Cuba, near Havana, in the 1940’s. Mostly on the water.
Most of the novella takes place in the old man’s boat out on the sea. Hence the title The Old Man and the Sea, not The Old Man and His Shack, or The Old Man and the Fishing Village. Santiago has to do battle not only with the fish, but also with the elements, as he faces the sun (hurts his eyes) and the night (too cold for comfort). The old man interacts with his environment, commenting frequently on the sun, moon, and stars.