Bonaire, the Dutch Caribbean island, world-famous as the best diving spot, is also the place to visit for rare Cuban cigars. Who knew? Cuban cigars have always been a much-sought-out luxury. Never more so, however, than right now, it seems.
Pandemics and embargos have added to the scarcity of this luxury item around the world but sometimes travelers get lucky. Would you believe that the Netherlands municipality of Bonaire, the Caribbean Island that is the middle child of the ABC islands, has Cuban cigars on offer? Yes, even now.
You would be hard-pressed to source many top Cuban brands most anywhere in the world right now in any substantial quantity. In fact, coming out of the multitude of problems affecting the industry over the last three years, the humidor shelves of dealers worldwide remain empty of many of Havana’s new releases for 2022.
Supply chain issues are to blame for the scarcity of top sellers the likes of Partagás Serie D and the Cohiba Behike. Covid-19 and its Omicron variant have seen the workforce of the Cuban cigar industry reduced by up to 50 percent. Despite the importance of cigars in Cuba’s economy, Covid was responsible for the closing of the immense La Corona factory for two months. Naturally, this factory was only one of many affected in a negative way by the worldwide pandemic. Of course, this was not an insignificant knock to production in the country.
The industry is staring in the face of its most dire challenge in more than a half a century with the shortage of Cuban cigars. Customers and suppliers alike are understandably anticipating the arrival, albeit late and probably of limited quantity, of Ramón Allones Private Stock, the UK regional edition, the 2020 Partagás Legado Edición Limitada.
For those travelers headed off to the US from Bonaire, bear in mind that you are not allowed to bring Cuban cigars cannot with you to the United States. But you are absolutely free to smoke as many as you like while in the Caribbean.
Before proceeding to our advices, you should know that the island of Bonaire has established a new Bonaire tourism tax applicable to all the foreigners wishing to visit the island.
What Cigar to Buy in Bonaire
Counterfeits are alive and smoking given the door opened wider by the shortage of cigars. So be vigilant, source the top brands, and buy only from reputable and legitimate outlets.
The Trinidad brand has become Havana’s top-of-the-line cigar. It hit the shelves as Fidel Castro’s VIP cigar in 1996, taking the place of the Cohiba. The Trinidad has a hallmark pigtailed cap and is medium-full-flavored. It’s reputed to be a “ghost” cigar, thanks to its scarcity and, if you can find it, will cost you a premium price.
Cohiba behike cigars remain the cigars the most counterfeited. They are incredibly hard to come by and fetch an unbelievably high price when available. Do not be tempted to buy Cohibas from anywhere but a reliable supplier.
The Cohiba Robusto Reserva is as rare as it can be with a mere 500 individually numbered boxes released.
The less expensive and markedly milder Siglo VI is another option. As for the limited-edition option, try to get your hands on the 2021-punted but late in the coming, pig-tailed 5 7/8 x 57 Cohiba 55 Aniversario Edición Limitada.
Montecristo No. 2 pirámide offers a medium-strength, rich flavor and is shaped to avoid counterfeiting. Remember that Montecristo is one word. Monte Cristo is a definite genuine fake!
Partagás Series D No. 4 Robusto is almost impossible to find, popular as it is. The Serie D No.5 is shorter but a whole lot easier to come by. The 6 ¼ x 47 Presidente figurado has an easy-to-clip Perfecto cap and a pinched foot hat is easy to light.
Romeo y Julieta cigars, the in-between times cigar that never fails to satisfy. As classic as its namesake. It boasts the Short Churchill as well as the bigger-ringed 5 ¼ x 55 Wide Churchill Robusto.
- Upmann is a gentle smoke medium strength cigar that suits enjoying in the early afternoon to late evening.
Hoyo de Monterrey defies the misconception that Cuban cigars are always strong.
Where to Buy in Bonaire
For a small island, options for buying the real deal in Cuban cigars are sizeable, the outlet Moana Surf Shop in Bonaire being one option.
The town of Kralendijk invites you to partake of their providers of Cuban cigars. at:
The Cigar Emporium, La Casa del Habano, Salt Shop Bonaire, High Spirit Cuban Cigar & Liquor, Cuba Compagnie, Best Cellars Bonaire, Little Havana, the Beachvibes Surf Shop. Find the local quirky shopping avenue in Kralendijk that is home to a collection of boutiques and unique merchants, and you will be rewarded with Cuban cigars.
Not quite in Bonaire but in the capital city of Willemstad on Bonaire’s sister island of Curaçao, try your luck at:
Cigar Emporium, Don Caribe, La Casa del Habano Curacao, Curaçao Cigar Shop, La Vitola, Bandido Cigar Lounge, and Island Treasures Gifts and Souvenirs.
The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), as it turns out bring visitors extremely well-stocked humidors. At the exclusive Cigar Emporium stores, lovers of the real deal in Cuban cigars will find the exquisite Exclusivo Caribe regional edition cigar that is only available in the Caribbean. This cigar goes by the name of “La Gloria Cubana Paraiso”. Cigar Emporium is among only a few locations that still have stock of this 2014 Regional Edition cigar that was released in 2015. Not hard to believe since only 4000 boxes of 25 cigars were ever released.
If you are just not that into smoking cigars, Bonaire’s ‘hottest spot’, Cuba Bonaire has just the thing for you. On Cuba Bonaire’s dessert menu patrons will find the Cuban Cigar. This is not to be lit, though. This is a dessert fan’s answer to the delights of a Cuban cigar. The dessert is a smoked chocolate mousse that is rolled like a cigar and is authentically complete with vanilla ash! Everyone wins on Bonaire in the pleasures brought about by the Cuban cigar. In all its forms. Let’s Pssita while enjoying a herf on the paradise island of Bonaire.