The Bariay Park, National Monument, is located approximately 37 km from the North coast of the Holguin province in Cuba and it constitutes a penicayo with an area of approximately 25 km2, and is bounded by the bays of Jururú (West) and the Bariay (East). Its natural and historical riches range from its bay and river, scenes of Christopher Columbus' landing, to its diverse ecosystems.
Bariay Park has enough attractions, as it has excellent beaches and a very rich and peculiar flora and fauna.
The following plant formations are present in El Parque Bariay: mangrove, rocky coast vegetation complex, sandy coast vegetation complex, coastal xeromorphic scrub, microphyllous evergreen forest, microphyllous semi-deciduous forest, secondary shrublands and secondary forests.
In the case of the flora in El Parque Bariay, a total of 359 species have been identified, belonging to 294 genera and 77 families.
The infrastructure of El Parque Bariay brings together more than three parks and a hundred trails to follow through more than 40 kilometers of cliffed coasts, where you can enjoy 13 beaches - such as those of Guardalavaca, Esmeralda and Pesquero -, six bays, three rivers, seven keys, some 170 caves and numerous archaeological sites. Added to this are natural forests and the proximity of the Chorro de Maíta Recreational-Cultural Park. In addition, the site has an extraordinary underwater platform, with several coral barriers and sunken wrecks.
From Bariay Park it is possible to admire two of the most striking sites in Holguin's geography: the mountainous elevations of La Silla de Gibara, a mountain named after Admiral Christopher Columbus, due to its resemblance to a horse saddle, and the Columbus Mosque, a site that recreates a beautiful Andalusian legend.
Today it is a confirmed fact that the Bariay stock market bay was the first point in our geography touched by the Niña, the Pinta and the Santamaría, the three ships commanded by Christopher Columbus - which is why Bariay Park has been converted into a National Monument. — and the beauty of its surroundings is enriched by the rescue of history and the strenuous efforts to return the place to its original appearance.
You enter Bariay Park through the Spanish fort, a small construction that appeared during the Cuban War of Independence (1895-1898), entirely built of hard wood and mounted on stilts; with a plank floor, a wooden roof lined with palm leaves, which also has loopholes. Inside are preserved objects that the Spanish used in Cuba at that time.
Inside El Parque Bariay, the place where Columbus's ships anchored is marked by a buoy, which has a banner at the top with the coat of arms of Admiral Christopher Columbus.
From there the sailors could see the roofs of the houses of an Aboriginal village. From there Columbus ordered to drop anchor and ordered them to disembark to reach land and take possession in the name of the Catholic Monarchs.
It was, precisely, the archaeological excavations carried out by Dr. José Manuel Guarch del Monte (1931-2001) and his collaborators in El Parque Bariay—who had previously discovered the Taíno village and cemetery of Chorro de Maíta—that uncovered the remains of the fishing village that Columbus found on his first voyage, and of which a replica has been made, very close to the museum built right where the archaeological evidence was found, which offers a sample of the life, customs and way of life of those communities in HOLGUIN. From then to now, new archaeological discoveries have been made as part of a policy aimed at rescuing historical and cultural heritage, and enhancing its knowledge, protection and adequate management.
Another important construction, at the farthest end of El Parque Bariay and next to the waters of the Atlantic, is the Commemorative Monument of the Half Millennium of the Encounter between the Two Cultures, a fact that cannot be ignored due to its extraordinary historical significance. , although it has come loaded with barbarism.
The monument—the work of the Holguin artist Caridad Ramos—presents the ruins of a European neoclassical construction along with the replica of objects made by the natives and found in nearby excavations, to concretely show the encounter, all in the middle of an exuberant nature very typical of Cuba.