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Finca Vigia picture in Havana
Bruce Tuten / Flickr

Details

  • Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.2
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.5
  • Facilities
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Havana is known for a lot of things – vintage automobiles, lively locals, beautiful buildings – but one individual who has remained just as synonymous with Cuba's capital for so long (aside from Castro) is Ernest Hemingway. The world-renowned writer lived in Havana for a whopping 22 years with his wives (one divorced) and dozens of pets, even while the United States' relationship with Cuba was starting to crumble. Finca Vigía, which translated means the "lookout farm," was the place where Hemingway wrote a great chunk of one of his most famous works, "The Old Man and the Sea." He was also known to host many VIPs, including Hollywood heavyweights, diplomats and other writers at Finca Vigía.

When Hemingway passed, his home was donated to the government by his wife, and things have remained largely untouched since. Upon visiting, travelers are able to catch a glimpse of the writer's former quarters, which includes his artwork, hunting souvenirs and his famous typewriter. Visitors can also peep his vast book collection spread throughout, which is said to include 9,000 titles. In the garden, visitors will run into Hemingway's dog cemetery and his beloved fishing boat, Pilar. Guests can also enter and climb his backyard tower, which affords great views of the surrounding neighborhood.

It's important to know that travelers aren't actually allowed to go inside his house (for preservation purposes) but can view the interiors from open windows and doors. Although some recent visitors were disappointed with this rule, many reported that it's easy to see the interiors of the house from the provided vantage points. Guests of Hemingway's home were impressed with how well-maintained the property was in comparison to the rest of Havana. With how intact everything still is, some reported feeling as if Hemingway never left.

Finca Vigía is located about 8 miles southeast of Old Havana in the small town of San Francisco de Paula. Admission prices range from 3 to 5 convertible pesos per person ($3 to $5). The best way to get to Hemingway's house is by taxi.

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Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

#2 Old Havana (Habana Vieja) Skipping Old Havana is tantamount to missing Parliament if you're in London or the Eiffel Tower if you're in Paris. This picturesque neighborhood is not just iconic to ... Read more » Jose Manuel Azcona / Getty Images

#3 Plaza Vieja Of all the picturesque plazas that dot Old Havana, Plaza Vieja is considered to be the neighborhood's main square. The cobblestone-lined plaza is flanked by brightly colored baroque and ... Read more » Jacques van Dinteren / Getty Images

#4 Plaza de la Catedral If you're one of those travelers who believes that if you've seen one plaza you've seen them all, then you clearly haven't been to Plaza de ... Read more » Rosita So Image / Getty Images

#5 Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana) This museum houses the largest collection of art in the country and is separated into two buildings; one for Cuban art housed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, and (two ... Read more » El Toñio / Wikicommons

#6 Museum of the Revolution (Museo de la Revolucion) There is no better place for a crash course on the country's history than the Museo de la Revolución. The museum chronicles the life and times before the revolution ... Read more » Lorne Resnick / Getty Images

#7 Finca Vigia Havana is known for a lot of things – vintage automobiles, lively locals, beautiful buildings – but one individual who has remained just as synonymous with Cuba's capital for so long ... Read more » Bruce Tuten / Flickr

#8 Playas del Este After a couple of days touring the capital, you may find yourself in need of a break from the hustle and bustle. If so, seek a side trip to Playas ... Read more » tupungato / Getty Images

#9 Plaza de la Revolucion Of all the plazas that populate Havana, politicos can't miss this one. Plaza de la Revolución is proof that, despite recent lifted restrictions, Castro's Cuba is still very ... Read more » M G Therin Weise / Getty Images

El Malecón picture in Havana
Old Havana picture in Havana
Plaza Vieja picture in Havana
Plaza de la Catedral picture in Havana
Museum of Fine Arts picture in Havana
Museum of the Revolution picture in Havana
Finca Vigia picture in Havana
Playas del Este picture in Havana
Plaza de la Revolucion picture in Havana
El Malecón picture in Havana
Old Havana picture in Havana
Plaza Vieja picture in Havana
Plaza de la Catedral picture in Havana
Museum of Fine Arts picture in Havana
Museum of the Revolution picture in Havana
Finca Vigia picture in Havana
Playas del Este picture in Havana
Plaza de la Revolucion picture in Havana

This 5-mile-long seaside boulevard is popular among locals and tourists. To experience El Malecón like the locals, visit at night when the Habaneros come out to play.  Buena Vista Images / Getty Images

Old Havana is not only considered to be the heart of the capital, but it's also a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Jose Manuel Azcona / Getty Images

Considered the city's main square, Plaza Vieja is lined with restaurants, art galleries and some quirky art, in addition to its colorful architecture. Jacques van Dinteren / Getty Images

This plaza is a favorite among visitors for its stunning 18th-century cathedral. To avoid crowds, plan your trip when cruise ships aren't docked. Rosita So Image / Getty Images

El Toñio / Wikicommons

Artifacts on display at this museum include blood-stained uniforms from the revolution, a tank used in the Bay of Pigs and bullet holes in the walls from an attempted assassination. Lorne Resnick / Getty Images

Ernest Hemingway called Havana home for a whopping 22 years. Although visitors cannot enter his former home, travelers say views from the open doors and windows offer excellent vantage points. Bruce Tuten / Flickr

Five miles of Caribbean beaches lie just 11 miles east of Havana. The shoreline consists of six separate beaches, each with a different personality and set of amenities.   tupungato / Getty Images

An estimated 1 million Cuban citizens gather at this plaza on International Workers' Day on May 1. Annual festivities include speeches from top officials, including the Castros. M G Therin Weise / Getty Images

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