13th April 2011

Baracoa [3], Cuba´s oldest town, was settled in 1511 but remained isolated from the rest of the country for 450 years until a road was constructed.  Near the church is the wooden cross Columbus erected in 1492.  We arrived just in time for the 500 year celebrations; a really good excuse to party.  The heat brought everyone out in the evenings and the sound of music drew us to a live band in the street outside a small bar.  Dance and music is in the soul of Cubans – the singing bus driver, the dancing waiter, the little old lady on her walker swaying to the beat, even the tiny children have the moves.  Another mojito and we would have been dancing!  


Enroute the bus stopped at Guantanamo, not far from the famous (some would say infamous) US Naval Base of Guantanamo Bay.  A Guantanamera is a woman from Guantanamo and that legendary song tells of a woman that the writer loved.


Typically seafood is cooked in a delicious coconut sauce.  We had the most mouth-watering meal of Caribbean style prawns at our Casa Isabel Castro.  As well as excellent chocolate, Baracoa produces a super sweet treat called Cucuruchu consisting of coconut, honey, guava, mango and a few other ingredients served in a cone of palm leaves. 


Baracoa Bay

Baracoa Church built in 1833 over the original from the 16th century

Cross erected by Columbus in 1492

Typical colonial houses of Baracoa

Casa Isabel Castro where we stayed

Lady selling cucuruchu and Baracoa chocolate

Music in the street outside a bar

Antique furniture and tiled floors of a Paladar (private restaurant)

Table top mountain El Yunque sit above Baracoa

From the malecón


Endemic lizard

Yumurí River near Baracoa

Children in a row boat

Little girl playing on a beach