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HomeCuba
Cuban Cigar Tours
Havana 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 make up of Havana 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 ONE WEEK CIGAR TOUR
The idea behind our one week tour is to give you a detailed knowledge of how cigars are produced from the seed to the factory, but also to introduce you to one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Cuba has a wide variety of beautiful scenery, and the people are delightful. During the tour there will be a number of occasions for you to do your own thing, to relax on the beach, go fishing, to ride horses or simply take in the scenery. You will see a combination of the spectacular mountain region of Pinar Del Rio and the colonial beauty of Havana. The hotels we have chosen will give you a good cigar tours feel for the local character and scenery, together with providing the best comfort available in each locality. Transport will be air-conditioned and cold drinks will always be available. Each tour will be limited to a maximum of twenty-four and minimum of ten people.
The Cigar Tour follows the path of the tobacco starting in Pinar Del Rio west of Havana. The prime tobacco area of San Juan y Martinez and San Luis are about a one hour drive south west of Hotel Los Jazmines. During the trip to these areas you will be shown all the processes involved from the seed to the second fermentation and packing into the ageing Tercios (bales) prior to transportation to the factories in Havana. In Pinar Del Rio the tour will be accompanied by a cigar tobacco expert. He will explain the processes step by step and give ample time for questions.
In Havana we have organised two cigar factory tours to thoroughly explain all the stages of the manufacturing process by demonstration. You will then visit the factory shops and have an opportunity to buy and try some of the different brands and styles of cigars.

Our tour culminates with a cigar tasting dinner on your last night in Havana. At the dinner we hope that one of the directors of a famous cigar factory will choose a combination of three cigars from his factory. 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.

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 flavour. 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 bound in 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 colour, 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. Our tours will run from January to March which is the period during which all the main processes can be seen.

Toby Brocklehurst Cuban Cigar Tours 2004

Saturday  

Time t.b.a

Arrive in Havana.
VIP Arrival Service at the airport which cuts out the long immigration queues, and gives you cold refreshing drinks while your luggage is collected and cleared through customs for you.
Transfer to the five star Parque Central Hotel in old Havana.
Welcome drinks, snacks and check-in at the hotel (included).

Sunday  
07.30 - 08.30am

Breakfast at the Parque Central and check out.

10.30am

Leave Havana to the Sierra del Rosario (mountains) west of Havana for a country lunch (included). There will be a chance to swim in the natural clear river pools near there.

3.00pm

Continue west to the spectacular Vinales Valley and Los Jazmines Hotel with its spectacular views overlooking the tobacco plantations.

7.30pm Meet in the hotel bar on the first floor for pre-dinner drinks (Included).
8.30pm A buffet dinner at Los Jazmines (Included) drinks paid for by you locally. Free evening, optional trip to Vinales to a local bar or cave night-club (paid for by you locally).
Monday  
  Breakfast at the Hotel.
9.30am Depart for Cayo Levisa a one-hour drive away for a boat crossing to the island and a relaxed day on the beach. Local fish lunch (included). Drinks are paid for by you locally.
5.00pm Return to Los Jazmines Hotel.
8.30pm Buffet dinner in the hotel restaurant (included), drinks paid for by you locally.
Tuesday  
  Breakfast at Los Jazmines.
9.00am 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 centred 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 flavour of the Cuban Cigar is the best in the world. After the tour of this area we will take you for a local lunch with local drinks (Included).
2.30pm Leave Pinar del Rio for the Parque Central Hotel in Havana.
5.00pm Check in to the Parque Central Hotel in Old Havana.
7.30pm Drinks in the lobby bar in the Parque Central Hotel (Included).
8.30pm A relaxed dinner in Old Havana including half a bottle of wine per head (Included).
Wednesday  
07.30-10.00am Breakfast at the Parque Central Hotel at your leisure.
10.00am Depart the hotel for a short orientation tour of Old Havana including some of Hemingway's favourite haunts. This will also be a good chance to buy your first Cuban Cigars in Havana, and try some of Hemingway's favourate Cuban Cocktails.

Continue on the famous Club Havana Beach Club for the rest of the afternoon. This includes your lunch but drinks are paid for by you locally.

4.30pm Return to the Parque Central Hotel.
7.00pm Meet in the bar for pre-dinner drinks (Included).
8.00pm Depart for La Guarida Restaurant for dinner, this super local privately owned restaurant with a great atmosphere and good food (Included). Followed by bars and clubs for those who wish, paid for by you locally.
Thursday  
7.30 - 9.00am Breakfast at the Parque Central Hotel
9.15am Depart for a Havana Cigar Factory tour. 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. After the factory tour you will have the chance to try and buy their cigars in the factory shops.

After the factory tour there will be a walk through 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. This walk will finish with drinks and lunch at the Condes de Villanueva (Included), a newly refurbished hotel that is dedicated to cigar smokers. The 9 rooms are named after tobacco regions and each one is individually decorated. The central courtyard is a great place to stop for a drink or lunch. On the mezzanine floor in the courtyard is a cigar shop and bar offering a good selection of lesser known cigars. Alberto, the manager, will be happy to introduce you to something you have not tried before.

Free afternoon and evening (paid for by you locally).

Friday  
7.30 - 10.00am Breakfast at the Parque Central Hotel
Free Day Various optional excursions are available which can be organised and paid for by you locally through your tour guide:
  • Deep sea fishing from Hemingway Marina $250 - $300 per boat for 6 hours, Max four fishermen.
  • Relaxed day at the "Club Havana" beach club $10 - $15 entrance.
  • Day trip to Cayo largo, a fabulous coral island and hour's flight south of Havana in the Caribbean.
The cost of the return flight and all food, drink and use of the hotel's watersports equipment for the day at Sol Club Cayo Largo (photo below) would be $160.
8.30 pm Farewell drinks and cigar dinner, with drinks and after dinner cigars (Included).
Saturday  
7,30 - 10.00am Breakfast at the Parque Central Hotel

Free day to enjoy Havana.

Check out of the hotel

Transfer to the airport

The price for the above trip is available on request:

This price does not include flights to and from Cuba. We can arrange flights from the UK and certain other locations. The price of the flight will depend on the point of embarkation. Please contact us if you require a flight to be added to the above package.

Our normal booking terms and conditions apply. All travellers must be adequately insured.

  • All times quoted are local times and may vary nearer the time of travel, these will be confirmed to you then.
  • Breakfast is included at all hotels.
  • All food and drinks are paid for by you locally, except where stated as "(Included)" Please note that most meals and drinks parties are in fact included.
  • All optional items are subject to numbers of people interested and availability locally.

For Details or reservations on this exclusive tour please contact Toby Brocklehurst at info@incloud9.com.

  
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