The Baconao Park, in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, is a perfect formula for leisure, in combination with the attractions of its well-preserved nature.
The sea, the mountains and legends get together in an offer that those who chose this region of the Cuban archipelago, as their destination to spend their vacations after a long working season, cannot refuse.
Baconao's traditions date to the time of Cuba's discovery. Its very name is related to a young aborigine who belonged to one of the pre-Hispanic tribes living in that region.
History mentions a magic tree called "bacona", which cast a spell on the young Indian, enabling him to play music with the lagoon's shells, a gift that was passed to the trees when the boy died.
The park's options include the possibility of enjoying the region's typical rural setting (campesino), which covers every single detail, ranging from houses - the popular "bohío" (thatched hut) - to furniture, including the "taburetes" (a typical Cuban chair).
All this is complemented by horse-riding excursions in direct contact with nature, and visits to the ruins of old French coffee plantations.
The remnants of coffee dryers, mansions and even a colonial cemetery can be found in the region, creating an atmosphere that is full of history and mystery.
Baconao also has an aquarium, which allows visitors to learn about the Caribbean's marine fauna in its tanks and tunnels.
Dolphins and seals put an excellent show for both children and adults, exhibiting their abilities, in a sort of pause that is both necessary and refreshing, with a 30-meter-long tunnel under the sea where visitors can see the fish in their own habitat.
Baconao's facilities also include such singularities as the Land Transport Museum, which exhibits over 2,000 miniature vehicles, along with an exhibition of vintage cars.
The ancient fauna is also represented in the park, especially in the so-called Valley of Prehistory, where visitors can enjoy life-size stone replicas of animals that lived on earth millions of years ago.
Add to this Cuba's traditional gastronomic offer, with typical dishes such as roasted pork and the so-called "congrí oriental" (rice and black beans), and a delicious cup of coffee made the old way.
Baconao Lagoon reflects the shadows of Cuba's pre-Hispanic inhabitants on the replica of a Taíno village, where vacationers are welcomed at a restaurant serving seafood and where music is played in the famous "órgano oriental" (eastern organ).
In order to complement the park's many offers, several hotels, including the Bucanero and the Club Amigo Carisol Los Corales, provide a safe haven to travelers and contribute to filling any emptiness left, if any, after a wonderful tour of Baconao.