Cigar Shops + Tours in the Dominican Republic
Concierge.com's insider take:
The DR is the largest producer of cigars in the world, and Dominicans are the real deal, with the same celebrity following as Havanas (plus, they're legal back in the States). Jack Nicholson, Rosie Perez, and Pierce Brosnan are among the fans of brands such as Arturo Fuente, Cojimar, and Romeo y Julieta.
Most Dominican cigars are produced in the central Santiago and Cibao valleys—where there are more than 600,000 acres of tobacco plants as well as the factories that turn them into stogies. If you're a real cigar fan, visit Grupo León Jimenes, just outside Santiago, which runs weekday tours of its facilities. You can learn about the history of cigar-making, watch cigars being hand-rolled, and, naturally, buy samples (2 Calle Eduardo León Jimenes, Urbanizacion Villa Progreso; 809-755-2514).
If you're more interested in consumption than production, head straight for Calle el Conde, a pedestrian street in Santo Domingo with several fine cigar shops—most notably the Boutique del Fumador, where cigar makers roll fresh Cohibas (109 Calle El Conde; 809-685-6425).