How to book a cigar tour

Cigar manufacturers are eager to host consumers. If you happen to be in Honduras or Nicaragua, your request for a tour of the facilities would probably be met with excitement and a warm welcome. But, you can get more than that. As the manufacturers and retailers struggle to overcome the effects of the global recession, many are arranging cigar-centric trips designed to host you from seed to ash.

Many cigar companies are partnering with tobacconists to arrange cigar tours for their customers. Camacho brings smokers down to Honduras to spend a few days at “Camp Camacho,” where they can tour the fields, see how cigars are rolled and smoke as much as you like. Rocky Patel and Drew Estate (which makes Acids and Javas) host groups as well, in Honduras and Nicaragua, respectively. My recent trip to Pepin Garcia’s factory was a first for the company, but I strongly suspect that many will follow. WhileDrew Estate is open to individual bookings, most of the cigar trips offered by manufacturers need to be arranged by cigar shops.

Your local retailer has the connections to make a cigar trip possible, so that’s where you need to start. Bring the idea up, and make sure there are enough people in the shop who share your interest. You’ll probably need about a dozen to make the trip happen (on my trip, De La Concha and Uptown Cigar, contributing roughly the same number of travelers each).
Since the cigar companies are eager to bring you to their facilities, you’ll generally be responsible for your airfare … and nothing else. Accommodations, meals and transportation are usually included, and you’ll be provided enough cigars to keep you busy – I had one lit pretty much all day every day. The details will vary with the cigar company. Those that have rooms on the premises will put you up inside the walls, and companies that don’t will arrange for you to stay in a local hotel.


On your tour, you’ll become intimately familiar with the process of making cigars. From the tobacco fields, where the plants are bursting from the ground, to the factories, where legions of rollers showcase their dexterity, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the process by which your favorite stick reaches store shelves (and ultimately your humidor). At Pepin Garcia’s My Father operation, we saw everything, including the wood shop where the cigar boxes are built and printed. An estimated 70 pairs of hands are necessary to create a cigar, and w saw most of them.

At night, you’ll eat, smoke and hang out with the cigar company hosts and, more important, your fellow travelers. After all, what makes your favorite cigar shop special? It’s the people who smoke with you. This is what will turn your cigar trip into a memorable event.

Drew Estate: A Destination for cigar smokers

If you like to light up a stick more than occasionally, it’s time for you to consider a “cigar safari.” This unique experience, offered by Drew Estate, which manufactures both traditional and infused cigars, is available up to 16 times a year at its factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. Spend four days and three nights soaking in the pool, sipping cocktails in the on-site lounge and sampling the entire Drew Estate line, from Acid to T52.

Many cigar manufacturers are offering tours for their end-consumers these days. Camacho, Rocky Patel and Pepin Garcia’s My Father are among the companies that have taken this giant marketing leap forward. With Drew Estate, however, there is a touch of a resort feel. The guestrooms, limited number, feel more like a hotel than the barracks style available at some of the factories, and the guest-to-bathroom ratio isn’t bad.

Upstairs is the sort of cigar lounge that makes smokers salivate, with plenty of couches, flat screen televisions, a bar and even a poker table (games are held regularly with guests). The lounge opens onto a balcony (soon to be furnished) that offers stunning views of the Nicaragua countryside. Back on the ground, you can have a drink prepared and sit by the pool – or slip into it to cool off for a while.


Only a short walk away is the factory, where you’ll become acquainted with the process by which the stuff on which you puff is made. The Drew Estate team will introduce you to the various infused and traditional lines it offers, and you’ll get the chance to see the company’s unique manufacturing process in action, from tobacco just being brought in the door through rolling, packaging and, yes, smoking. The guys on site are quite knowledgeable and will be able to answer all your questions thoroughly … except one.

Drew Estate stays mum on its infusing process and is quite committed to keeping the secret sauce secret. Somebody always asks, and the answer is always the same: NO. You also won’t be taken on a tour of that part of the facility. Fortunately, there’s plenty to experience already, so you’ll hardly miss the chance to eye some trade secrets.

On your visit to Drew Estate, be prepared to smoke. The point of the trips is to acquaint cigar smokers with the brand, sot eh company is always putting it at the center of the experience. Cigars, along with meals and beverages, are included in the nominal fee of $450 (you’re responsible for your own airfare).

Pack your cutter and your lighter (but not if you use a torch), and get ready to relax with a cigar in your hand for four days. Unlike most cigar trips, you can book this one on your own, rather than have it arranged through a smoke shop. Keep in mind that there is only a limited number of trips every year, and they do fill up quickly.