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La Terraza de Cojímar: A Window to the Caribbean

Wrapped in a fascinating setting of fishermen and the charm of old times, La Terraza de Cojímar, or Cojímar's Terrace in English, features the attractions of a bar-restaurant by the Caribbean Sea.

A must for fishermen and workers linked to marine activities many years ago, the silent walls of the establishment have heard the most unbelievable stories from ordinary people devoted to laboring in the deep blue of the Gulf.

In 1925, Don Manuel García Rodríguez opened the establishment as a mixed grocery store under the name of "Las Arecas", on the Calzada Real de la Reina Isabel II, which was the oldest street at the time in the coastal town of Cojímar.

With the passage of time, the place became a small restaurant for fishermen and travelers, until Salvador Blanco, who gave the establishment its current name and made it famous with the involuntary support of U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway, bought it.

It was in La Terraza where the American novelist met Anselmo Hernández, the fisherman who inspired him to write one of his most famous novels, "The Old Man and the Sea".

Winner of the 1954 Literature Nobel Prize, Hemingway was first taken to La Terraza by Gregorio Fuentes, the skipper of his boat and a friend, and soon became a regular customer at the restaurant, which he often mentioned in his works.

In that regard, he described his first visit to this cozy place, saying that he arrived "in a bright spring morning, where the wind was blowing from the east through the open restaurant".

"Through the open terrace I look at the sea, deep blue with white crests, crossed by fishing boats searching for dorado", he wrote.

On many occasions, Hemingway's boat, "Pilar", was closely followed by visitors who eventually found the writer while he was enjoying a delicious seafood lunch or drinking his favorite cocktail, daiquiri, in a setting full of anecdotes, hopes and frustrations.

La Terraza underwent a complete restoration in 1991, and ever since it has become a must for international tourism and has received two awards at the Madrid Tourism Fair as one of Cuba's best restaurants, although the best moments of its history have never been forgotten.

The main hall keeps its big windows, through which customers can enjoy a panoramic view of the sea, with fishermen and boats embarked on their daily work, or just oscillating under the influence of the waves at the pier.

Hemingway and his friends have overcome the passing of time and they are present in such cocktails as Don Gregorio and Daiquiri Hemingway, which are indispensable companions of one of the best seafood menus, in a comfortable setting that respects epochs, as if waiting for the return of the writer who never comes.

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