There are two major cigar factories in Havana, the Partagas one (sounds like a retailer of methane to me) being the oldest.
As I'm a non-smoker, I can't say I had much interest in the process, but the smell was wonderfully aromatic and you get some great photo opportunities with the workers smoking away as they work. It must be one of the few perks of the job apart from trying to sell off pilfered cigars to tourists in handfuls at a time.
To see the moral implications of this then look at the shopping tip. If this dosn't bother you, then wear clothes with big and deep pockets.
I also rather like the fact they employ someone on the main floor to continually read to the workers. After they have finished the newspaper (the sports result create the most interest) they read them edifying literature. This is the reason many to the brands of cigars are named after literary figures - such as Romeo and Juilet or Monte Cristo (as in the count of)
NB see the website listed below for a virtual tour
This is one of the main cigar factories in Havana proper and we took advantage of it. They have tours daily that leave every 20-30 minutes or so, depending on the language of the tour you want (english, spanish, french, german, italian etc.).
The price is 10CUC which is a little steep but its a good way to see how the factories actually work, and is about 45 minutes in length. You are technically not allowed to take photos in the factory and will be asked to leave your bags, cameras etc. in the bag check before going on the tour. There is a bar and cigar shop on the first floor of the factory.
You will learn how cigars are made and its also educational in the sense that you learn how to tell a real, genuine cigar (which may be good if you plan on buying black market). You will likely have "pssssts" coming your way from the various factory workers you may wish to sell you cigars at discounted rates. They are entitled to 3 free cigars each day and many supplement their income by selling real, high-quality cigars to tourists at prices much lower than those in the official shops. Buyer beware! (you could get into trouble at immigration but you are also getting a deal and helping out a Cuban big time).
Los Cohiba esplendidos are the "best" and were formerly only available to Fidel Castro.
One of the things I was anxious to do in Havana was to visit a cigar factory. Imagine my disappointment to discover that they close for a month from 20th December each year.
We nevertheless paid a visit to the Romeo and Juliet cigar factory shop where we discovered that we could purchase most or all of the brands made in Cuba. The best value, obviously, were the Romeo and Juliet. However, the shop manager was happy to inform me that the Cohiba Esplendidos are the best in the world and he had them for sale at a good price. This is the cigar that Fidel Castro used to smoke until he gave up the habit.
You could also purchase such items as rum and coffee at this shop, but I discovered that the coffee was about 30% more expensive than at our hotel shop. The rum cost about the same.
We purchased very good quality t-shirts here and they were about half the cost of those in the other shops and at the hotel and the quality was better.
Along with Habana Vieja and the Malecon, this working cigar factory is another “don’t miss” Havana experience. Guided tours are pricey though at 10 CUC’s; especially considering this is a weekly wage for the rollers who work here. (English tours at 10am & 2pm?)
Anyway, you see the full life of the cigar here, from the plantation tobacco leaves arriving, right through to the security seals going on the boxes. Best bit is the actual rolling process in what looks like a huge Victorian school room. Rollers sit at long wooden desks, carefully winding the different leaves together, while a manager sits at the front reading the news into a distorted PA system. Obviously this being Cuba, the newspaper isn’t carrying too many tabloid kiss & tell's, and instead the workers are treated to a non-stop barrage of Castro-spun propaganda - also no doubt telling them how great their life is working here 6 days a week.
Guide was enthusiastic with a good grasp of English, although something was a bit fishy about the cigar deal he pushes at the end. I stuck to the shop instead, although don’t expect any bargains. The cigars seemed to be only about 1/2, or at best 1/3, of the UK price. This is probably the biggest selection you will find though and, as everything in Cuba seems to be the same price no matter where you buy it, you may as well stock up here.
Cuban Largest cigars factory. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take any pictures inside. Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas is a good example of 19th century industial architecture. It was founded by Catalan Businessman Jaime Partagas Ravelo. Travel quides says that there is no longer someone reading the boooks aloud to workers to alleviatethe monotony of the work, but we were told it still happen . The have readings everyday, two hours. Connected to factory is a shop where you can buy any kinds of cigars( unfortunately, we found them very expensive) Anyway, this factory is realy worth to see. Ticket costs 10 peso each and tour takes about 40 minutes. We did enjoy it.
From other side.. you will be offered cigars everywhere you go. But like our Cuban fiends said, be careful because some of them you can take home,plant to your garden and you will find banana tree growing...
This was one of the most authentic Cuban things to do and not to miss while in Havana.
Partagas is the oldest and the biggest and even if called Partagas, it manufactures plenty of yummy quality cigars like Cohiba, Monte risto, Romeo y Julieta in various shapes and sizes.
The employees need in average about 9 months of training to do any of the production stages - from leaves sorting to rolling and they enjoy a priveledged compensation - about ?40 monthly salary and the choice of 3 cigars per day. While a cigar is on average ?10 no wonder they all do sell them:) ull get plenty of phone numbers and even the guides could 'guide' u how to buy half price authentic cigars - the ones in the shop price range is very comparable to duty free prices.
This is your best source of authentic cigars - ask the guy to show u his employee badge, check the labels and the color, smoke randomly a cigar, bargain a lot and ull end up with a very nice deal:)
nowadays ure not allowed to take pictures in the factory as probably the employees got fed up and tired of all touristy flashy but got a pic in the nice cigar shop:)
Founded in 1845, this is Cuba's largest and perhaps most renowned cigar factory, producing around 5 million cigars a year. The off-yellow and rust-trimmed neoclassical facade is resplendent in the Havana morning sunlight. (You can take your best photos of it from the west-side windows of El Capitolio.) Official tours are only offered at 10am and 2pm daily, although you can sometimes work your way into one of the many tour groups that come through all day long. Throughout the day, you can stop in and buy cigars from their well-stocked shop, La Casa del Habano.
Don't go to the factories in Havana itself except for a quick look and the great smell. The ones in Havana are much nicer looking but not where the real work is being done. The one we visited was in the Pinar del Rio region and is part of the bus tour. The photo was taken at the ols Partagas factory behind the old Capitol building in Havana.
The Partagas cigar factory makes some of the best well known cigars in the world. It's 10 bucks each but it worh to spend it. With guides in different languages, french, english, german and maybe russian U can enjoy one hour tour inside the making off the best cigars in the world.... Romeo & Julliet... Cohiba... and others.
This famous Havana cigar factory was founded in 1845. The tour costs US$10, which is overpriced, in my opinion. I didn't go inside the factory, but instead went to the air-conditioned showroom. There is a cigar roller here showing how a cigar is made. And interestingly, there is a bar here as well to relax.
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