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Visiting Hemingway’s haunts in Havana

Vicki Gilhula February 15, 2015 Travel No Comments


 The tour ended at La Floridita, a bar and restaurant that claims to be home of the daiquiri, a favourite rum drink of the writer. The guide books warn of this tourist trap but I found the drink reasonably priced at $6. There was a steady stream of tourists who visit La Floridita to have their picture taken with a bronze statue of the writer sitting at the end of the bar.

Hemingway lived at the Ambos Mundos Hotel in the 1930s. Tourists can visit the room he lived in Room 511.

Hemingway lived at the Ambos Mundos Hotel in the 1930s. Tourists can visit the room he lived (Room 511).

Ambos Mundos Hotel in old Havana

Ambos Mundos Hotel in old Havana

Vicki at statue of Hemingway

Vicki at statue of Hemingway in Cojimar, a fishing village

Heminway's typewriter

Hemingway’s typewriter


Hemingway's Havana home, now a museum

Hemingway’s Havana home, now a museum

About one million Canadians visit Cuba each year. The Caribbean island is the third most popular overseas destination for Canadians after the United States and Mexico. Thanks to Sunwing’s direct flights from Sudbury and other Ontario locations, the beaches and beauty of this island are less than four hours away.

For the last several years, Sunwing has been flying from Sudbury to Cayo Coco once a week although flights from Toronto to Varadaro take place every day of the week. Day trips and over-night trips from Varadaro to Havana can be arranged and I would recommend a visit.

Last winter, my companion and I spent a week in Varadaro and  a week in Havana. In the city, we stayed the the Hotel Central Park, which is located close to the National Capital Building.  Although much of its spectacular Spanish colonial architecture is in ruins, a visitor will be overwhelmed by what once was and what could be.

There is much to see and do in Havana. This visit we booked the Hemingway tour to see the places the American writer lived, drank and wrote. He lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1960 and wrote several books there including The Old Man and the Sea. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this book and the Cubans are proud that Hemingway left his medal to the Cuban people.

My companion and I were the only two people to book the trip this day. We had a private driver and a guide for abut $50 each. Most of the places we visited were not crowded with tourists.

Hemingway’s  home, Finca Vigia, on the edge of the city, is a museum. It has been left exactly how it was when Hemingway lived there. There are reports that the Cuban government spent $1 million to restore the property.

It is believed that Hemingway only met Fidel Castro once. It was at a fishing derby that took place in 1960. Hemingway committed suicide a year later in Idaho. His Cuban farm was donated to the Cuban people.


Hemingway drank here, and so did many American artists

Hemingway drank here, and so did many American artists


When Hemingway came to Sudbury


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