Cigar 101: BestCigarPrices’ Cigar Travel Guide
We’re having some unseasonably warm weather here in Kingston, NY, and as a result, I’m getting the antsy, pre-summer vacation feeling a bit early (we’ll see what happens when the weather inexplicably goes back to 20 degrees and windy). As a result, I’ve compiled a list of five great travel spots for cigar smokers. So here they are, in no particular order:
The Dominican Republic
Home to the factories that produce La Aurora, Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo, and Cohiba, among countless others, the Dominican Republic has a rich history of cigar production. Not only are there lots of tobacco fields and factories, but there are also several enormous golf courses like the Punta Espada and Corales golf clubs, nature preserves like the Los Haitises National Park, and, of course, tons of beaches. On top of all that, it has a lower violent crime rate than Honduras or Nicaragua, according to travel.state.gov.
This is not to say that Honduras and Nicaragua don’t have any attractions worth seeing, but read the first paragraph in the “crime” section for each country and they might not seem worth it, at least for the time being.
The United Kingdom
Home of the legendary British Bulldog himself, England is one of the most cigar-friendly countries around, save for the weather. Aside from the fact that you can buy Cuban cigars (though we would never advocate that, since it is technically illegal, even in another country), and the fact that their tobacco tax is only about 9% (here in New York, ours is 75%), their smoking ban is also a little more lax than ours. On top of all that, they have some of the sweetest smoking lounges around, like the Garden Room at the Lanesborough Hotel in London, which was recently profiled in Cigar Aficionado. And having been to the U.K. not too long ago, I can tell you that smoking a Cohiba in a park near the British Museum without being harassed by whiny bystanders may or may not have been awesome.
The coast of Florida is pretty heavily steeped in cigar culture. Tampa, in particular, is home to Ybor City, which gets its name from Spanish cigar maker Vincente Martinez Ybor. To celebrate the city’s rich cigar history, they hold the Tampa Cigar Heritage Festival every year in mid-November, in case you’re looking for the best time to go.
Miami is another cigar Mecca, mainly because of its proximity to Cuba. Despite the fact that a lot of cigar manufacturers moved their operations from Miami to Central America, a bunch of cigar companies have factories in Little Havana, perhaps most notably Padilla, Tatuaje, and La Gloria Cubana.
Come on, did you really expect me to leave Cuba off of this list? Despite the fact that you can’t legally get Cuban cigars here or travel to Cuba, other than for educational, religious, or journalistic reasons, or to visit a relative, or a handful of other reasons, it would still be pretty awesome. Not only is it just generally a beautiful country, but they have probably the richest cigar history in the world. Where else can you smoke a—oh wait, it’s technically illegal, even if you’re not in America. At least you can get some badass ropa vieja.
It’s unfortunate that a lot of cigar producing countries aren’t especially safe for travelers, but thankfully there are travel spots like the ones I listed above. There are tons more, but in the interest of keeping this article out of “too long; don’t read” territory, I’ll stop at five. Again, this might not be a definitive travel guide, but it’s a good place to start. Anyway, back to chilly Kingston.