Taco Bay: Sailing and More
Text and Photos: Roberto F. Campos
A colourful natural landscape and a peaceful rural environment characterize Taco Bay in eastern Cuba, frequented by travellers seeking active outdoor vacations. According to tourist guides crossing Taco Bay was for a long time the only way to get to Baracoa, the first village founded by the Spanish conquerors in 1511.
The bay connected this territory to Moa, a place renowned for its nickel mines. On rafts pulled by motorboats, travellers and locals crossed the peaceful waters of the bay to shorten the distance to the nearby municipality.
Legends tell of a mysterious place where pirates hid their treasures but more recently, before 1959, this was Text and Photos: Roberto F. Campos a very poor area. Local people made a living harvesting mangrove wood that was used to make charcoal. However the area’s rich flora and fauna have helped it to prosper with the advent of tourism and ecotourism in particular, and its high level of preservation has led to its declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The area features the Palmasola stacks, the highest elevation bordering the bay, located within the coastal area of the Nibujón mountain region in Baracoa (Guantánamo province). Because of its geographical position, it is described as a bag-shaped inlet.
To the north of the Alejandro de Humbolt National Park, the bay is surrounded by two of the seventeen plant formations that make up the region. It also stands out for the varied plankton biodiversity present in the sea bottom. It is home to the country’s best preserved marine ecosystem environment where red and white mangroves and other Cuban forest species can be found. The mangrove vegetation of the area also features a small key made up of volcanic rock that has withstood the passing of the years.
Taco Bay has survived storms and other meteorological phenomena and provides shelter to the only herbivorous sea mammal living in Cuba: the manatee. This mammal is endemic to Cuba and in danger of extinction but it is protected by the natural shelter it finds in this bay as well as the area’s forest rangers who actively work to ensure its preservation and procreation.