Tobacco is the Viñales Valley region’s biggest crop by far. Viñales is the place where all the household name Cuban cigars get their start—Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, and more. And it’s all been grown and processed the same way for over 200 years.
You don’t have to be a cigar aficionado to enjoy a cigar tour in Viñales. I’ve never smoked a cigar in my life, but our tobacco farm tour was incredible. It was one of best experiences of my visit not only to Viñales, but Cuba as a whole.
The farmers we met were fairly open about the fact that they were only allowed to keep 10 percent of their crop. The other 90 percent goes to the government. If you choose a tour with a private farmer, you will probably get a firsthand look at their entire process—from growing tobacco plants in the fields to drying them in their drying house, curing the leaves, and finally, rolling their own cigars.
Our tour was especially unique because we also had the opportunity to explore the government-run tobacco sorting facility in town. I would highly recommend it since it allowed us to see both sides of the process. There, women sort leaves all day. Depending on their quality, they will be made into various brands of popular government-made cigars.
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