Even if you don't know cigars, you know that the king of the mountain is the Cuban cigars. And for those in the know, their is no premium cigar brand like Cohiba. Made from a specially grown and fermented tobacco and rolled by hand in Havana's Partagas and El Laguito factories, this brand has long had such international pull among aficionados that a copycat American company began making their own in the Dominican Republic once relationships soured between the U.S. and Cuba.
A brand that began with Castro himself upon discovering a local cigar-maker through one of his bodyguards, you'll find it hard to see cigar rollers in action nowadays unless you visit a lesser known factory. Partagas closed its factory doors in 2011 and has served as both a discount shop and a museum since, while tours to El Laguito, where it all began post-revolution in the Miramar neighborhood, have been limited to special visitors or occasions. But with these two options down, where else is there to go to see the cigar-making process at its best?
High end cigar brands Romeo y Julieta and H. Upmann may not be at the same level as Cohiba, but at least you can take a walking tour through the mixed facilities and see skilled worker at their craft and get a sense of cigar history from a knowledgeable guide. You'll pay 10 CUC for a chance to see a few different rooms; expect to share the space with a few cruise ship travelers.
Keep an eye on this page for updates on tour availability, for there is talk of Partagas opening its factory doors again for tours once renovations are finished, while the actual H. Upmann factory is supposed to also allow visitors as soon as its own renovations are completed.
Note:The Romeo y Julieta factory is marked on the map.