Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Baracoa, “Where Cuba Begins,” Seeks Tourists

Baracoa, "Where Cuba Begins," Seeks Tourists

BARACOA, Cuba – Cubans say that Baracoa is "where Cuba begins," and
there are two reasons for this – it was the first city founded on the
island by the Spanish and it is located almost on the eastern tip of the
country, making it the place that first sees the rising sun.

Baracoa, also known as "La Primada," is located on the north shore of
Guantanamo province some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of Havana,
turning it into the most isolated city in Cuba.

"We are far, far, far away," Juan Saname, a farmer, said, clearing his
voice and singing part of a popular song in the region with a line that
goes: "A Baracoa me voy ahora que hay carretera" (I'm Off to Baracoa,
Now that There Is a Road).

Built on the slopes of the Cuchillas del Toa hills and surrounded by
coffee and cacao plantations, Baracoa has developed a unique character
evident in its food and residents' authenticity and hospitality.

With the flow of tourists to Cuba increasing since diplomatic relations
with the United States were restored, the island's eastern regions have
been working to get the attention of foreign travel agencies and grab at
least a small portion of the visitors crowding into Havana.

Baracoa, home to 82,000 people and jutting into the bay of the same
name, is one of the eastern destinations offering travelers a
combination of nature, history and gastronomy.

In 1511, Baracoa was the first of seven cities founded by Spanish
conquistador Diego Velazquez de Cuellar, and it preserves the only one
remaining of the 29 wooden crosses that Christopher Columbus erected
during his first trip to the island in 1492, which is now exhibited at
Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral.

Baracoa is also known as Cuba's chocolate capital since 85 percent of
the cacao consumed domestically comes from its fertile hinterland.

The city has the only chocolate factory in Cuba, a plant inaugurated in
1963 by Argentine-Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

The chocolate factory, however, is not open to the public.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune - Baracoa, "Where Cuba Begins,"
Seeks Tourists -

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