While many expect to find references to Cuban revolutionaries, many don’t expect to find so many references to another figure—Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway lived in Havana for over 20 years, and his books still flood Havana’s many secondhand book markets.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Hemingway has a museum of his own. According to the Cuban government, after Hemingway’s suicide his house was given to them, they restored the home and reopened it in 2007. Now visitors can tour its rooms, with Hemingway’s original furniture, decorations, and bookshelves left almost untouched.
Finca La Vigia, Finca Vigía km12.5, La Habana, Cuba, +53 7 691 0809
For those who don’t have the patience for exhibits about art and literature, here’s a topic that might catch your interest—rum. Cuba is known for its rum, and Havana Club shows visitors why. The tour lasts approximately half an hour and takes visitors through the history and process of making Cuban rum. The best part: there are samples at the end.
Museo del Ron Havana Club, Havana, Cuba, +54 11 4413 7126
The Museum of the City, also called Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (Palace of the Captain Generals), is a great stop for lovers of architecture. It is a 1700s palace built in the Cuban Baroque style. The middle of the palace houses a large courtyard surrounded by rooms. Many these rooms are still filled with items from 18th century Cuba such as carriages and cannons.
The museum offers visitors three payment options: 3 CUC/USD to walk the building, 5 CUC/USD for an audio guide, and 8 CUC/USD for a guided tour. There aren’t many exhibits in the museum, or signs and descriptions. Still, its location makes it a convenient stop for visitors. Its central location at Plaza de Armas is right next to Havana’s Bookseller’s Market, and it’s walking distance from all the attractions in Old Havana.
If you’re fascinated by Cuba’s antique cars, Havana’s classic car museum—Depósito del Automóvil—is well worth a visit. The museum features over 50 vehicles from 1905–1989 that exemplify the history of the Cuban automobile industry. Some of these cars are extremely rare; the 1905 Cadillac being the oldest existing automobile on the island. There is also a collection of classic Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Other cars reveal history through the people who drove them. Camilo Cienfuego was a Cuban revolutionary who fought beside Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. His Oldsmobile is one of the cars on display, still parading its iconic mint-green. Fidel Castro’s 1977 motorcycle, a Ducati 900SS, is also on display. Consisting of two large rooms, the museum will only take about an hour to walk through. Its location in Old Havana makes it a very convenient stop, and at only 1 CUC/USD for admission, it’s affordable, too.
Many visitors are surprised to find out that Cuba has one of most impressive collections of French history in the world. Despite it being a Spanish colony, Havana houses the most extensive Napoleonic museum in the Caribbean. With over 8,000 items the museum, it spans from the French Revolution to the Second Empire. Items include suits, coins, military equipment, art, and a large library. One of the most famous pieces is a copy of Napoleon’s death mask.
The museum is connected to the University of Havana. Most visitors spend an hour or two walking around the exhibits. Many of the displays don’t have descriptions, so if you’re interested in the details it is worth paying for a guided English tour.
Napoleonic Museum, Plaza de la Revolucion, Havana, Cuba, +53 7 879 1412