You will find the answers about why the famous writer and journalist chose to spend almost 22 years of his life in Cuba. What were the origins of the special connection the man had with this country? He considered himself what he called a "Cubano sato" (garden variety Cuban).
In 1940 Hemingway, with his new wife Martha, purchased a home outside Havana, Cuba. The Hemingway's named the site Finca Vigia, or "lookout farm." They shared their home with dozens of Hemingway's beloved cats, as well as trophies from many successful hunts and fishing expeditions.
During these times in Havana, Hemingway used to visit El Floridita many times, a friendly restaurant-bar in which the writer enjoyed many a daiquiri while taking the opportunity of talking with people from all over the world: sailors, diplomats, writers, doctors, sportsmen, FBI agents, bank managers, and so many others. It's in El Floridita where you will find a life-sized bronze statue of Hemingway leaning with his elbow on the mahogany counter top.
There were also other places in Havana that the novelist visited frequently too such as the La Bodeguita del Medio restaurant, where on the wall he wrote: "My mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita."
But the main secret about Hemingway's connection with Cuba is related with his literary works. Hemingway wrote more novels in Cuba than anywhere else and his most famous pieces. "I always had good luck while writing in Cuba..." he wrote in a letter. It was here where he completed For Whom the Bells Toll and where he wrote Through the River and Among the Trees. The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway's most famous Cuban novel was also completed in Cuba alongside Paris Was a Party. Islands in the Stream, where part of the plot takes place in the country, was another of his works, as well as an unfinished novel entitled The Eden Garden. Shortly after Hemingway learned he'd won the Nobel Prize, he said in an interview: "This is a prize that belongs to Cuba, because my work was both thought up and written in Cuba, with my people from Cojimar where I'm a citizen. Through all the translations, this adopted homeland where I have my books and my home is always present." Cojimar citizens admired and loved the novelist, calling him "Papa".
During this tour, you will have the opportunity to visit Cojimar, talk with a native fisherman related with Hemingway and lunch in a traditional local restaurant. The Old Man and the Sea, deserving of a Pulitzer Prize in 1954, is a Cuban chronicle based on a real character: a Cojimar fisherman named Anselmo Hernandez. The novel's anecdote is well known - "Man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed, but not defeated." The novel's setting is the sea and the old man's fight against the shark that eventually snatched his catch; man's struggle for life. "I tried to build a real old man, a real youngster, a real sea, a real fish and real sharks. But if I built them well and real enough, that could mean a lot of things. When you write well and sincerely about something, later on that something means a lot of other things."
Hemingway's will, as the novelist desired, was read in Havana, the city that caught him and became his endless truly love.
Please Note: Lunch choices are either fish, paella, chicken or pork. No entrance allowed inside Hemingway house, however you are able to view inside from all open windows, take pictures and walk the estate. Not able to accommodate guests who are wheelchair confined or who use motorized scooters.
Important Information for Guests Cruising to Cuba: People-to-people travel is one of the ways for Americans to visit Cuba and gives you an opportunity to discover Cuba through its people and from a local perspective.
All guests must complete a certification form which sets forth and confirms that they will be participating in OFAC compliant activities. These activities may include excursions arranged by guests themselves or provided by the cruise lines.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (OFAC) administers and enforces the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR). Please be advised that guests will not be able to board their vessel without having first completed the form.
A valid passport is required for all guests to travel to Cuba. We recommend guests review the passport requirements of travel to Cuba from their home country and that the expiration of your passport be greater than six months from the date of your voyage.
A link will be provided to you with the form upon booking your excursion, full details will be provided with your electronic ticket.
Reviewer: Dr. william d young
We were provided with the best tour guide ever. He was very knowledgeable about the subject, but more importantly his communication/human relation skills are superb. Compared to our guide on our second tour who was below par and showed no interest in her job, he created in us a desire to come back and see more. With that being said I will book future tours with SHORE. We are planning a trip to South Africa and Dubai in March/April 2018
Reviewer: Lauren Monsen
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Cuba. I had a nice tour guide and driver. Although they were not highly versed in English and I speak almost no Spanish, the driver had a Samsung translator, which helped us communicate later in the trip. The Hemingway estate was kept as it was when he was last there. No one is allowed inside the home, but the windows are all open so people can see inside and take photos. The grounds of the estate are lovely and makes you want to stay awhile! We had a nice lunch at a local restaurant - food was delicious. We also stopped at a scenic sight overlooking the water and 2 bars that Hemingway frequented. I would like to return to Cuba and see more. It is fascinating and the people are warm and friendly!
We felt like we had a private tour since our party of four (4) were the only ones on this day. Our guide and driver were excellent for the tour. We had a private taxi driver for the entire tour along with our guide that answered a ton of questions we had related to Cuba in general. The Hemingway tour was great as we visited his home and favorite watering hole on the island. It was really cool to see the home that has basically been left as it was from the time he lived there. You can't go inside but each room has an open door and view from the yard. We also had lunch in the fishing village that inspired Hemingway novel "Old man in the sea". The food course was really good and was part of our tour package which was great. Overall I highly recommend this tour for any visitors to Cuba and Hemingway fans in general.