Best Things to Do in Cuba: A Guide for Cuban Cigar Enthusiasts
Vintage cars on the streets of Havana, Cuba.
Travelling to Cuba anytime soon? We've got you covered! In this article, we've compiled some very exciting things you can do in Cuba as a Cuban Cigars enthusiast. We have to admit, we haven't covered every single thing you can do in the country, but instead, we're providing you with our TOP suggestions for your itinerary. So, without further ado here they are:
"EXPLORE THE CAPITAL, HAVANA."
Before we dive into visiting all-things cigar farms and factories, it's worth enjoying the city of Havana and what it has to offer! When you first arrive in Cuba, you're most likely to come out of the Jose Marti International Airport, which is just a short drive from Havana. The city is beautifully vibrant, quirky and just like nothing else in the world. Here, you can explore the wide range of cuisines, discover art deco buildings and meet high-spirited locals. There are literally hundreds of things you can do here, but here are just a few:
VINTAGE VEHICLES - A great way to explore the city is by hiring a ''vintage vehicle", yes, we mean those colourful cars you see in 1960's American films. Not only is it a fun activity to do, but it's a great photo opportunity - it's not every day you get to drive a vintage Chevrolet.
OLD HAVANA - The old quarter of the city is definitely a must-visit. Honestly, every single souvenir or postcard you encounter is likely to be of the Old Havana quarter - and we can't blame them for choosing such an iconic place to display. Here, you can spot venerable buildings like the Catedral San Cristobal or the Museo de la Ciudad, without a doubt, you can't help but pull out your camera to take a snap.
RELAX ON A TERRACE - But maybe instead of riding vehicles, you may prefer to find somewhere to relax. We suggest you head up to a terrace bar, like the one at the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, it features an infinity pool, sun loungers, a bar, seating and glass fencing. We must say, the view is absolutely spectacular from the terrace. So, go find a seat, order a fresh cocktail, and perhaps fire up a hefty Montecristo Cigar just to celebrate the fact that you've finally arrived in Cuba!
For more things you can do in Havana, make sure you read our Havana Travel Guide.
The El Laguito 'Cohiba' Factory in Havana.
"VISIT A CIGAR FACTORY"
Now for the bit you're all waiting for - visiting a cigar factory! As cigar-enthusiasts, there's nothing more exciting than watching a real-life torcedor rolling your favourite cigars in front of your very own eyes. Every single day, thousands of premium Cuban cigars are wrapped to perfection by these skilled craftsmen. Then those cigars will be immediately packaged to be sold abroad by La Casa del Habanos stores, or even online retailers like us.
LA CORONA - A great factory to visit if you're in Havana is the 'La Corona' factory. The factory is known to create some of the most well known Cuban Cigar Brands in the industry, such as Romeo y Julieta Cigars. If you do visit for a tour, they will show you the entire process from leaf selection, batching them and even visiting the roller's stations to watch them roll up a few stogies. And if you're lucky, they might even offer you a free cigar while your there.
EL LAGUITO - Another great factory to visit is El Laguito Cohiba Factory. Now, if you're a Cohiba Cigars superfan, then this factory is a must-visit while you're in Cuba! Think about all your favourite Cohibas, whether it's the Cohiba Behike 52 or the Cohiba Panetelas, they make it all here. Just like the other tour, you will be shown how cigars are made and how torcedores work. We've actually visited the factory before, and rest assured, it has a wonderful atmosphere that we're sure you'll enjoy.
A view of Viñales, Cuba.
"VISIT A TOBACCO FARM"
Now that you've visited a cigar factory, why not visit a tobacco farm? By visiting a farm, you get to discover how the tobacco leaves used for cigars are cultivated. The best place to travel to is Vuelta Abajo, Cuba. The Vuelta Abajo region is the tobacco growing mecca of Cuba - it is recognised to have the best soil for planting tobacco, and therefore, the key ingredient to many of your well-loved stogies!
VIÑALES - One amazing place you can travel to is Viñales, a beautiful location in the far-eastern parts of the island. Here, you can find many tobacco 'vegas' or farms that are willing to give a tour around the drying barns and plantations, where guajiros (Cuban agricultural workers) can explain how the leaves are dried and fermented so that they are ready for rolling. While you're on the farm, you might even get the chance to be taught by one of the farmers on how to roll your own cigar! While in Viñales, you can also ride some horses around the area while being amazed by those tall limestone monoliths called 'mogotes'.
HECTOR LUIS PIETRO - A great farm to visit is Hector Luis Pietro's plantation. Hector Luis Pietro is a young farmer from Pinar del Rio that grows beautiful cigar tobacco and has been named 'Cuba's Rising Star' by Cigar Aficionado. Here, you will be educated on the planting, growing, harvesting, drying and rolling of the tobacco - all very interesting stuff. There are actually a couple of tour guides that can take you to this farm.
HOYO DE MENA - When we attended the 21st Festival Del Habano event, we had the chance to visit the 'Hoyo de Mena' farm. We have to admit, the view of the whole plantation was absolutely stunning! To find out more about our trip, do read our blog post covering the "21st Festival Del Habano" event. Arriving there, you can expect a tour of the plantation, the drying huts as well as learn many interesting things about the tobacco-planting culture in Cuba.
These are just a few examples of the many farms you can visit in Pinar del Rio. But with any farm you visit in Cuba, we're sure they will provide you with an worthwhile, educational experience.
La Casa del Habano Store in Cuba.
"SHOP, SHOP, SHOP!"
There's no better place to purchase cigars and accessories than in Cuba. Step into one of the many cigar shops, and you are welcomed to a plethora of Cuban cigar boxes and accessories on show. We suggest you only visit shops that have been accredited by the Government or Habanos S.A. And to be extra safe; we recommend you to stick to 'La Casa del Habano' stores. Here, you can find all your favourite stogies like the Partagas Serie D No. 4, and some handy dandy Cigar Accessories. Other than shops, you can also purchase some cigars in cigar factories and cigar farms. But no matter what you do, don't buy cigars straight from the street. Many vendors in Havana sell fake Cuban cigars, and what makes it worse is that it can be hard to tell between the two. Therefore, we recommend you read our guide on "How to Spot Counterfeit Cuban Cigars" just in case!
We hope that this short guide has either inspired or provided you with ideas on what to do while you're in Cuba. For more interesting articles about all-things Cuban cigars, check out our blog: