Travel in Tropical Baracoa, Far East of Cuba
Baracoa, at the far Eastern end of Cuba, is almost the end of the road. Travelling from the big city Havana, on the opposite side of the island, you can’t go much further without disappearing into the sea. Steamier, greener and altogether remote from the rest of the island, Baracoa is a Cuba at its most tropical. A reminder that Cuba is an island nation, surrounded by the Carribean.
We wanted to visit Baracoa which is rightly described as being remote and different to the rest of Cuba.
Getting to Baracoa
But it takes some effort to get to there, either several long bus journeys or an expensive and infrequent flight. Not having the time for overland, we chose the latter.
Rising at 3.30am to ride in a diesel belching suspensionless old taxi to Havana’s desolate domestic airport, we arrived in good time for the 5.30am flight. Although the airport facilities were primitive, the bags checked without incident. We soon climbed aboard the very full one ¾ hour flight. As we tracked alongside the northern coast, far below we could see glowing slivers of golden sand. No doubt these were the location of Cuba’s famous beach resorts.
Below is a video of our visit to Baracoa
Upon arrival at Baracoa airport, among the scrummage of waiting taxis, there was a pedicab holding a card with our names. Unbeknownst to us, our Casa had organised a young and enthusiastic driver/peddler to deliver us to our accommodation. He also spoke excellent English. While I felt bad as he broke into a sweat on the hills (while loaded with two people and luggage), he seemed to think little of it, pointing out local highlights while trundling through the sleepy countryside. Slowly, we rolled into our destination, which looked to be a slightly run down small coastal town.
Thing To Do In Baracoa
After our early start, we took it easy for the remainder of the day, exploring the waterfront, central plaza and haphazard backstreets.
The next morning we set out eastwards through banana plantations and coconut trees, heading toward a cacao plantation. The trip is worthwhile just for the beautiful drive. Here our excellent guide, Jose Perez explained all about making chocolate. Jose knows a phenomenal amount about local plants, wildlife, history and anything else you need to know about the area. Find Jose at the La Terraza restaurant.
We then travelled along the coast towards the river and limestone ravine of Isla de las Almendras. Here we took a boat upstream. It was a great place to watch birds, take a swim and cool down in the humid tropical climate.
Finally, after a drive back along the coast, we ended the trip at a picturesque and isolated beach, a relaxing end to a day filled with nature and chocolate.
Our accommodation was the Casa Vista Hermosa, which is owned by Yannia and Jose. It was 5 minutes walk from town up the hill, meaning it had fantastic views. The owners were excellent hosts, amiable and accommodating despite our poor Spanish.
The best place to eat in town is nautical and pirate-themed La Terraza - excellent seafood can be had here in an open rooftop area. We had dinner here every night. If you want to track down Jose Perez to take you on a tour, ask here and they will find him.