Cuba is the birthplace of some of the best cigars in the world, and many travelers dream not only with exploring its beauty but visiting one of the many legal shops combining tobacco, rum and coffee to admire the quality of the different varieties and take some cigars back home.
Espíritu Travel takes it further and proposes you the Hello Cuba trip, which includes a promenade through Havana’s wonders, a visit to the Partagás Tobacco Factory (one of the oldest of the country) and, yes, a horseback journey to the endless tobacco fields of Viñales.
February is a very special month because the Habanos Festival is celebrated in Cuba and the island becomes a paradise for cigars loves. Check this post to know more about that interesting event.
The Tobacco Path in Cuba
Before the arrival of Christopher Colombus, the tobacco was already enjoyed by the inhabitant of Cuba. The natives discovered medicinal and recreational properties in the plant and they used it to disipate the fatigue, in every festivity and ritual. Today known cientifically as Nicotiana tabacum, they called it cohoba, o Cohiba, which seemed to denominate also the wooden instrument they utilized to inhale the smoke produced by the plant.
The Spaniards introduced the practice in the Old Continent and soon it became a key pleasure for the nobility of the epoch. It was also incorporated to the religions of the Africans introduced in Cuba as slaves becoming essential for their orishas or saints until today. During the 17th century, the first tobacco farmers established in regions like Vuelta Abajo leading to a fast economic development and a rising of the production excellence. The “vegueros” are dedicated to the cultivation, harvesting and preparing their cigars, a secret passed from father to sons for centuries. They always say that every cigar has a mixture of the magic of Cuba.
There are five main regions for the tobacco growing in the archipelago: Oriente (in Santiago de Cuba and Guántanamo), Remedios (in the Remedios’area), Partidos (in San Antonio de los Baños), Semi-Vuelta and Vuelta (in Pinar del Río). But only Partidos and Vuelta cultivate de high quality tobacco needed to prepare the most famous brands of Habanos. According to the specialists, each habano is an art piece handmade from the selection of the leaves to its presentation in the finest humidors. The secret of a great cigar is the perfect mixture of voladas, dry and light leaves.
The Grupo Habanos is in charge of the exclusive world marketing of 27 brands of Habanos, produced ¨Totally by Hand with Long Filler¨. That’s why the best place to hear everything about tobaccos is the Habanos Festival.
The 22nd Habanos Festival: a Paradise for cigars lovers
Organized by the Habanos, S.A., the 22nd Habanos Festival will be held in Havana from February 24th to 28th, 2020. It’s the largest international event for lovers of high quality tobacco, gathering more than than 2000 participants from all over the world.
The festival is not only an opportunity to know a very special face of Cuba and taste from firsthand the finest cigars such as the Cohiba Robustos Reserva Cosecha 2014, the Hoyo de Monterrey Le Hoyo Río Seco and the Vegueros Centrofinos, but to meet renowned specialist in an inspirational atmosphere. And, of course, there is always music, the performance of renowned Cuban artists such as Edesio Alejandro, Carlos Varela, the Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, Habana Compas and Orishas.
This year, the Habanos Festival will be dedicated to the 145th Anniversary of the admired Romeo y Julieta brand, the 30th anniversary of the La Casa del Habano franchise network and the 85th anniversary of Montecristo. The event promises novelties and a wide program of activities:
- Visits to some of the best tobacco plantations: this year will be focused in the Partido Zone at San Antonio de los Baños Municipality, Artemisa Province.
- Tours to the emblematic Habanos Factories: More than 400 workers rolling every day Montecristos, Bolívar, Cohibas and many other brands. During this edition participants will be exploring “La Corona” and “Partagás” factories.
- International seminars with practical sessions: Master Lecture “Habanos and its brands” by Ciro Bianchi, Master Class on rolling technique “Totally handmade” by Miguel Barzaga and Master Lecture “El Bello Habano” by Reynaldo González.
- Master classes to learn how to roll the perfect cigar.
- Challenges and Prizes such as the Habanos World Challenge Contest in its 3rd edition and the International Habanosommelier Contest, were finalists face practical tests of Habano cutting and lighting, a descriptive tasting and s pairing session with famous international cocktails.
- The traditional Humidor´s Auction at PABEXPO: one of the most expected events, were special humidors handcrafted by expert Cuban artists are auctioned. The money obtained is donated to the Cuban Public Health System.
The registration for the Habanos Festival opens annually in November and closes in December.
Travelling to Cuba with Espíritu Travel
You can still customize a cigars based itinerary with Espíritu Travel. We propose you to uncover the Partagás factory with an expert guide and to visit tobacco plantations in Vuelta Abajo while learning to roll an authentic Cuban cigar and to make the sugar cane juice. Contact us today!