The rutted road out of town to Moa is a green paradise of palm groves, rustic farms and glimpses of the ocean.
There are windswept beaches, coffee farms and a rainforest.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit this area hard, destroying a main bridge, but access was restored.
A large part of this area is in the Unesco Cuchillas Toa Biosphere Reserve, an area of 2083 km2 that includes the Alejandro de Humboldt World Heritage Site.
This is where the largest tropical forest in Cuba is located, with many valuable hardwoods and a large number of endemic species.
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Beaches along the road from Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa
Although the trip takes 5 hours, it is a real ride in itself and I recommend that you take the time to take breaks everywhere.
The road from Santiago and Guantánamo runs along the coast, and turns inland at Cajobabo to reach Baracoa, along the mountain road built in 1962, which is very busy but well maintained.
Known as La Farola (the lighthouse), it winds its way through formidable curves.
Despite the broken guardrails and accident warnings, the risk is offset by the beautiful scenery: magnificent mountain views, wild jungle, coconut groves, coffee and cocoa plantations.
At the most photogenic stops, vendors sell fruits and snacks such as cuchuruchos: grated and flavored coconut, carefully wrapped in palm leaves.
Avoid anything made of polymita snail shells, as they are endangered and protected by international law.
Just outside the eastern end of the city, you will cross the Río Miel.
Legend has it that after swimming in these waters, you will fall in love in Baracoa and stay here forever.
Unfortunately, the town’s beach at the eastern end of town is gray and gritty, and the sea is rather muddy.
Ranchón del Nengón and Kiribá
The Fiesta of Kiriba and El Nengon is a socio-cultural event of a Carrier Group of the Güirito community, 10 km from Baracoa.
Located in the middle of large cocoa and coffee plantations, the families of the descendants still practice singing and dancing traditions in a farmhouse and share it with the visitors
You will be able to taste the typical drinks and dishes based on cocoa, coconut, banana, sweets, beans, calalú, bacán, cucurucho, nougats, frangollos, etc.
Natural Park Majayara
Southeast of the city, in the Majayara Nature Park, you can go on magical hikes, swim and follow an archaeological trail through a lush family farm. It’s a very low-key, do-it-yourself diversion.
Ecotur also organizes excursions in this area (20 Cuc).
Passing by Fuerte Matachín, take a 20-minute hike southeast past the baseball stadium and along the black sand beach to Río Miel, where a long, low bridge crosses the river.
On the other side, turn left following a trail that climbs through a group of rustic houses to another crossroads.
Here, a guard post is sometimes manned by a park official who collects entrance fees.
Turn left again and continue on the trail until the houses clear and you see a marked one-lane path leading left to Playa Blanca, an idyllic spot for a picnic.
Staying straight on the trail, you will come to a trio of wooden houses.
The third of these houses belongs to the Fuentes family.
In exchange for a donation, Señor Fuentes will take you on a hike to his family’s finca, where you can stop for coffee and tropical fruit.
Further on, he will show you the Cueva de Aguas, a cave with a sparkling fresh water hole inside.
As you walk up the hill, you will come to an archaeological trail with more caves and wonderful views of the ocean.
- Price : 2 – 5 Cuc
Monument to the landing of Major General Antonio Maceo on the beach of Duaba
This is the area where the symbolic historical event is framed, identifying the real place of the landing. On this beach there is an obelisk and a square in homage to the first battle of Alto del Pino.
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