In 1940 Ernest Hemingway and wife Martha purchased a home outside Havana where he lived for the next 20 years. They named it Finca Vigia.
He surrounded himself with his cats and his trophies from many hunting and fishing expeditions. He became a fixture in Havana, hanging out in the bars and restaurants and fishing aboard his boat, Pilar.
When not fishing or traveling, Hemingway wrote a great deal from his Cuban home. While little of his work from this time was published during his lifetime, many of the projects that Hemingway worked on throughout the 1940’s were later edited and published after his death.
Hemingway divorced Martha in 1945, and returned to Cuba in 1946. He married Mary Welsh, and she joined him at the Finca.
While in Cuba, Hemingway worked for some time on what would become his most famous work, The Old Man and the Sea, which won Hemingway a Pulitzer Prize in 1953, as well as the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.
One of the highlights of your trip should be a visit to Finca Vigia, Hemingway’s home on the outskirts of Havana in San Francisco de Paula. It had recently reopened so we were able to tour the grounds and see into all the rooms from the outside. You can see his personal possessions including his books, hunting trophies, his typewriter and valuable artworks. You can also see where he wrote his weight and blood pressure on the bathroom wall.
Have lunch afterwards at La Terraza de Cojimar with great seafood and views. It was another one of Hemingway’s favorites, particularly the bar. It was where he traded tales of the sea with the locals and gave away fish after his fishing trips.
I also recommend drinks at La Floridita in Havana. Known for its Daiquiris that Hemingway liked, this colorful bar and restaurant still looks like Hemingway could walk right through the door. He also liked the mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio.
Have a Mojito at the rooftop bar of the Hotel Ambos Mundos at Obispo No. 153. This was Ernest Hemingway’s Havana hideout. The views are great. The hotel was where he wrote much of For Whom The Bell Tolls.