Cuba´s outstanding city of Baracoa was founded in 1512 with the name of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Baracoa by Diego Velazquez. It is known as the oldest settlement on the island and after the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in 1518 the city was renamed. The city was finally known as Baracoa. This name comes from an indigenous word which means “presence of the sea” in allusion to the marine environment that contrasts with the mountains and the rivers of the region.
Baracoa is located in the easternmost part of the island, north of Guantanamo. During the 16th and 17th centuries while it was still without communication with the rest of the island by land, the scarce population traded illegally with the French and English. In the early 19th century a number of French settlers installed in the villa that had fled the Haitian Revolution were dedicated to coffee and cocoa cultivation. That is how the French influence reached the region.
Spanish domination left its imprints in the city’s architecture, its historic center declared National Monument, maintains the original urban design and the wood architecture is unique. Among the most important fortifications are: El Castillo y La Punta and the large fortified towers of Joa and Cementerio.
With a predominately peculiar and mountainous landscape, Baracoa is proud of its enchantments, where the sea, mountains covered with thick leaves and its abundant rivers, conforms an attractive natural scenery with historic and cultural characteristics that will cultivate the attention of any visitor.
With the access by La Farola road, which surrounds the mountains constitutes only part of its multiple attractions, making Baracoa one of Cuba’s most beautiful attractions per excellence. This road includes 11 hanging bridges and its highest point called Altos de Cotila over 600 meters above sea level.
In the heart of the Nipe-Sagua-Baracoa mountainous groups, you can find the Alejandro de Humbolt National Park with some 70 000 hectares. This part is of great ecological importance where close to 1000 flora species are found, the third part of those reported in Cuba, many unique in the region and representative of the forrests of the Caribbean region where in addition many species endemic to Cuba are found.