Regions of Cuba - Travel Guide
Guantánamo, Cuba's the easternmost province, is approximately 1,000 kilometers from the nation's capital. Its environment includes everything from near deserts to regions featuring luxuriant mountain vegetation.
Mountains make up almost 99 percent of the Guantánamo's territory. What we have here are rocky and calcinated areas with scarce vegetation and lots of cactuses, as opposed to forests and fields of green sugar cane.
However, the greatest attraction
in the province can be found in Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
de Baracoa, Cuba's oldest city. Founded by Diego Velásquez
1512, the community is characterized by the amicable spirit of its citizens
and the beauty of a city surrounded by abrupt coastline, luxuriant foliage,
mountains and rivers.
The city was often raided by pirates and corsairs who burned it down for the last time in 1652. In response, a solid defense system was built, including forts called La Punta, Seboruco and Malachin, as well as the Joa and Caguase towers.
This village was the first on the island to have a parochial church, made doubly attractive because, not far from its entrance, there was a statue of Hatuey, an Indian who became the symbol of rebelliousness'—and because it sheltered the cross brought to Cuban soil by Christopher Columbus in December 1492.
Baracoa is one of the few Cuban villages located close to where Indo-Cubans found refuge in the mountains and managed to survive—to a certain extent. We can actually recognize features inherited from these ancestors in today’s village dwellers.
From Baracoa, "Sleeping
Beauty"—a mountain resembling a sculpture of a woman lying in the sunshine—can
be seen in all its glory. It is next to El Yunque, the most
famous peak in the area.
Visitors can also sample some very peculiar foods made from plants, meals such as bacán, composed of green plantain, and canalú, made of tubers. Vegetable and meat soup and fish and coconut milk are two other interesting choices offered on Baracoa's many menus.
The economy of Baracoa
is based on coffee and cacao, but the province is looking forward to adding
tourist attractions to its list of assets in the near future.
Updated August 20, 2000
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