When you’re visiting Estelí, the cigar capital of Nicaragua, I’d recommend buying some cigars with you. Cigars made here are world-famous and even if you don’t smoke yourself, they make for a perfect souvenir for someone who does.

Estelí, a small town in the Northern Highlands of Nicaragua, produces some of the world’s best cigars. So if you find yourself here, like so many other travelers do on a hunt for the perfect “tube” to enjoy upon, take a short plunge into the world of cigars. We put together a little cigar buying guide for you, just to make things a bit easier.

Get Yourself on a Cigar Tour to Visit a Factory

The most convenient way to buy some top-quality cigars is to go on a guided cigar tour to some of the many cigar factories in the area. The town is spotted with them, though not all of them are providing tours.

You can ask around for yourself, or stop by into a café called Treehuggers. It’s a popular place to hang around and their staff can arrange you a cigar tour if all else fails. The downside is that they’ll probably arrange your tour to one of the biggest factories.

We opted for visiting one of the smaller ones, called GGi. You will often get better prices in the small factories, so I would recommend favoring them. Also, in them the making process is still hand-made from start to finish, making it more genuine, whereas the process is already more industrialized in the big factories.

If you would fancy a visit to the GGi Cigar Factory, you can ask from Esther at the B&B Villa Riviera. She knows some of the staff and can arrange you a tour. We paid $6/pp for a private visit and got excellent and thoroughly tour with our guide,  Darwin. You can check out our whole cigar tour experience with a video from here!

In the smaller factories your guide will most likely speak only Spanish, but even though our Spanish is hardly only passable, we managed alright. So don’t be afraid – just go.

Prices and Qualities of the Nicaraguan Cigars

The quality of the cigars here in Estelí is just superb. This little town became the refuge of some the best Cuban cigar makers during the Cuban revolution in 1959, and the craftsmanship of cigar making came to stay.

When you’re looking to buy some highest quality cigars, you can just stop by to any factory you see and ask are they able to sell you some. Some factories can only sell bulk, and some may produce everything to export only. But for example from the GGi, you can even buy just one cigar if you like.

But if you are looking to buying in bulk, I bet that negotiating deals straight with the factories on-site would be your best bet if you’re hunting for a bargain price.

The prices are just unbeatable when you buy the cigars straight from the factory. Even buying them from a store in the centre of Estelí may already double the price, at least. And comparing the factory’s prices to the prices they have for these cigars in your home country; it’s probably five to six times more.

We bought several different sized and shaped cigars to taste from the GGi. They cost $1/piece. Only the most unique ones cost $2/piece. That’s pretty cheap, isn’t it?

First, decide whether you want a stronger or a lighter tasting one, thick or thin. They produce so many different sized, shaped, and tasting cigars that you will likely get confused. They even have their own models for ladies at the GGi.

Transporting Your Goodies

This will be the most problematic phase. Ask them to pack your purchases as air-sealed as possible. Then they won’t have lost all their delightful aromas when you get back home. If you don’t happen to travel with a humidor in your bag (like you probably don’t), your best bet may be to bring lots of re-sealable mini-grip bags, for example.

And if you are not planning to take them back home, just sit back on a comfy chair in the evening, take a glass of the spectacular, Nicaraguan rum (Flor de Caña), and smoke one enjoying all its extent in the most calmly manner as possible.

Is there something that we have missed? If you have some new tips, please don’t hesitate to tell and comment below!

Hopefully, there was some helpful information here to get you started, if you are looking to buying cigars in Nicaragua.

GGi cigar factory, esteli, nicaragua
GGi cigar factory entrance

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