Baracoa is a small municipality near the eastern side of Cuba. It is the oldest Spanish settlement and was its first capital. Despite its modest size, it should not be skipped by travellers who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of cities like Havana and Santiago.
If you have 4 days to spare in Baracoa, these are the ten things you can do:
- Sign up for a tour to El Yunque. Make sure you put a lot of sunblock, wear some light clothings and bring a towel. It includes a dip in Rio Duaba which is the best part of the tour! Go to GaviotaTours and look for Wilder. He speaks really good English and knows a lot about Baracoa. Send my regards to him!
- Go to Parque Independencia and practice your Spanish skills. Talk to the locals. They are really friendly, just be cautious. Some drunkards will approach you and ask for a cerveza (beer). There was a guy who sat beside me and told me it was his birthday and that he asked for a beer as a gift. I told him it was my birthday too and I don’t drink beer.
- Go to Cafeteria de la chocolate and splurge yourself with the cheapest ice cream in town. When you order, you must say “ bolas” for example, cuatro bolas. It means 4 scoops of ice cream. Make sure you don’t confuse this place with Casa del Cacao where prices are catered for tourists.
- Try the cheap (barrato) pizza, ham bread, guava and mango juice. The pizza is only 5 pesos ($0.20USD) as well as the ham bread. The guava juice is 1 peso and the mango juice is 2 pesos.
- Soak in the beautiful beach of Maguana while drinking Mojito. The beach is quite far from Baracoa so you may need to hire a taxi. It will be cheaper to join a group or you can sign up for a tour that goes to the National Park and Maguana beach. It includes a ride on a cart pulled by a water buffalo. The alternative beach is Playa Blanca but I heard it’s much smaller than Maguana.
- Have dinner in Rafael y Adi’s casa and ask for fish with coconut milk. Remember to make a reservation a day in advance. The soup with noodles is to die for. The cost is around 8CUC ($8USD) but it includes soup, loaf of bread, a plate of vegetables and fruits, a plate of rice, a choice of water or beer, fish with coconut oil and an ice cream! Plus you get a chance to sit in the la terraza with a beautiful view of the sea and the mountain.
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- Enjoy the music in Casa de la Trova and dance while drinking Mojito. When it’s late night, the music and party is brought out to the street.
- Take a sip of Coco Loco which literally means crazy coconut. I had it in Alejandro de Humboldt National Park. They will open a fresh coconut, pour some honey and Cuban rum! If you don’t feel the punch of the alcohol, ask for more. They are quite generous with that. Just remember that you still have a few kilometers to trail.
- Visit a cacao plantation and the chocolate factory. You can inquire in Cubatur or GaviotaTours. Their price is $1 cheaper than Infotours.
- Try the chocolate con ron (chocolate with rum) in Casa del Cacao. It’s amazing!
Did I miss anything? If you have something to add, leave your comments below.