Havana, Cuba is regarded as the birthplace of high-end cigars. If you are like many cigar connoisseurs, you have probably dreamed about visiting this enchanting city and having an up close and personal experience at some of the area’s premier cigar factories. Fortunately, the dream can be a reality, as many of the city’s top factories offer tours of their facilities and welcome visitors from various parts of the world.
Although some individuals are under the impression that the Partágas Factory is the only one open to visitors, this is not the case. You can tour the La Corona and the Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factories as well.
Cuban cigar factories have a life of their own, and the moment you are hit with the intoxicating smell of Cuban tobacco, you will feel as if you have entered another world. The following are some great choices if you are planning a Havana vacation and want to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience touring these establishments:
Cuba’s best known–and arguably most popular–cigar manufacturing plant is the 166-year-old Partagás Factory. It is frequented by tourists on a regular basis, and although plans to close the factory for extensive renovations were discussed, as of February 2017, the establishment is still a working facility that will welcome you for a visit. You will be enchanted by this four-story structure with its oversized white and red authentic Fabrica de Tabacos Partagás sign. A grand establishment, its signature décor includes ornate shuttered windows and impressive balconies. You may need a bit of patience when standing outside, where you will almost certainly be approached by unscrupulous individuals attempting to sell counterfeit Cuban cigars, but seeing this impressive factory is well worth the wait.
Romeo y Julieta Factory
Now also the temporary home of H. Upmann, the Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factory is finally opened for tours for the first time in years. In addition to the entire production of Cuba’s H. Upmanns, the Romeo y Julieta Factory also produces several sizes of Cohiba, Montecristos, and of course, Romeo y Julietas. The establishment is very efficient and clean, and features a lovely, antique marble staircase, which is situated off to the left as you enter. You will also see a huge gold and black banner on which the words “H. Upmann Havana” are printed.
The rolling gallery is one of the largest in Havana, and features very large windows on both sides, which provide the workers with adequate light. Over 204 torcedores work at this factory, and you will likely enjoy how the gallery buzzes like a bee hive. It is also very colorful, as crisp yellow and bright blue are used to paint many of the cigar molds, in addition to the more conventional black or plain wood.
The factory is highly popular among visitors disembarking from cruise vessels, and therefore if you enjoy sailing the high seas, you may wish to schedule your visit to Cuba as part of a cruise.
La Corona Factory
Situated right around the corner from Cuba’s busiest baseball stadium is the La Corona Factory. Although its style is not much to look at when compared with Cuba’s other cigar factories, it is still a fun place to visit. The factory’s architecture is somewhat plain, but its workers make some of the best cigars in existence. In fact, it is the mother factory for Por Larrañaga, Flor de Cano, San Cristóbal de la Habana, Punch, Hoyo de Monterrey and Cuaba. The workers at this factory create cigars that are simply amazing, such as the multi-faceted Cuaba Salomon.
The rolling gallery is quite crowded and has a fascinating lighting system that you will probably find interesting: every roller station is illuminated with unique lights that are draped along on curved poles. The La Corona Factory also features a tasting room with cubicles designed for one cigar taster at a time. Although the factory itself is definitely worth a visit, you may wish to avoid the cigar shop that is adjacent to the establishment, as it is unfortunately plagued by cigar hustlers attempting to pawn off fake smokes on unsuspecting tourists.
Fortunately, whichever cigar factories you choose to visit you will not be disappointed. For this reason, if you like to travel and dream of enjoying an authentic Cuban cigar in the city where it was made, you should definitely consider a vacation in Cuba.