For those Americans who have long held interest in Cuba’s cultural heritage, and world-renowned author Ernest Hemingway was no exception. The Nobel-Prize winning writer visited at various times lived in, Havana between 1939 and 1960, leaving behind art, manuscripts and a legacy that has been celebrated at his favorite haunts for more than five decades. While our American Heritage in Cuba package touches on many of these sights, here’s how to have a perfect 24 hours in Havana, as recommended by Hemingway.
10am: Ambos Mundos Hotel
We start at Obispo, a main shopping street in Old Havana, Ambos Mundos Hotel was Hemingway’s accommodation of choice before he purchased a permanent home, just outside of Havana. Here, Hemingway was inspired to write his famous novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. For a CUC $2 fee, visitors can view Room 511, which has been preserved to look exactly as it did when it was Hemingway’s home away from home in the 1930s.
12pm: La Bodeguita del Medio
Don’t let the location in Old Havana fool you. La Bodeguita del Medio may be frequented by tourists, but it’s not a trap. The central spot has the feel of a local bar, which serves traditional Cuban food and Hemingway’s favorite mojito in Havana. The tiny bar is covered in graffiti (much of it saluting Hemingway and Cuba), creating a contrasting effect when compared with nearby landmarks, like the beautiful baroque Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Be sure to bring a Sharpie and leave your mark.
1pm: Finca Vigía
Located just outside Havana in the working-class town of San Francisco de Paula, Hemingway earned the respect of locals by living in a modest village among the friends he regularly went fishing with. Finca Vigía (lookout house) can be toured for CUC $5.
6pm: La Terraza
In Cojímar, a small fishing village just east of Havana, La Terraza restaurant keeps Hemingway’s regular table open, while its walls are covered in photographs of the writer affectionately known as Papa. The restaurant is perfect for drinks, fresh seafood and live music.
While more upscale than La Bodeguita del Medio, Floridita is still authentically Cuban. This bar is not only the birthplace of the daiquirí—it’s bar in which Hemingway proclaimed it to be the best in the world. More than 50 years later, the spot is still packed with visitors who come to try the frozen drink, and to see the statue of Hemingway in his regular seat, blocked off by a velvet rope to keep his admirers at bay. While Hemingway is said to have once downed 13 doubles in one sitting, the spot drank the famous writer under the table in 2012 when it set a record for creating a 71-gallon daiquirí, the largest in the world.