I made it. Finally. Baracoa.
After a decent trip in the Viazul bus from Santiago de Cuba via Guantanamo (yes, THE Guantanamo). The trip was amazing. From Guantanamo onwards it was a desert like landscape. Cactus trees, dirt and dust, then the Sierra mountains started and it got hilly, more banana trees, then more mountains…. And completely red mountains in a super strong colour, the mountains got bigger, the bus was jumping… it was amazing.We stopped in a super small mountain village where they offered coffee and chocolate, as well as fruit and coconuts.
Oh, and there were turkeys walking around in the small garden.
Baracoa is a little city at the most eastern point of the island. As it is surrounded by mountains, it was not possible to reach Baracoa for a super long time and the village was isolated. This however helped Baracoa to develop its own character and often it is described as the wild soul of Cuba. Baracoa is also the oldest city of the country, as it is the point where Columbus entered the island first. Baracoa was the capital of Cuba, but in 1511 (thanks Wikipedia 😉 ) this changed and Santiago de Cuba became the capital because of the difficult position of Baracoa. Until the revolution, Baracoa was not reachable by land, solely by sea as there was no road through the mountains. This changed then when Castro ordered the construction of ”La Farola”, the road which should connect Guantanamo with Baracoa.
This ended the isolation of the city and people living in Baracoa appreciate the revolution highly, in my opinion in Baracoa you can feel it most. You have lots of propaganda paintings, etc. People are really grateful for the fact that the revolution gave them La Farola.
After the trip, I got picked up by Ana, the owner of my casa. She was absolutely adorable! And my room, oh my gosh, it was amazing. I felt so warmly welcomed and the city had such a positive vibe. I bought chocolate (the only chocolate factory, established by Che Guevara himself, is in Baracoa) and cucuruchu- a delicious sweet snack which is wrapped in palm tree leaves and tastes absolutely fantastic. It’s a mix of coconut, nuts and dried fruit. My mouth is going crazy when I just think about it.
Buy it from this one guy who is selling it on the streets. You can get 2 of them for $1CUC. (make sure to have a spoon with you and put them in the fridge whenever you can).
I walked around in the city and absolutely loved it. I bought some souvenirs (much cheaper than in Havana!!) and had nice chats with people. Then, the Malecon. I was amazed. The sand was black and there were black rocks, the sea is rough and the water clashes against the rocks. It was a bit windy and the air smelled salty and whenever a rough wave clashes against the rocks you might get a bit wet. I absolutely loved it. I let the salty natural perfume soak through my nose, right in my mind… Baracoa, the wild rebel of the Cuban cities. I immediately felt home.