Cuba cigars, like fine wines, are many people’s passion in life, whether for the odd special occasion or as part of a daily routine. Unlike the wine making industry, the processes involved in the makeup of Cuba cigars have not changed. From the time the tobacco seeds are planted to the time the crop is harvested by hand, each plant will have been visited around 150 times. This is just the beginning of the story. We would like to introduce you to this fascinating and highly skilled industry. Similar to the different wine regions of France, there are five tobacco regions in Cuba of which two grow all the tobacco for use in export quality cigars; Partidos just south of Havana and most important Vuelta Abajo in Pinar del Rio province in the west of Cuba. Our unique tour concentrates on Pinar del Rio and Havana which gives you a view of all aspects of the cigar industry.
The Cuba Cigar Tour includes: 4+*Hotel accommodation in Old Havana (4 nights) Breakfast daily + Cigar tasting and Dinners as per itinerary + English speaking driver – tour guide + Sightseeing as per itinerary + All Land Transportation as per itinerary + Destination representative assistance at airport and hotels.
DAY 01– AIRPORT – HAVANA
Private Transfer to selected hotel. Check in . Free evening.
DAY 02– HAVANA
Breakfast. Private tour to a Havana Cigar Factory. At the factory you will see all of the processes involved in the production of this high quality hand rolled cigars. It is important to visit the factory early as this is when all of the processes can be viewed. You will have the chance to try and buy their cigars in the factory shops. After the factory tour there will be a tour of Old Havana stopping at various cigar shops in order for you to see which cigars are available for purchase and give you opportunity to try cigars you may not have seen before. Meet one of the best cigar rollers in the city and taste one of his cigars. Return to the hotel. Free afternoon. Dinner at a local restaurant.
DAY 03– HAVANA – PINAR DEL RIO
Breakfast. Depart for the Vuelta Abajo, the top tobacco region in Cuba. Here you will visit San Juan y Martinez and San Luis, the two villages the region is centered around. You will visit the covered tobacco plantations that grow the very smooth leaves used for the wrapper of the cigars. We will also show you the curing and fermenting processes that ensure that the flavor of the Cuban Cigar is the best in the world. Lunch at a local restaurant. Visit to Viñales Valley. Return to Havana. Free evening.
DAY 04– HAVANA
Breakfast. Free day to explore the city. Suggestions: Tour and buying cigars at a factory or a relaxed day at the “Club Havana” beach club. Cigar tasting and dinner at a local restaurant. A cigar tasting is carried out in much the same way as a wine tasting. A selection of cigars is provided after the dinner; first you will light one and after about fifteen minutes put the cigar down to rest. A palate freshening snack is provided, followed by the same procedure with the second cigar, then another palate freshener and the final cigar. After having tried all three cigars you can then decide which one you prefer – and probably smoke all three anyway.
DAY 05– HAVANA – AIRPORT
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport.
1469.00 USD – 1979.00 CAD land only per person based on two adults in one room including taxes (Land only).
Supplement applies from Dec 20 to Jan 03
ADD ON: VARADERO AIRPORT – HAVANA HOTEL – VARADERO AIRPORT SHARED LAND TRANSFER: 50.00 per person
CIGARS –A BRIEF EXPLANATION: The Havana cigar is made up of a combination of five different tobacco leaves. Three, the Volado, Seco and Ligero make up the filler; the blend of these three determines the flavor. The Capote is a rough binder over the filler and the Capa is the exquisite leaf which provides the Havana cigar with its smooth silky finish. These five leaves are harvested from two very different types of tobacco plant; Corojo which is grown under acres of white muslin cloth to screen the sun and ensure the smooth silky finish required for the Capa(wrapper) leaf, and Criollo which is grown in full sunlight and provides the other four types of leaf. The harvesting of the leaves is carried out by hand. The leaves are sewn together in pairs and hung over wooden poles (100 leaves per pole) and placed in traditional palm thatched tobacco curing houses where the curing process takes place over fifty days. After the leaves have been cured they are sent to the fermentation house and stacked in piles for the first fermentation of around thirty days. This is followed by the stripping out of the stems from the leaves and a second more intense fermentation of around sixty days. The leaves are then placed on airing racks for a few days to allow them to lose excess moisture before they are packed into Tercios (bales bounding palm tree bark) for storage prior to being transported to the factories in Havana. Once the Corojo Capa (wrapper) leaves arrive in the factories they are graded by color, size and texture before being sent to the Galera (cigar rolling area).
The four Criollo leaves are aged for different periods depending on type. After they have been deemed perfect and blended into the right mix by the Master Blender, they are sent to the Galera for rolling into cigars. This is a very simplified description of the processes involved. In order to truly understand them we suggest you come and see for yourself. The Cuban tobacco season is from mid September to the end of March.