With the possible exceptions of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, Cuba has had no more famous former resident than the Nobel winning author Ernest Hemingway. The hard drinking, womanising, American author of masterpieces such as For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms fell in love with Cuba after visiting it several times, and he lived on Cuba from 1940 until1960, shortly before his death. Known affectionately as “Ernesto” or “Papa”, Hemingway is still beloved by the Cuban people.
If you go on a Cuba holiday and are a fan of the great man’s writing, you are in luck. There are plenty of Hemingway highlights to explore, ranging from his favourite Havana hotel to the fishing village that inspired his Nobel Prize winning novella, The Old Man and the Sea. For the die-hard Hemingway fan on a holiday in Cuba, here are a few of the things you should see and do…
Stay at Ambos Mundos in Havana
Ambos Mundos was Hemingway’s favourite Havana hotel. He wrote much of For Whom the Bell Tolls in room 511, which is kept in pristine condition as a visitor attraction, down to a low desk and typewriter. Given that Hemingway was renowned for writing standing up (whilst naked!), it is uncertain just how accurate a recreation this is of his working conditions, but the room remains an essential stop off for Hemingway buffs. It is also an excellent place to stay – it is not one of the most luxurious Havana hotels, but its Art Deco design, central location and timeless atmosphere all make it a great place to stay in Cuba’s capital.
Drink in Hemingway’s Favourite Bar – The Floridita
Hemingway was a famously heavy drinker, and out of all the bars in Cuba, the Floridita was his favourite. The Daiquiri was his drink of choice here – many visitors are drawn to the Floridita to drink to the writer’s memory, and the bar is filled with photos and memorabilia. Hemingway was also fond of La Bodeguita del Medio just around the corner, where he liked to sip Mojitos.
Go Deep Sea Fishing in Cojimor
This sleepy little fishing village was one of the Hemingway’s favourite places in Cuba. He was a fan of all kinds of hunting, and Cojimor was his place of course to go deep sea fishing. It is also the setting for The Old Man and the Sea, and debate rages over which Cuban fisherman was the inspiration for Santiago, the main character of the book. If you visit Cojimor on a holiday to Cuba, you should take the opportunity to try a little deep sea fishing yourself. There are plenty of companies that will take you out and let you try your hand, even if you have no previous experience.
It is also a chance to see Hemingway’s yacht, Pilar. The yacht was his pride and joy, and it even saw service in the Second World War, where it was converted into a submarine hunter. The town also has a memorial statue to Hemingway, facing out into the sea.
Visit Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s Home
Finca Vigia (“Lookout Farm” in Spanish) was Hemingway’s home in Cuba. Situated on the outskirts of Havana, this grand white stone mansion was donated to the Cuban government when Hemingway died. It is now a museum to the author, and is an excellent place to visit while on a holiday to Cuba. Over 9,000 books from Hemingway’s personal library are kept here, and the house is meticulously well preserved and filled with his personal effects. Of all the Hemingway hotspots to visit on a Cuba holiday, this may be the most fascinating – it is as though the author left the house just moments before.
By Mariana_Mercado from Pixabay