When Fidel Castro marched into Havana and seized the Cuban government, he took the island’s tobacco industry and hand-rolled cigars along with it. Knowing their age of prosperity was over, Cuban cigar makers fled the country in search of factories elsewhere. One of those places was La Romana in the neighboring Dominican Republic, and what began in 1971 as a grassroots escape from Cuba, has grown today into the largest hand-rolled cigar factory in the world. Here on the palm-lined Caribbean coast outside of Casa de Campo, visitors can view the impeccable care that goes into making a cigar. The majority of tobacco is sourced right here from local Dominican plantations, and then hand bunched and individually inspected for quality, craftsmanship, and care. Many of the cigar world’s biggest names—from Montecristo and H. Upmann to Romeo and Julieta—are processed, rolled, and packaged here on the island’s southeastern coast. Even travelers who don’t smoke cigars can appreciate the meticulous attention to detail that goes into crafting what some might argue are the world’s best premium cigars.
Tours of the Tabacalera de Garcia Cigar Factory are only available on Tuesday and Thursday and require advance reservations.