Baracoa in Guantanamo Cuba

Guantanamo Cuba

Our city of Baracoa is located in the province of Guantanamo. The Guantánamo province is a place of fabulous landscapes where nature has one of its largest shelters in America. This province is characterized by its mountainous geography, rivers and for having the largest forest areas of the island, as well as coffee and cocoa plantations and the production of salt. It is also called the Guaso land.

It is located on the southern coast of the eastern part of the island, at 1026 km by road from Havana. It borders to the north with Holguín province and the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by Cuba’s major wind belt, an area being analyzed by Cuba for its solar and wind power opportunities, on the south by the Caribbean Sea and to the west by the province of Santiago de Cuba.

“Guantanamo” is the name given by the indigenous inhabitants of the area to a “Wide Bay” and, as such, how they named the basin where this territory is settled, surrounded by the high mountains of the Sierra Maestra and the Sagua-Baracoa Group. The place was founded by the original population of the area called the Saltadero, Guaso riverside. Its foundation dates from 1797, obtaining official county status in 1847. It is the fifth most populated city in the archipelago with about 212 000 inhabitants. The culture has roots Franco-Haitian, Hispanic, African and Aboriginal. Largely due to the development of Haiti French emigrants, furthered by the Revolution of 1810 and the introduction the cultivation of coffee in the surrounding hills.

Some know it as the region of extremes: it is the most mountainous of the archipelago; the South has the driest, arid and desert band of the country, with very high levels of solar radiation, evaporation and temperature, while the North shows the highest levels of precipitation, which nearly triple the national average. It is the province with the highest percentage of nationally protected areas, many of these in the area known as Cuchillas del Toa, the largest biosphere reserve in Cuba. The Guantanamo provinces land area (6183 square kilometers) it is one of the smallest in the country, ranking tenth. Its territory is crossed by the 75 degrees west longitude (meridian Guantánamo), which governs the official time of Cuba and crosses the towns Yateras and Manuel Tames. It is the most mountainous region of Cuba with only 23% of it being a flat extension, the rest is Foothills and mountains, divided into four natural regions: Sagua-Baracoa, Guantanamo Basin, Central Valley and Sierra Maestra.

The average temperature is 26.8 degrees Celsius (80 Fahrenheit). It is the geographic area where most streams and rivers are found in Cuba, including the Toa River, which is the largest river in the country. Guantánamo, is one of the areas with the highest sugar cane crop counts, also coffee cultivation is amongst the highest in the nation. It is likewise a major vegetable cultivation sector for the whole country. The rearing of livestock continues to be a major sector en this region also.

Before 1959, Guantánamo had an economy based on the provision of all services to the American GITMO naval base, which is located in the municipality of Caimanera and occupied since 1903 by the U.S. government. These days the province has an increasing touristic offer, predominantly for ecotourism and beach vacations in areas such as Baracoa.