I am not a cigar aficionado by any means but I do enjoy a good cigar once and awhile. While planing my last trip to Mexico I had envisioned hand rolled cigars for pennies but that wasn’t exactly the case. Cuban cigars were on my must buy list but finding authentic smokes proved to be more challenging than I thought. Everywhere I went someone had a box of Cohiba’s for sale, most of them were fakes.
I did do some research before my trip and was surprised with the amount of Cuban forgeries there are in Playa Del Carmen. It seemed like everyone on 5th ave were selling “authentic” Cuban cigars to the point were it was getting annoying, I will admit they did get me to stop and look but they were obviously trying to take advantage of uninformed tourists. Play Del Carmen isn’t the only place on the Quintana Roo Peninsula that has this problem as you can find fakes in Cancun, Cozumel and Puerto Morelos. To avoid getting scammed I recommend not buying Cubans at all in mexico, unless it’s from a reputable shop. Some of the most popular Cuban brands that get counterfeited are: Cohiba, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey, Romeo y Julieta and Montecristo. The best way to avoid buying fake cigars on vacation is to bring your own from home.
If you want a great website for information on cigar forgeries visit http://www.cigaraficionado.com/counterfeit.
5th Ave. Cigar Shops
Some of the most popular cigar shops on fifth avenue are Morgans Cigar Shop, Lauro’s Cigar Factory and La Casa Del Habano. Each shop has it’s own niche they all give you a different experience while shopping for the perfect smoke.
Lauro’s Cigar Factory: I bought most of my cigars from Lauro’s mainly because I wasn’t pressured when I was looking around. When you have been hassled by every street vendor on 5th for hours it’s a nice change. They hand rolled Mexican cigars on location and have a wide variety of other cigars. I found the prices comparable to other smoke shops and their cigar suggestions were spot on.
Morgans Cigar Shop: Another popular place to buy smokes with knowledgeable staff and plenty of selection. I found their prices a bit high but the place was packed so people didn’t mind too much. If you are looking for a reputable cigar shop that won’t sell you fakes visit Morgans.
La Casa Del Habano: If you are looking for real Cuban cigars La Casa is the place to go. The staff could be a bit more knowledgeable and I found the prices 15-20% than other cigar shops. They have a bar which serves a deadly a Mojito and a sitting area outside so you can people watch. Cubans, Mojito’s and Mexico what could be better?
- Senor appearing from a back alley to sell you “real” Cuban cigars?….Red Flag?
- Many of the fake Cuban cigars come in a box with a transparent lid to prevent a buyer from taking a closer look…….Red Flag!
- Buying “real” Cubans from a beach vendor or open air market?….Red Flag!
- Cigar bands bad quality……Red Flag!
- If the price is too good to be true…..Red Flag!