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USA CUBA TRAVEL offers the cigar lover an adventurous
pilgrimage to the cradle of the Habano. Five days of visits, encounters
and discoveries, interwoven with numerous on-site samplings, are sure to
reveal some of the closely-held secrets concerning the best cigar in the
Like the subject of his passion, the
Habano lover is a complex being, even a contradictory one at times: both
refined and rustic, tolerant and demanding, he expects each new experience
to broaden and enrich his appreciation of the world.
For such a traveler, the Habano is
first and foremost a key to escape and astonishment opening up an avenue
of pleasure far from the beaten path. In Cuba,
between the regions of Pinar del Rio and Havana, the cigar lover will discover
the location, the climate and the people that make the Habano the best
cigar in the world.
During his stay, the traveler will
be able to spend time with the men and women who craft the Habano, those
who nurture this premier product during its journey, from seedling to stamped
cedar box in accordance with the lessons of more than two centuries of
traditional craftsmanship. The cigar lover should leave Cuba with
a deep understanding of the roots of the Habano's aroma and strength and
the reasons why it cannot be imitated.
program seeks to guide the cigar lover step by step in this journey, providing
well-defined objectives that remain flexible in response to the needs of
each individual. The program was developed in collaboration with
eminent Habano specialists in Cuba and numerous members of HABANO FOLIE,
a club of French cigar aficionados residing in Cuba.
Each visit and activity will include
a sampling shared with persons whose work or passion involves keeping alive
the secular myth of the Habano. All of the main themes of cigar smoking
will be addressed: the rituals of smoking, the major names and brands,
the aromatic palette, the vocabulary of the smoker, authentic vs. counterfeit
Habanos, storage, Habano-alcohol combinations, etc. With access to
a unique experience and to advice in an exceptional location, the cigar lover
will have ample time for testing the majority of Habano brands and for
choosing his favorites amoug them.
Any pilgrimage to the land of the
Habano must necessarily begin at the Vuelta Abajo and its golden
triangle: Pinar del Rio - San Luis - San Juan y Martinez.
This first leg of the journey will involve an immersion in the culture
of the sacred homeland 200 km from Havana, where man, soil and climate
combine in the mysterious natural alchemy that gives rise to Cuban tobacco.
A tour of a production cooperative
will allow the traveler to discover the first stages of the process (planting,
first fermentation, drying, etc.) and the different methods of production:
de sol for the internal leaves, and tobaco tapado for the wrapping
leaves. An on-site lunch will be followed by the first sampling in
the company of locals who will offer their Habanos rolled right on the
spot. Later, Pancho Cuba, an independent veguero (grower)
will receive you, on his fields and in his home, and will reveal some of
his secrets. In your honor, he will produce his fuma (his
personal cigar) which he will enjoy in your company. The day will
end at Viñales, a wonderful tobacco landscape where civilization
appears not to have intruded and which serves as an unlikely heaven of
peace and color where silence and tobacco reign supreme.
On this day you will witness, depending
on the season, the despalillo or the escogida, which are
key moments in the production of tobacco leaves. Later, following
a tour of Viñales, with its caves from the Jurassic period,
and lunch at the Palenque followed by the first smoke of the day,
you will travel to San Luis where you will be welcomed by veguero
Alejandro Robaina, a living legend of the Habano, who will, in his
turn, show you his fields and share with you his fuma-and a glass
of vintage old rum.
Over the next three days, you will
take part in a succession of visits, meetings and moments of pure pleasure.
This day will begin with a full tour
of one of the most prestigious manufacturers of the Capital, La Corona,
Partagas, H. Upmann or Por Larrañaga, followed by a sampling
session directed by the master torcedor of the site. A creole lunch
will be served at a Paladar (private restaurant) in an authentic
Cuban atmosphere. In the afternoon, the creator of a famous Vitola
will initiate you the secrets of the ligada, the subtle dosage of
different tobacco leaves which give a cigar its aroma and personality.
This will be a golden opportunity to smoke an exceptional Habano in the
company of its creator. In the evening, the famous cabaret Tropicana
will be the site of numerous
pleasures: dinner in the garden, the Grand Show and samplings of
subtle combinations of rum and Habano.
Today you will discover the close
link between the Habano and the Santeria, an Afro-Cuban religion
widely practiced on the island, by visiting sites where cult and cigars
cohabit and evoke the spirits of the dead... Afterwards, the
first sampling of the day will be held in the fortress of la Cabaña
overlooking the bay of Havana in the company of the torcedor Jose Cueto,
a specialist of Diadema. Lunch will be served at the Divina
Pastora and is followed by a visit to one of the main attractions of
Museo de la Revolución, the Museo de los Capitanes
Generales, etc. In the late afternoon, the painter and cigar
connoisseur Nelson Dominguez will receive you in his home/workshop
in Old Havana and offer you a cigar along with his expert commentary.
In the evening, the famous Paladar
la Guarida, with its surreal
atmosphere, will be the location, after dinner, for a relaxed smoke with
In the morning, the excursion entitled
Cocktails will bring you by boat from Tarara to Cojimar,
thus following the path taken by the famous lover of game fishing and rum.
After lunch at the Terraza de Cojimar, you will return to the seat
of the HABANO FOLIE club for a final meeting and conference given by Mr.
Jean-Yves Martinez, President of HABANO FOLIE, Havana correspondent
of l'Amateur du Cigare magazine and co-author of "Le Havane:
Portraits Hechos a Mano", Jazz Editions (www.havanet.com). In
the evening, during a gala meal in the prestigious restaurant La Torre,
you will enjoy the famous cuisine of French chef and Habano connoisseur
Pécol as well as the final sampling of the journey in the company
of invited guests.
All cigars are included
Five star hotel in Havana
All visits are accompanied by a specialized
Prices vary according to the number of
participants and the travel date
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