How can you visit Cuba without trying a Cuban cigar? Well, as a woman, it wasn’t all too easy.
My boyfriend and I had befriended a yellow cocotaxi driver who always parked his taxi near our AirBnB. Whenever we needed a taxi to travel throughout Havana, we made sure that he was available to take us. Before heading to Fábrica de Arte Cubano, we wanted to buy some Cuban cigars and smoke them along the Malecón. We asked our taxi driver for recommendations to buy cigars, and he immediately brought over his friend who claimed to sell cigars.
“Follow me, follow me,” the friend demanded in a heavy Cuban accent. Ready for the adventure, we decided to obey. The friend took us through some residential streets to this run-down building. He began walking up the abandoned steps, and we followed. On the first floor of the building stood a brooding man guarding a table with stacks of boxes. The man began opening the boxes, which contained, luckily, the promised cigars.
The friend began to explain, in broken English, the endless variety of cigars contained in the boxes. He attempted to persuade us buy multiple cigars to bring home to our friends and family. We didn’t plan to purchase in bulk since we were headed to Fábrica de Arte Cubano later in the night, so we told him that we only wanted to buy two cigars. The friend insisted that I needed to buy cigarillos because women shouldn’t smoke the true, Cuban cigars. Of course, I didn’t want a cigarillo—who goes to Cuba and smokes a cigarillo—so I persisted on wanting the Cuban cigar. Ultimately, I lost this argument, and my boyfriend ended up buying two cigars; one for a “friend back home.”
Despite the challenges of lighting the cigars with the wind from the ocean, watching the sunset as we walked along the Malecón smoking our fat Cuban cigars made the whole Cuban cigar experience all the more memorable.
The street where the run-down building was located
Our cocotaxi driver taking us to Submarino Amarillo
Our cocotaxi driver who sparked the adventure