Visiting Hector Luis Prieto with John Bongo

28 Mar

As John wrote, this was to be the “cherry on top of his Cuban cake”.

The cherry for Hector Luis and all other tobacco growers in the Vuelta Abajo was that the 2017 harvest was one of the best in recent years.

All factors, weather, sunny days, cool nights, little rainfall, were in perfect alignment and provided these hard-working guajiros with a leafy reward.

The creation of the “Ruta del Tabaco” has also been a reward in that the farms receive the visit of interested tourists, not just the few cigar af√≠cionados, and are able to make a profit while not losing their charm and offering a glimpse of what tobacco planting and cigar rolling is all about.

I was fortunate in that Nick had a tour group that John was invited to join for a tour by Osvaldo of the curing barns and the humidor – we then walked through the late sun tobacco plants that were still growing nicely, while the shade tobacco was already curing in the barn.

Both John and I enjoyed the tranquillity of the farm downstairs in the newly built cigar lounge while the tourists groups were having lunch upstairs.

Hector Luis joined us for a long and interesting conversation on the harvest and then we were joined by the sales director and the legal adviser of Cuba Ron who proceeded to give us not just a fantastic tour d’horizon on Cuban rum but dished out two very fine bottles, one of Santiago 12 yr old with an additional 10 years in a warehouse and a very smooth Cubay 10 yr old that became our instant favourite and postponed our planned departure back to Havana by two very happily spent hours.

There’s nothing like the magic of that farm, a good cigar and wonderful rum to give you the Zen like tranquillity that John mentioned and that I always feel there.

We will be back.


With a few days of my trip left we spent half a day at a tobacco farm in Pinar Del Rio, the home of Hector Luis Prieto, where I was treated to a tour of the farm, a wonderful lunch and a couple of hours in the company of the man himself. I can’t tell you what an experience that was, drinking some excellent rum, smoking some of the best cigars I’ve had, rolled right there by Alejandro with tobacco grown in the fields surrounding us. Just incredible !

All I can say is there is something magic about that place and I will definitely be going back, not only for the cigars, which were outstanding examples of single Vega cigars but for the almost Zen like tranquillity that is to be experienced there. Sitting in the open air lounge overlooking the little stream out onto the tobacco fields surrounded by local wildlife, was, for me, the cherry on top of my Cuban cake.

John Bongo


One Response to “Visiting Hector Luis Prieto with John Bongo”

  1. Frank 28/03/2017 at 13:41 #

    Just love that place. Lovely written Nino and John