Dominating the town is El Castillo, a fortress—Castillo Seboruco—atop the rocky marine terrace that looms above Baracoa, offering a bird’s-eye view. It was built during the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739–1741) between Spain and Britain, when the two nations’ navies battled it out over the issue of trading rights in the New World.
It has metamorphosed as the Hotel El Castillo and is accessed by a steep staircase at the southern end of Frank País.
Tiny Fuerte Matachín, at the east end of Martí and the Malecón, dates to 1802 and guards the eastern entrance to the old town. A bronze bust of General Antonio Maceo stands outside the fortress, with its thick walls topped with cannons.
The storehouse houses the Museo Matachín (tel. 021/64-2122, daily 8 a.m.–noon and 2–6 p.m., CUC1 entrance, CUC1 camera), tracing the history of the region since pre-Columbian days. It also displays polymites (the local polychromatic snails).
The round tower—Torreón de Toa—immediately south of the fort served as a Spanish customs checkpoint.
The semicircular Fortaleza de la Punta, at the far west end of Martí, was built in 1803 to guard the harbor entrance. It’s now a restaurant.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition