Baconao Park on el Oriente de Cuba
The Baconao Park is a wide region located 20 kilometers of the city of Santiago de Cuba approximately, its total surface is of 92360 hectares and it’s extends throughout the south coast of the county, partially until Guantánamo territory.
In 1987, World Reservation of the Biosphere was declared by UNESCO, and grateful as such for The National System of Protected Areas.
Baconao Park has many attributes that identify it. By its untamable nature as well as for its archaeological values, it’s owner of a great caudal of legends and vital information for the study about marine and terrestrial species.
It was inhabited since the times of the aboriginals and its hills served like refuge to immigrants coming from the near island of Haiti, those that built in the place comfortable ranches for the establishment of colonists who were big producing of coffee.
The name Baconao comes from a local legend of an indigenous little boy that he lived in the south of Cuba during the pre-Columbian stage.
The legend counts about a magic tree called Bacona, that taught the boy to play music using the snails of the lagoon, because he has the costume to go and sit himself down to the shade of the Bacona tree to play music with his snails.
The inhabitants of this area were fascinated and they thought that the abilities to play music of a snail were given by the tree, fact by which they started to call the boy by the nickname “Baconao”.
One day, the boy went to take a walk around, and he never came back. With the time the music that boy played with his snails was listened among trees and the residents thought that this magic had stayed in the trees, and with course of time, they began to call the area “Baconao”.
The big areas offer different geographical contrasts such as marine terraces and mountainous elevations with a exuberant vegetation that endow this site like an unforgettable place to be in contact with an almost virgin nature.
The park is full of attractions, as well as refuges of wild life and coffee plantations. Among them we can mention:
- La Gran Piedra: It’s a big rock of volcanic origin, with some dimensions that include 51 meters long, 25 height and 30 wide and an estimated weight above the 60.000 tons. It is possible to go up the 459 stone steps until the summit of the rock and to stop to 1.234 meters above sea level to enjoy a panoramic view. It is said that in a dark night it is possible to see the lights of Jamaica. And in clear days and good visibility it can be sighted both costs of the oriental region.
- Prehistoric Valley: Idea and work of the sculptor Dagoberto Ramos who populated this charmer Cuban place with replicas of animals that inhabited the earth during the Jurassic period. In the valley dinosaurs, brontosaurios, and other species can be admired. All those animals were made to natural size with steel and cement. In fact seems like animals were dissected.
- Museum of Natural Sciences: It exhibits naturalized pieces of the fauna and ornithological marine, as well as numerous samples of typical minerals of the area.
- Granjita Siboney: National Heritage. Here the attackers to the Cuartel Moncada, led by Fidel Castro, spent the night previous to the attack, made July 26 1953. In each one of the rooms there is elements that explain everything about it and other revolutionary actions, pictures, uniforms, weapons... and countless memories of those days.
- Museum of the Terrestrial Transport: The original exhibition consists of more than 2500 pieces to reduced scale that reflect from the origin of the wheel until the most modern automobiles. For example Varria of Cugnot, first motor vehicle endowed with one vapor boiler that made works the vertical cylinders. Some of the pieces got just two centimeters and the most of them were built and donated by Fermín Hernández Hurtado, a Spanish communist militant that participated in the fight against the Fascism in defense of the Spanish Republic.
- Museum of the Image: Aspects related with the history and the development of the radio, the television and the cinema in our country are shown here.
- Cactus Garden: Here are exhibited hundreds of plants of this type.
- Aquarium: With a submarine tunnel 30 meters deep, and a dolphinarium.
- Baconao Lagoon: Here it can visit the reproduction of a village of the Tainos tribe, and to enjoy a specialized restaurant in shellfish.
- Diving: Important parts of the range of offers presents here, ‘cause the coralline reefs shows a habitat of abundant multicolored that adorn the warm waters of the Cuban eastern.
- Bucanero Hotel: The most popular hotel installation of the park and considered as a perfect combination of mountain and sea.
- La casa de Pedro El Cojo: An excellent restaurant of Creole food resides. Their wooden walls pick up thousands of signatures of great amount of their visitors.
The development of the Baconao Park has been based on the natural potential of the region and in the creativity and imagination of the human being to become this place in a charming place that not for pleasure it was denominated like "La Riviera del Caribe".