Baracoa (pop. 65,000) lies 200 kilometers east of Santiago, 120 kilometers east of Guantánamo, and is really miles from anywhere.
The somnolent town nestles hard up against the ocean beneath the great hulking flat-topped mass of El Yunque. Baracoa curves around the wide Bahía de Miel (Honey Bay), lined with black-sand beaches.
Isolation breeds individuality, and Baracoa is both isolated and individual. The town looks and feels antique, with its little fortresses and streets lined with venerable wooden edifices, rickety and humbled with age.
Baracoans have a good deal of Indian blood, identified by their short stature, olive-brown skins, and squared-off faces.
Getting to Baracoa
Aeropuerto Gustavo Rizo (tel. 021/64-2216) is on the west side of the bay. Cubana (Martí #181, tel. 021/64-5374) connects Baracoa with Havana twice weekly and with Santiago de Cuba once weekly.
Buses arrive and depart the Terminal Interprovincial (Los Mártires, esq. Martí, tel. 021/64-3880). A Víazul bus (tel. 021/64-3093) departs Baracoa for Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba at 2:15 p.m.
Camiones serve Moa and Guantánamo from the Terminal Municipal (Coroneles Galano, esq. Rubio López).
You can rent cars from Cubacar at the airport (tel. 021/64-5343) and Hotel La Habanera (tel. 021/64-5212); and Vía (tel. 021/64-5135) at the Hotel Porto Santo and Hotel El Castillo.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition