Robaina's plantation

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Cigar Tours to Cuba for Americans (week of Nov.16-22, 2015)

              Although I'm fully aware, this Blog has never been about Politics and will continue to be that way. However, Due to a recent development in Cuba-US relations, the question about Americans Travelling to Cuba has been in the forefront. 
              Below is a list of the current Eligible Traveler's for Americans going to Cuba:

(1) Family visits
(2) Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
(3) Journalistic activity
(4) Professional research and professional meetings
(5) Educational activities
(6) Religious activities
(7) Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
(8) Support for the Cuban people
(9) Humanitarian projects
(10) Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
(11) Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
(12) Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

And most importantly....
The per diem rate previously imposed on authorized travelers will no longer apply, and there is no specific dollar limit on authorized expenses.  Authorized travelers will be allowed to engage in transactions ordinarily incident to travel within Cuba, including payment of living expenses and the acquisition in Cuba of goods for personal consumption there.
Additionally, travelers will now be allowed to use U.S. credit and debit cards in Cuba. 

Importation of Goods:

Authorized U.S. travelers to Cuba will be allowed to import up to $400 worth of  goods acquired in Cuba for personal use.  This includes no more than $100 of alcohol or tobacco products.

Cut & Paste the Link below for Newspaper Article:

Which brings me to the next part of this post....

               As interest in Cuba by Americans has escalated, so has the interest in Cuban Cigars by Americans. In the past, many of my US readers have cried to me over the fact that they couldn't legally visit Cuba and how much they would love to go over there on a Cigar Vacation, maybe tag along on one of my trips. 
              Well, the time has come Aficionados, and there's none better than the present, before everyone has seen it or before it becomes overrun with people just like yourselves.  I will be leading a Cuban Cigar Journey for Other Cuban Journeys LLC, an OFAC licensed People to People organization that has been bringing groups to Cuba for the last 14 years! This Cigar Journey will be filled with visits to many venues and sites that you have seen in my photographs. The week of the trip coincides with the week that the Enceuentro Amigos de Partagas is being held and there will be an opportunity to partake in a couple of the events. The date we're talking about is November 16-22, 2015 and it promises to be filled with activities both related to Cigars and Culture of the Cuban people. Unfortunately, space will be limited and there is a deadline to sign up, April 1. For any specific details, please contact me privately. Below are pictures of what the week's Tour may look like:

PS......did you know that US citizens can now bring back $100 worth of cigars from Cuba with them for personal consumption? It's a great time for cigar aficionados to go and spend time and money in Cuba and bring back $100 of cigars!!!!

Plaza de La Revolucion (Havana)

Partagas (Habana Vieja)

Partagas Cigar Shop during the Encuentro week

La China (house roller) at the Partagas Store in Havana

El Malecon (Havana)

El Capitolio (Habana Vieja)

Parque de La Fraternidad (Habana Vieja)

Reynaldo (master roller) Conde de Villanueva lcdh (Habana Vieja)

Jorge (house roller) at the Conde de Villanueva lcdh (Habana Vieja)

Conde de Villanueva lcdh (Habana Vieja)

Hotel Nacional (Havana)

Entrance to the Robaina Farm (Pinar del Rio)

Lunch Table on the Robaina Farm

Curing Barn

Vinales Valley (Pinar del Rio)

The Mogotes of Pinar del Rio

Vinales (Pinar del Rio)

H.Upmann Factory

Club Havana (or what used to be the Havana Biltmore Yacht & Country Club)  

Club Havana lcdh (Havana)

Jorge (house roller) at the Club Havana lcdh (Havana)

Jose Fuster (cuban artist) Art Gallery, Studio & House

Encuentro Amigos de Partagas

Encuentro Amigos de Partagas

Juanita at the Hotel Melia Cohiba lcdh (Havana)

Hotel Melia Cohiba lcdh (Havana)

Cerveceria Antiguo Almacen (beer parlor) Havana

Havana Club Rum Museum

5ta y 16 lcdh (Havana)

Carlos Robaina at the 5ta y 16 lcdh (Havana)

Cesar Lopez (one of the best Jazz musicians on the island)

Alex (house roller) Hotel Comodoro

 Plaza San Francisco (Habana Vieja)

El Capitolio (Habana Vieja)

Custom Roll Cigars

Encuentro Amigos de Partagas

Friday 16 January 2015

Antiguo Cafetal Angerona in Artemisa (near Havana) Ruins of a Coffee Plantation

            Artemisa has been a Municipality of Cuba since 2010. Previously it was part of the Havana province but has now become it's own province comprising of 3 municipalities from Pinar del Rio and 8 from Havana. The drive from Havana to the Cafetal Angerona is about 40 minutes, it's not far from the highway that runs from Havana to Pinar del Rio.
            The Antiguo Cafetal Angerona are the ruins of a Coffee Plantation that was operational during Colonial times. The owner was a German immigrant named Cornelio Souchay who bought the land in 1813 for 14,000 pesos. By the middle of the 19th century it had become the largest coffee plantation in Western Cuba and the second largest on the island. In it's prime it had 450 slaves working on the property and used a System of Organized Labor that was different from anywhere else on the island. The expansive property was a self-contained little village with the slave population living to one side in huts containing no more than 2 families each. It was the custom at this time to put many slaves into much larger structures. They also had their own kitchens and communal showers which was unheard of back then. The plantation had it's own masonry factory, mills, infirmary and reservoirs, add some livestock and they were like their own little town...they even made their own clothes that dressed the slaves and replaced the garments when they were worn out. The Master didn't allow slaves to work at night and gave time off during the hot day sun. He also had over 2 dozen sheds scattered around the property so they could take shelter in case of rain.
              Souchay Cornelius died in Havana in 1837 and was buried in the plantation cemetery. The ruins are some of the most complete in Cuba and the site was declared a National Monument on Dec.31, 1981. There was a historian on site that knew everything there was to know about the property and it's owners. It was a beautiful day, only a few minutes off the highway heading to Pinar del Rio and a great spot to take pictures. It doesn't cost anything to look around but of course I gave the Historian and the Gardner (that happen to be there) a few dollars tip.

The Gardner holding his Lawn Mower