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Baconao: Nature and Tourism in Eastern Cuba

The eastern province of Santiago de Cuba offers options that combine natural attractions and tourism and benefit from a well-preserved environment.

That is the case of the Baconao Park, a perfect union between the sea and the mountains, accompanied by a wide range of attractions like the so-called Valley of Prehistory, where visitors can enjoy life-size replicas of species from that era.

More than 200 life-size sculptures represent dinosaurs, mammoths and other animals that lived on Earth millions of years ago.

Baconao`s traditions date back from the time when Cuba was discovered. Precisely the area was named after a young aboriginal man from one of the pre-Columbian tribes that settled in the region.

History mentions a magic tree call bacona, which launched its spell on that aboriginal man, enabling him to play music from the lagoon`s conches, a gift that it passed to the nearby trees when the boy died.

The region`s flora is made up of several mountain forest species, as well as coastal vegetation, galleries, pine trees and dry forests.

Los Corales Beach, Baconao, Santiago de Cuba
Bucanero Beach, Baconao, Santiago de Cuba
San Pedro de la Roca. Cannon battery

The Baconao Reserve holds some 1,800 plant species, most of which are of high botanic, medicinal, food, industrial and religious interest.

It is worth mentioning that among the park`s options is the possibility of learning about the region`s typical rural (countryside) atmosphere, including houses (the popular bohío) and furniture (the so-called taburete, which is a sort of chair).

In addition, tourist can ride horses in the park and be in direct contact with nature and the ruins of ancient French coffee farms.

The remains of coffee driers and pulping facilities, mansions and even a colonial cemetery can be visited while touring the Baconao Park, as part of an environment filled with history and mystery.

In addition, Baconao has an aquarium where visitors can learn about the Caribbean marine fauna in its tanks and tunnels.

Dolphins and seals complement the aquarium`s attractions for children and adults with their abilities, as part of a refreshing and necessary pause, with a 30-meter-long tunnel under the sea where visitors can watch marine species in their natural habitat.

Baconao`s facilities also include singular places like the Land Transportation Museum, which exhibits more than 2,000 miniature vehicles, along with an exhibition of life-size vintage cars.

At the same time, Cuba`s former inhabitants are also represented in a reproduction of a Taino village by the Baconao Lagoon, where several hotels offer their services.

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