The Hemingway Marina is the second largest marina in Cuba, and boasts enough portage to hold up to 400 vessels, though in reality only about 100 slips are currently usable. It’s run by the government and serves as an exciting place for local activities, a meeting ground for yachters and a fun historical museum of sorts for Hemingway fans who want a look at how he lived.
A Bit of History
Most people haven’t heard much about Cuba’s nautical history, and that’s a shame since it goes all the way back to colonial times. The very first Cuban sailboat race occurred in 1887 and it was held by the Havana Yacht Club to help encourage excitement around boating and encourage new members. During the 1930’s Cuba was home to a large shipyard that built vessels out of the Almendares river along the shores of Havana, and by the 40’s Cuba was home to hundreds of yachts and recreational fishing vessels from around the world.
The Marina started out as the Marina Barlovento Complex and after the revolution in 1959 was renamed the Hemingway Marina after Ernest Hemingway, the famed American author and journalist who enjoyed a home in San Francisco de Paula Cuba. The Marina started as an urban development project in 1953 and on its completed it boasted a total of 4,500 meters of canals lines with houses and docks for yacht owners.
Since the original construction more than 50 years have passed and over that time most of the homes have been replaced by a series of bungalows. Two different hotels, the “Old Man and the Sea” and “Villa Paraiso” have gone in, providing a place for some boaters and tourists to stay while on their trips.
Entering the Marina
Entering the marina is a challenge and it should only be attempted in calm waters if it can be helped. The entrance is very narrow, and the channel has shallow coral on either side that boats risk running into. Entering the channel at night is even more difficult and the guide lights are sometimes hard to tell apart from the city lights off in the distance.
The Hemingway Marina provides a range of services that can be counted on by boaters from all around. It has docks that can hold vessels up to 230 feet in length and 12 feet deep. Both fuel and fresh water is supplied at the marina to sailors looking to restock before heading out once again. There is shore power available in both 110 and 220 volt varieties. Those looking at an extended stay will also enjoy the phone service and Internet access available at the marina. The site is protected by around-the-clock security to help keep boats secure and there is a ship repairs service to deal with troubled boats. Anyone looking to relax a bit will enjoy the pool and Jacuzzi nearby and the ship’s store has a range of other beneficial supplies.
The Hemingway Marina is home to one Yacht club the Hemingway International Yacht Club which we are proud members. The club has been open for more than 23 years now, and is home for more than 2,000 different members. It hosts a variety of exciting boat races and also has a fishing tournament off shore that members can participate in. Visiting the club, watching some of their races and enjoying the Yacht tours is a lot of fun and an activity that should be considered while in Havana. Below is a photo of myself, Commodore Escrich and Tony Castillo of our team.
Learning More about Hemingway
A favorite activity for tourists that take tours of the marina is to learn more about Ernest Hemingway’s house and to have a look at the bar he used to attend, which is still standing and open. Taking a look at Hemingway’s old house is an exciting experience that gives you a look into the writer’s life, and drinking at the old bar offers another connection to the past. Hemingway greatly enjoyed fishing in Cuba and reportedly brought friends and colleagues out to the area regularly for fishing activities. His old home is open to tourists interested in learning a bit more about him, and it’s possible to take a tour right through the home looking at Hemingway’s library and his writing area where most work was completed while over in Cuba.
Any trip to Cuba should make a quick stop at the Marina to learn a bit more about the rich nautical history of the country. It’s a fun destination with regular races and fishing tournaments, but also a way to connect with the past. If you need any assistance or information about the marina or cruising to Cuba just send us a note at Info@Travelguidecuba.com. We have helped many boaters travel to Cuba and expect next season’s traffic to be record breaking.