Question: Where do I buy official Cuban cigars? How can I tell they’re good? Do you know how many I can buy as a Canadian?
Answer: Cuba is historically considered to produce the best cigars in the world, so it’s hard to go wrong whatever you buy – and they’re sold all over the country. Whereas choosing the size and flavour of a cigar obviously depends on personal preference, here are some tips that might help in your purchases.
- If the bottom of a cigar box has an inscription sayingtotalmente hecho a manothey are totally hand-rolled. These cigars are considered to have a better quality and the higher price reflects this.Without this inscription, they are machine-rolled.
- All cigar boxes have a code stamped on the bottom identifying the factory where it was made. For those who know cigars well and where the best of a particular brand are made, this is important information.
- All cigar boxes have a government stamp, thehabanosstamp and a holographic stamp. If you buy a box of cigars without these, they are fake and black market.
- When you buy cigars, be sure to keep the official purchase invoice as you’ll need this to be able to take the cigars out of the country.
There are many places around the country where you can purchase cigars. If you’re interested to learn how their made, you can arrange a guided tour of a cigar factory. In Havana, one of the best is Real Fábricca de Tabacos Partagás (address below) which also has a cigar shop on site. It’s open Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 1:30pm and a guided tour costs CUC 10.
Calle Industria #520
entre Dragones y Barcelona
Other good places to buy cigars are the Casas del Habano, a number of which exist around Havana. One of the best is located in Miramar (address below) and is open daily from 9am to 9pm. They also accept credit cards.
Casa del Habana
Avenida 5 #1407
According to the “Traveler Declaration Card” issued by Revenue Canada, the quantities of tobacco products and age limits that you can bring into Canada is as follows:
200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or cigarillos, 400 grams of manufactured tobacco, and 400 tobacco sticks. You must be 18 years of age or older to import tobacco products into the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Yukon Territory, and the Northwest Territories. You must be 19 years or older to import tobacco products into all other provinces.
You would also be well advised to double check with Canadian customs upon leaving Canada, as regulations do change.