Cigars For Sale, Antigua Guatemala, Cuban
Cigars, Antigua Guatemala, Cuban
When Mrs. Yolkobsen thinks of Guatemala she thinks of warm breezes, colonial architecture, lots of beautiful Maya weaving, etc. etc. Mr. Y thinks about cigars. There, my friends, is the great gender divide. Once again, a woman is only a woman but a good cigar is smoke.
A recent afternoon found us roaming the streets of Antigua Guatemala looking for the goods, that is, the places that offer a sizeable selection of premium cigars, for sale either by box or singles. And they had to have a bone fide humidor. We found a few places in town that met our criteria and we’d like to share with you what we found. All prices are in US dollars.
First, it’s helpful to know there are any number of bars in Antigua Guatemala that sell a small selection of cigars (los puros) to their patrons. These are kept in humidor boxes or in the regular cigar boxes with their brands emblazoned on them. That’s why at night you often see clusters of men standing in front of bars and restaurants sending shafts of Cubano smoke out to punctuate the local atmosphere.
For those of you traveling to Guatemala for the first time, it’s important to know it’s against the law to smoke inside any establishment in the country. Even so, there are many restaurants and bars that will turn a blind eye to smoking. And if you intimate that a better tip would follow the arrival of an ashtray, you can puff away, but only cigarettes. It’s hard for even the most complicit waiter to keep steamboat blasts of cigar smoke subtly contained.
In any case, we found four establishments that had medium to small selections of Central American and Cuban cigars for sale and which corralled the smokes in professional standard humidors.
HAVANA CIGAR – 4a Calle Oriente #3
Just off the Parque Central, this long-established “puro boutique” has a good sized walk-in humidor. Like all purveyors of cigar rhapsody, pride of place and volume is given over to the Cubanos. Though there are some Guatemalan and Honduran tobacco pistols lolling in handsome boxes, the Cubans hold sway in this humidor. It’s worth dropping by just to get a whiff of this phone booth of a cigar case. There’s a musky, slightly caramel fragrance to the small window-lined cabin near the front of the bar. Here you find Cohibas ranging in price from $67 for a torpedo of a smoke, down to $3 for a dainty panatela. The Cubans cede a bit of space to the Guatemalans, which weigh in with the likes of the Flora Maya brand, $7 to $9. Don Puncho is also on hand at $9.
TABACOS Y VINOS – 5a Avenida Norte #28B
This cigar and wine house is on Antigua Guatemala’s Golden Mile, that is, the 5th Avenida near Antigua Guatemala’s iconic yellow arch and just beside the ruins of the 16th century Santa Catalina Church and convent. Their walk-in humidor hints at brown autumn leaf spice along with a classic brooding tobacco aroma. This establishment boasts a roster of Cubans and Hondurans, offering a modest to price medium price range. For example, the most expensive in stock is the Pantagas Saloman, a small submarine of a Havana, which can be had for $18. The Cubans also include a Land Rover of cigar, from the Bolivar line, $12, and a range of good old Romeo and Juliettas, in the $8 to $12 range. You can get a Honduran Indios for $10.
ALMACEN TROCCOLI – 3a Calle Poiniente con Calle de Arco
Also located in the pricey real estate section of town, the Almacen Troccoli has been in business in one form or another since 1903. Its present incarnation very much honors its history. Though it’s primarily a wine and spirits store, the antique appointments immediately stir up a vivid impression of an old-time apothecary. There’s no walk-in humidor here, but there is a beautiful vintage display case humidor that holds a smallish selection of Cubans, ranging in price. About $20 US will get you lit up with a Punch and $12 US will get you a date with a Cohiba Lancero.
ANTIGUA GUATEMALA TOBACCO COMPAÑIA – 3a Calle Poniente #12
The walk-in humidor at this wine bar has a good dung and earth smell that smacks the senses immediately. This is a good sign since it means that the humidity is keeping the rolled wonders fragrant and moist as they wait for their intended ones (you cigar lovers) to claim them. The aromatic inventory includes brands from Guatemala, Brazil, Nicaragua and Cuba, making this outlet the most varied, but not the most expensive cigar store here. The Guatemalans range from 60 cents for a pixie of a cheroot (the real stogie) to $12 for a fatso Guatemalanamerica. The Nicaraguans show off with medium to gigantic no-name numbers that range in price from $3 to $4. Brazil is represented by the likes of Doña Flor which rings in at $8. And $19 will curry favor with a Cuban Montecristo or you could pledge your eternal troth to a 23-dollar Cohiba. You pipe smokers will be glad to know that you can get a pouch of TP Guatemala tobacco here for about $8.