Cuban Cigar Guide

Would you like to buy some Cuban cigars on your holiday to Cuba? Want to know where to get the best Cuban cigars from? Our guide to cigars in Cuba gives you the facts & information you’ll want to know.

Cuban cigars are probably the best cigars in the world. The fact that they are banned in the USA as part of its ongoing embargo against Cuba only increases the prestige and demand associated with them. Cuba produces over 40 different brands of  cigar of various prices but all of a good minimum quality. Cuban cigars come in three thicknesses: fine, medium and thick. Thick Cuban cigars are believed to burn slower and produce a milder taste. The length of any particular brand of Cuban cigar also varies in length from about 10cm to as long as 24cm.

Cuban Cigar Prices

Cuban cigars are all top quality; however, prices do vary to a great extent. Generally, Cuban cigars are sold in boxes of 25 cigars, although this can vary with limited addition Cuban cigar boxes. Many Cuban cigar shops in Cuba even allow you to buy a single cigar so you can test it for its flavour before purchasing a whole box. The cheapest Cuban cigars sell for about $50, while top end Cuban cigars in Cuba can sell for as much as $400-500. Of course, buying Cuban cigars inside Cuba is much cheaper than buying Cuban cigars outside the country. Often the price of a box of Cuban cigars outside Cuba can be three times the price it is sold for in Cuba

Cigar Producing Regions in Cuba

The main cigar producing regions in Cuba are Pinar del Rio and Sancti Spiritus. These two areas have a long history of producing cigars because the weather and soil conditions here are optimum for the growing of tobacco used for Cuban cigars.

Cigar Shops in Cuba

There are a couple of places to buy Cuban cigars from in Cuba. Firstly, many people wait until they are leaving the country to buy their cigars at the airport duty free shop. The reason for this is not only tax exemption making the prices cheaper, but buying at the duty free shop in the airport means you would have already passed Cuban customs so you can buy more than the legal export limit. That is no guarantee, however, that you will be able to get all those Cuban cigars into the country of your destination.

Alternative places to purchase Cuban cigars are the hotel resort shops or Tiendos in Cuba. These shops only operate in $US and many are also tax free meaning there isn’t much difference in price between buying your Cuban cigars here or at the airport. The advantage is that you have more time to select the right Cuban cigar for you.

Cigar Street Sellers in Cuba

Many tourists in Cuba are approached by street sellers of Cuban cigars. As a general rule, always avoid purchasing cigars from street sellers. Firstly, unless you have an official receipt for these Cuban cigars, customs officials at the airport will most likely confiscate them. Secondly, the quality of Cuban cigars sold by street sellers is often sub-standard and they are relying on your ignorance or the pressure to make a hasty buy to pass these cigars off on to you.

How to Test for a Good Cuban Cigar

To test for a good Cuban cigar look for a few things. Firstly the cigar box should be made of cedar wood and well sealed. Secondly the cigars in the box should all be of uniform length, unless you are buying a limited edition box of cigars with obviously different lengths. Pinching the cigar softly should reveal that the cigar is soft and its surface is smooth. Finally, smelling the cigar should reveal a strong pungent smell, otherwise it’s probably not good tobacco.

Exporting Cuban Cigars from Cuba

All visitors to Cuba are permitted to take up to $200 worth of Cuban cigars out of the country with them. Make sure you keep purchase receipts which you can show to customs officials at the airport in Cuba, otherwise the cigars may be confiscated.

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SJD says:

First – you can take any dollar value of cigars out of Cuba as long as you have the proper documentation. The Cuban government is attempting to prevent people from buying counterfeits – they want to ensure that you have bought them from a legitimate source.

Second – prices at airports are the same as everywhere else.