offers cremas de coco, turrones (nougats), empanadas, fresh juice, wine, vinegar and bocaditos. During the
Fiesta de La Farola (end of July), they sell out.

::: Make sure that in your first email or phone call you specify that you want to book a room in that particular casa and that you will reconfirm your booking on arrival in Cuba. Unless you only want a room in any house which may be of the same quality, not the specific casa you booked through photos on these websites ::: So as to not abandon expecting owners with empty rooms, reconfirm (or call ahead to cancel) your booking by phone as soon as you can after arriving in Cuba ::: Please write or phone a casa owner to cancel a booking. As late as it may seem, it allows them a chance to rebook. ::: Children under the age of 16 may share a bedroom with adults for free. Specify the child's age when booking. ::: Maximum bedroom capacity is not limited to two adults ::: Larger casas are not limited to renting only two bedrooms per night. ::: At the end of the casa name, the V signals the casa was suggested by travelers or owners but not verified by the website staff. If you try it and like it, write us about it. ::: Unless otherwise mentioned, the average room rates and service prices are : 20-25cuc per bedroom per night [up to 40+ for 4 in a room]; breakfasts 3-5cuc, dinners 7-10cuc. ::: Any casa particular anywhere in Cuba must have a hot water shower, otherwise it cannot have a permit to rent ::: Please share your Complaints, comments & suggestions webmaster [@]cubacasas.net

The town and its bay as seen from El Yunque © sogestour

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• From Canada and the USA : 011 53 (add phone # preceded by 21 for Baracoa) • From Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Mexico : 00 53 (add phone # preceded by 21 for Baracoa) ••• HOW TO DIAL A CUBAN PHONE NUMBER HERE ••• CELL PHONE NUMBERS on our town lists and casa pages are preceded by 05 for calls originating Havana; from anywhere else in Cuba, dial 01 + the 8 digits of the cell.

Click on logo to open a message addressed to that casa in your email application; or right-click to copy address. Spanish vocabulary here. Google translate here.
Click photos to see each casa's page and description. Locate most casas on this map..
See the casas in sequence.
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Move to next casa by clicking this logo.
Six a-c bedrooms, ensuites, three terraces
Flor Crombet 125, e/ Frank Pais y Pelayo Cuervo on a calm stretch of street in town center. Tel. (21) 64-5809 cell 52 81 35 79

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuites, roof terrace
Felix Reúnes 29, e/ Coroneles Galano y Céspedes, one block from Casa de la Trova. Tel. (21) 64-3441 cell 53 10 49 84

Baracoa Rafael y Adis

Two ac bedrooms with ensuites, roof terrace
Frank Pais 6, e/ Maximo Gomez y Flor Crombet, steps from Malecon. Tel (21) 64-53-57

Three a-c bedrooms, two upstairs, ensuites
Ciro Frias 18, e/ Martí y Maceo, opening on to Parque Marti in town center. Tel. (21) 64-3427

Baracoa Casa Elvira

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuites, rooftop terrace
Flor Crombet 112, e/ Frank Pais y Pelayo Cuervo, on a calm stretch of street in town center. Tél. (21) 64-2536 cell 52 45 3 646

One a-c bedroom, ensuite, rooftop terrace
Pelayo Cuervo 17, e/ Marti y Maceo, 50 m from the cathedral in town center. Tel. (21) 64-5481

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Ground level one-bedroom apartment, kitchen
Flor Crombet 115, entre Maravi y Frank Pais in town center facing Nelsy. Tél. (21) 64-2536 cell 52 45 46 36

Five a-c bedrooms, ensuites, roof terrace
Frank País 19, e/ Martí y Maceo, some 50m from Plaza Central Tel. (21) 64-3580 or 64-3634

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuites, patio
Céspedes 28, e/ Rubert Lopez y Maceo in centro ciudad. Tel. (21) 64-1443 or cell 52 91 74 03

Two aircon bedrooms, ensuite, great food, patio
Marti 81, e/ 24 de Febrero y Coliseo, two blocks from the Malecon . Tel. (21) 64-1253

Two ac br's (one upstairs), ensuites; sea view
Maceo 168A, e/ Cespédes y Ciro Frias, one block from the cathedral. Tél: (21) 64-3881

One-br upstairs apartment, ensuite, terrace
Maceo 235 (altos), e/ Abel Diza y Limbano Sanchez, three blocks east of the cathedral. Tel. (21) 64-3857

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One a-c bedroom, ensuite bathroom
Calixto Garcia 162, e/ Cespedes y Coroneles Galano, close to Hotel Castillo. Tel. (21) 64-2754

Carte de ville - Casa Ana Elbys

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, patio
Mariana Grajales 35, e/ Calixto Garcia y Emiliano Corrales, under the Hotel Castillo promontory down the hill in Reparto Playa. Tel. (21) 64-2267

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms
Maceo 86, e/ 24 de Febrero y 10 de Octubre, a block from Parque Independencia. Tel. (21) 64-3592

One-br upstairs apartment, ensuite, terrace
Moncada 18-B, e/ Martí y República, 150 meters from beach and 5 blocks from Plaza Central. Tel. (21) 64-1910 cell 52 93 98 57

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms
Maceo 92, e/ 24 de Febrero y 10 de Octubre, a block from Parque Independencia. Tél. (21) 64-3124

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms
Céspedes 29, e/ Rubert Lopez y Maceo in town center. Tel. (21) 64-3548

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One-bedroom upstairs apartment, ensuite
Flor Crombet 143, e/ Ciro Frias y Pelayo Cuervo in town centre near Gustavo y Yalina's. Tel. (21) 64-3123

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms
Marti 287, e/ Abel Diaz y G. Blanco, near the Museo Municipal and the Malecon . Tel. (21) 64-1917

One upstairs bedroom, ensuite, balcony
Flor Crombet 236-A, entre Limbano Sánchez y Roberto Reyes, steps from the Malecon. Tel. (21) 64-2736

Two a-c bedrooms, ensuites, patio, roof terrace
Rodney Coutin #100, e/Juracion y, two blocks from the sea. Casa phone - cell 52 33 29 16 or Adrian's cell 52 71 85 26

On Maguana beach, some 20 km west of Baracoa over the bridge of the Toa river (Cuba's largest), on the way to Moa.

This is a less well-kept secret since Cuba Handbook and Fodor's started writing about it (after reading our web pages?) in the first years of the third millenium.

Even if this little jewel is not a casa particular,it is so "particular", we had to put it in. Gaviota, after a few months of renovations, reopened it on Nov. 15 2006, having added three two-storey buildings to the four bedrooms in the original building. Each new building boasts 4 luxurious double bedrooms on two floors and an enlarged dining room for a total of 16 double bedrooms with modern bathrooms, a/c, fridge, hot water of course and satellite TV reception in each room. We took these pictures a few days before the reopening.

The new room rates in High Season are
75cuc per bedroom including breakfast (or 37,50cuc per person); single occupancy, 60cuc. (5cuc less per room in low season). Meals seem reasonably priced at 7 to 9cuc. No sports activity offered although they may still have swim fins and masks available, we forgot to ask.

Villa Maguana © sogestour
© sogestour

© sogestour

The nice 2-km beach next door may be slated for an all-inclusive resort with an international airport being planned for Moa but Gaviota does not plan anything major in the near future, as this area is still officially part of the Alejandro de Humboldt UNESCO World Heritage Site.

So, enjoy this pretty well-done expansion for the moment : it's still a great value for the dollar for those who want to be away from it all.

Tel. (21) 64-1204 Visa and Mastercard accepted. Main res office is in the Porto Santo Hotel of Baracoa (21) 64-5339 castillo @enet.cu

Maguana Galeria
A little slide show, located on our French-version site.
Don't get lost, mileage may vary, batteries not included (photos from year 2000).

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Content & photos © sogestour

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Updated 25.11.2015