My Cigar Experience in Cuba
When you hear “Cigar and Cuba” in the same sentence visions of great cigars and people that will do almost anything for you come to mind. Many people expect a Cuban made cigar to be the best smoke they have ever had, and that is what I thought too. While traveling to Cuba recently I noticed that they promote three main products to tourists: Cigars, Rum and Coffee. I was most interested in cigars so I focused my search on finding least popular brands for a good price.
After we arrived and settled in I noticed that there were 5 main cigars that the resort stocked: Cohiba, Romeo Y Jullieta, H. Uppman, Montecristo and Guantanamera. While these are all good choices for tourists, I noticed there were no prices on anything (which is a major turnoff for me) and the two ladies behind the counter were annoyed when I asked for help. It was very obvious the they try to push the Guantanamera brand as they had a big stack of cigars front and center. Against my better judgment I purchased 2 cigars from them:
- Punch Corona Cost: 7 CUC.
- H. Uppman Coronas Junior Cost: 7 CUC
My next search came when we booked a day trip to Habana, I thought for sure that I would find a vast selection of cigars in Cuba’s capital city. The tour took us to 2 cigar shops which were both Caracol Tabacco shops which had more variety than the resort. I had 15 minutes to make some choices before we moved on so I bought:
- San Cristobal La Habana Cost: 4 CUC
Note: I do not recommend shopping for cigars during with a tour group, everything seemed staged when we got to the shops. A pack of 4 cigars for 65 CUC is ridiculous in my opinion and they had boxes of cigars opened on the counter waiting for the tour group. The customer service was not great as the clerk seemed very annoyed.
La Casa Del Habano, Veradaro.
On our last trip into Veradaro I made a quick stop into La Casa Del Habano in search of a Bolivar or Davidoff to add to my collection. I have heard some bad stories about this particular location but they had a wide variety of smokes to choose from and I was happy to pickup a few good cigars:
- Romeo Y Julieta Coronitas Cost: 5 CUC
- Fonseca Arana Cost: 4 CUC
The Peso and the Gardner
My best deal on my trip to Cuba came from a gardner that I befriended at the resort we stayed at. A few days into our trip I struck up a conversation about Reloba peso cigars and where I could purchase them. He new exactly what I wanted and brought them to me at the resort the next day.
Over all I was happy with my cigar experience in Cuba. My only disappointment was how much the customer service lacked. They seemed annoyed when asked questions and very impatient when I was making a purchase. I understand they see a thousand tourists a day but a smile would be nice. This was my first trip to Cuba and will definitely be going back.
Cigar Travel Tips
Before traveling to Cuba visit Cigar Afficionado and make a small list of cigars with a rating of 90+, the amount of cigars in Cuba is very overwhelming and a list will help keep you focused on what you want.