The days are finally getting longer and we’ve even had a few warm ones. But it’s still not warm enough yet, which has me dreaming of tropical climates. Today I was daydreaming about being in a climate where cigars can be manufactured – hot enough and humid enough to prevent wrapper leaves from cracking. Tobacco wants to be kept in its native conditions, which is, incidentally, why you should always season your humidor. But when you’re ready to enjoy that heat and humidity alongside your cigars there are a number of cigar experience getaways where you can learn about cigars and meet new friends. Here are some of the most popular yearly events.
- Puro Sabor – The Nicaraguan Cigar Festival happens every year in January. This event is all-inclusive, from food to lodging to transportation to events. It lasts five days and takes visitors all over Nicaragua to visit factories in what is one of the best manufacturing countries in the cigar world. There is even a black tie gala on the final evening!
- Pro Cigar – The Dominican Cigar Festival takes place in February (Feb. 18-23 this year) and includes a multitude of events from which to choose. Guests can tour coffee plantations, enjoy lunch with industry leaders, or choose which factories to tour with the group. This festival is pretty large, so accommodations and itinerary are all decided by the guest pending availability.
- Habanos Festival – The Cuban Cigar Festival takes place every year (Feb 26-March 2 this year) in Havana, Cuba. This festival includes the International Habanosommelier Contest, rolling seminars, a Gala dinner, and a humidor auction. There are also factory tours at H. Upmann, Partagas, Montecristo, and more.
- Cigar Safari – Drew Estate has a massive footprint in the Nicaraguan cigar capital of Esteli. If you want to see all of it and still have time to explore the beautiful city surrounding it, you’ll need to spend three days. Guests will stay in Cabanas on the Drew Estate property, lounge around the Liga pool, engage in long ash contests, tour the factory, take a blending seminar, and more. This is a great way to learn a lot about the cigar business in just a few days.
- The Big Smoke in Las Vegas – This is a huge gathering of cigar smokers yearly in Las Vegas in November. Attendees will get a chance to meet with industry legends and make new friends while collecting up to 35 premium cigars from exhibitors. (There’s also one in Miami)
- China Cigar Festival – So maybe you’ve already *been there done that* and you’re looking for something a little less obvious. Why not go smoke a cigar at the Great Wall of China? Along with the usual things like black tie Galas and blending seminars there is also a bourbon and cigar pairing seminar, art demonstrations, and more. Takes place in October.
There’s still time to schedule most of the festivals on this list, but if you miss out this year they will be back next year. Have you had a cigar destination experience? I’d love to hear about your trip! Leave me a comment below.
Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl