You’ll forever remember the pungent aroma of a cigar factory, a visit to which is de rigueur when you’re in Havana. The factories, housed in colonial buildings, remain much as they were in the mid-19th century. Though now officially known by ideologically sound names, they’re still commonly referred to by their prerevolutionary names. Each specializes in a number of cigar brands of a particular flavor—the government assigns to certain factories the job of producing particular brands.
Tours usually bypass the tobacco preparations and begin in the galeras (rolling rooms), then pass to the quality-control methods.
Note that the factory names are switched between factories with annoying regularity when one or more close for repair, and that no cameras or bags are permitted.
Factories with Guided Tours
You must purchase your ticket in advance at any state tour agency.
- Fábrica Corona (20 de Mayo #520, e/ Marta Abreu y Línea, Cerro, tel. 07/873-0131, Mon.-Fri. 9am-11am and 1pm-3pm, CUC10) is a modern cigar factory producing Hoyo de Monterey, Punch, and other labels.
- Fábrica de Tabaco H. Upmann (Padre Varela, e/ Desagüe y Peñal Verno, Centro Habana, tel. 07/878-1059 or 07/879-3927, 9am-1pm, CUC10), formerly the Fábrica de Tabaco Romeo y Julieta, reopened to visits in 2013 as the temporary home of H. Upmann.
- Fábrica de Tabaco Partagás (Luceña esq. Penalver, Centro Habana), formerly the El Rey del Mundo factory, opened in 2011 to house the Partagás workers.
- Fábrica de Tabaco Partagás (Calle Industria #520, e/ Dragones y Barcelona, Habana Vieja, tel. 07/862-0086 or 07/878-4368), the original home of Partagás remained closed for repair at press time.
Factories Requiring Permission to Visit
- Fábrica El Laguito (Av. 146 #2302, e/ 21 y 21A, Cubanacán, tel. 07/208-2486) makes Cohibas. Since Cohibas are made from only the finest leaves, El Laguito is given first choice from the harvest. El Laguito also makes the best cigar in the world—the Trinidad, a 7.5-inch-long cigar made exclusively for Castro to present to diplomats and dignitaries. Requests to visit should be made through Tabacuba (Virtudes #609, e/ Escobar y Gervasio, Centro Habana, tel. 07/877-6861), which is in charge of the industry.