Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción


After years of neglect, Baracoa's hurricane-battered historic cathedral has been lovingly restored using primarily Italian funding. There's been a building on this site since the 16th century, though this present, much-altered, incarnation dates from 1833.

The church's most famous artifact is the priceless Cruz de la Parra, the only survivor of 29 wooden crosses erected by Columbus in Cuba on his first voyage in 1492. Carbon dating has authenticated the age of the cross (it dates from the late 1400s), but has indicated it was originally made out of indigenous Cuban wood, thus disproving the legend that Columbus brought the cross from Europe.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Baracoa attractions

1. Bust of Hatuey

0.02 MILES

Facing the cathedral is the Bust of Hatuey, a Taíno cacique (chief) who was burned at the stake near Baracoa in 1512 after resisting Spanish colonization…

2. Poder Popular

0.06 MILES

On triangular Plaza Independencia (this being Baracoa, they couldn't have a square plaza) is the neoclassical Poder Popular, a municipal government…

3. Casa del Cacao


Baracoa, you will quickly ascertain (via your nose), is the center of Cuba's chocolate industry; cacao is grown hereabouts and subsequently chocolate-ized…

4. Castillo de Seboruco

0.14 MILES

Baracoa's highest fort was begun by the Spanish in 1739 and finished by the Americans in 1900. Barely recognizable as a fort these days, it serves as…

6. Fuerte Matachín

0.48 MILES

Baracoa is protected by a trio of muscular Spanish forts. This one, built in 1802 at the southern entrance to town, houses the Museo Municipal. The small…

7. Fuerte de la Punta

0.48 MILES

This Spanish fort has watched over the harbor entrance at the northwestern end of town since 1803. The super thick, hurricane-resistant walls now hide a…

8. Parque Natural Majayara

1.56 MILES

Southeast of town in the Parque Natural Majayara are a couple of magical hikes and swimming opportunities plus an archaeological trail in the grounds of a…