If you are a cigar aficionado, or simply curious about cigar smoking, the Dominican Republic is a holy grail of sorts when it comes to tobacco. Sure, a number of Latin American countries including Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico are important players in the cigar industry. But it is in the island of Hispaniola where the industry traces its roots, with none other than Christopher Columbus serving as the first tobacco entrepreneur in history.
It was on these shores that the famous Genoese explorer encountered cigars in 1492, as the native Taino people had been using tobacco in religious, social and ceremonial settings for centuries before European arrival. The Spanish returned to Europe with the newly discovered crop and the rest, as they say, is history.
Presently, the Dominican Republic is considered the world’s largest cigar producer. The already robust industry was boosted in the 1960s, when the U.S. embargo on Cuba generated a mass exile of Cuban cigar manufacturers to the fertile fields of the Cibao Valley and the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. As such, you will have myriad options when shopping for cigars here.
Most, if not all, cigar aficionados would agree that a good cigar has to be handmade. Beyond this characteristic, one of the main things to keep in mind when purchasing a cigar is the size. At 7” to 7 ½” in length, Double Coronas and Churchills (the latter named after the cigar-smoking British prime minister) are the largest types of cigars and take the longest to smoke. Other popular sizes include Corona, Corona Gorda, Lonsdale and Robusto, ranging from 6 ½” to 5 inches in length. Figurado refers to the cigars that don’t have a straight cylindrical and come in different sizes.
As far as brands go, Arturo Fuente is a consistently good and popular option. Made with Cameroon leaf wrappers or Connecticut wrappers, Arturo Fuente cigars are described as well made, mild to medium in body and beautifully constructed. For a bolder, medium-full flavor, Romeo y Julieta Media Noche is made with naturally fermented San Andres Maduro wrapper and filled with a rich blend of vintage Dominican long-fillers, resulting in a spicy, robust smoke. If you’re in the mood to spend a little more money, the famous Monte Cristo brand offers a Media Noche made with a thick Connecticut broadleaf wrapper drenched in natural oils and filled with a mixture of long-fillers from Nicaragua, Peru and Dominican Republic. Monte Cristo Media Noche offers an array of flavors throughout including a cedar taste complimented with hints of leather and a sweet, but spicy aftertaste.
Even if smoking isn’t your cup of tea, the art of cigar making is worthy of discovering. Tabacalera de Garcia (the largest hand-made cigar factory in the world) is the place to be. Just a short drive from Punta Cana, you can check out how cigars are hand rolled, enjoy an informative tour and take your pick in the well-stocked gift shop.
Dominican cigars are world-renowned and make unbeatable souvenirs. With so many options, you’re sure to find something you love!
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365 George Washington Avenue, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, I02-05, (1)(809) 221 6666
Overlooking the Caribbean and near the Colonial Zone, our hotel boasts modern rooms, upscale dining, a casino, and ample event space.