San Juan y Martinez

The finest-quality tobacco leaves come from Vuelta Abajo—the region southwest of Pinar del Río city—thanks to a combination of abundant rainfall throughout the year (except during the growing season). And although the countryside here is relatively drab, it's the mecca that puro (cigar purists) must visit. Some 80,000 acres of tobacco are planted annually in the province, and the best of it is found around San Luis and San Juan y Martínez.

The main street in San Juan y Martínez is lined with pastel-color, columned houses, typical of the province. Other than a café or two and the odd paladar, this sleepy tobacco town has little to offer. A visit to a tobacco farm is the main reason for lingering in Vuelta Abajo. Drop in at any plantation and the farmers will show you the crops, techniques, and drying barns, and possibly invite you for lunch.

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