BEYOND THE HOUSE
Palms, fruit trees and other plants surround the mansion and make the visit even more agreeable. The site was affected by Hurricane Irma in September 2017 but, although the vegetation still shows signs of this, it was possible to reopen it in just two months.
Coming down from the house, located on the highest point of the hill, a path leads to the swimming pool, today empty, in which Hemingway used to swim half a mile when he finished writing. According to stories, the statuesque Ava Gardner swam in it naked.
Very nearby, in what in its time was a tennis court, rests the yacht Pilar with the Cuban and U.S. flags. Built with American black oak, on it Hemingway carried out his legendary fishing trips and chased after German submarines around the island.
Four of the dogs the novelist had on the estate also rest there, a love inherited by the museum workers, who keep several dogs as pets. However, there are no descendants of the more than 50 cats that got to live in the house under the protection of the writer and his wife.
Every day, hundreds of visitors go to Finca Vigía, many of them foreigners. For the Americans who travel to the island despite Washington’s legal impediments, it is almost an obligatory visit and the cruise ships include the place among their itineraries in Havana.
There they are attended by custodians, like the experienced María Elena Otero, with more than two decades in the museum, who explain to them about Hemingway’s life and take care of the treasure the U.S. Nobel prizewinner bequeathed to Cuba. A treasure that Finca Vigía proudly exhibits in the midst of the paradisiacal landscape which had already charmed the writer more than half a century ago.