Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Thu June 11 2015

Opinion Home | A Cruising Couple's Column

  • A Cruising Couple | June 11, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    The Mombacho Cigar Factory: Granada, Nicaragua's Best-Kept Secret

    The Mombacho Cigar Factory: Granada, Nicaragua's Best-Kept Secret

    Photo via Twitter, all other photos via Flickr

    While it may not get as many tourists as its southern neighbor Costa Rica, Nicaragua is quickly becoming one of the hottest places to travel in Central and South America. Also known as "The Land Of Lakes And Volcanoes," Nicaragua is overflowing with adventurous ways to get out and explore the great outdoors. From hiking to volcano boarding to ziplining and kite surfing, you won't find any time for boredom in this Central American gem.

    We recently spent four days in the colorful colonial town of Granada. And while we had heard about hiking volcanoes and zipping through the trees, we were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon one of the country's lesser-known treasures: its cigars.

    The people of Nicaragua have been making cigars since prehistoric times. When the Spanish came, they liked the tobacco-based indulgence so much that they decided to start shipping the raw materials to factories in Seville. There, processing and rolling into cigars would occur. But it wasn't until Cuban exiles arrived in the country that the craft experienced a resurgence in its native region.

    Most of the farming for the cigars is done in the northern region of the country, as well as famed Ometepe Island. The cigar industry is one of the most significant economies in Nicaragua, and the country is the second largest producer of cigars in the world (just behind the Dominican Republic).

    We took a tour of the Mombacho Cigar Company in Granada to learn more about the technique of creating cigars from start to finish. Though we don't smoke ourselves, we found the process and culture fascinating.

    There are three parts that go into a cigar: The filler leaves (which give it the flavor), the binder leaf and the wrapper leaf (which holds the cigar together). Every part of the leaf has a use, and hardly any waste is created in the process. Mombacho uses 100 percent Nicaraguan blends, so every part of their cigars is locally sourced.

    We were taken through each step of the cigar making process, including the de-humidifying, re-humidifying, rolling, and aging process. Altogether it can take three years for one cigar to be completed. Mombacho boasts that their cigars are made “totalmente a mano,” or completely by hand.

    When we finally got to try our own, we could taste a mild hint of chocolate among other subtle flavors and aromas. We certainly don't know anything about cigars, but these appeared to be the real deal.

    You don't have to be a cigar enthusiast to appreciate the art that goes into blending the perfect cigar. But there are other reasons to give the Mombacho Cigar Factory a visit on your next trip to Granada. The building that houses the factory dates back to 1925 and was designed by the famous Italian sculptor Favilli Bendichi. Italian marble, a central garden, and exquisite sculptures are just a few of the details inside.

    Head up to the roof, and you'll have one of the best views of Granada in the city. It's the perfect place to take in the beauty of the first town in America (decades before St. Augustine) — without having to share it with anyone else.

    A tour of the Mombacho Cigar Factory will only set you back $4 USD. To make the most of the experience, grab a glass of 18-year aged Flor de Cana rum and a cigar of your own to savor in the tasting lounge. You're bound to have great conversation and a unique memory from your time in Granada.

More Granada


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
Experience Alaska With Holland America Line

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships