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
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.
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...
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.
I know nothing about cigars, but they are so Cuban, I definitely wanted to see a cigar factory. We ended up in the Partagas factory, mostly because it's behind the Capitol, so it was easy to find. The guided tour was interesting, it just felt a bit like in a zoo, tourists staring at workers and they staring at tourists. But they were friendly (and tried to sell us cigars behind the quide). In the shop many different cigars are for sale - they are not cheap, but at least original.
One of ythe nices Experiences in Havana and in Cuba in general is a visit in the Cigar's Factories.
Looking at the people how they make all those famous cigars is awesome.
If you'll be lucky enough you'll be able to buy some... from the workers for a very cheap price, just be careful when doing that cause while you do that you are risking them !