Avoid Cuban Cigar Scams!

I love cigars. It’s a guilty pleasure that I indulge in during the summer months and while I am at any tropical destination. I do not want to get into the types of cigars I love, but more so give some beginner and intermediate advice to shopping for cigars because I have seen SO many people taken advantage of by cigar scams when I have been on vacation and who were so thankful when I talked them out of buying that mouldy cigar from some Cigar_Whiskeyguy’s pocket on the beach.

(Skip to the bottom if you want the quick globetrotter travel tips on cigars)

First things first, some basic knowledge about how a cigar is made can be found in this video (Watch here).

Maybe you haven’t even smoked a cigar. I watched this video from CigarObsession when I first started (Watch Here)

Cuba’s cigars are world  famous. The cigars that are legitimately made there are  some of the best quality cigars in the world. Remember that the the high demand for these has made cigar scam artists grow into fledgling businessmen.

Scam artists will often come up to tourists on the street or beach with what appears to be an official or brand name Cuban cigars at a deep discount. Globetrotter Travel Tip, With cigars, if the deal looks to good to be true, IT IS.  Most of the time, the cigars being hustled are either fake or stolen. Remember that genuine Cuban cigars are available only in state shops, state hotels or at official cigar factories. IMG_0209_1

Now, Cuban cigars come in a  box containing a certificate and sporting a holographic seal. If you don’t see these, you’re most likely being sold a fake. Legitimate cigars can cost anywhere from 5 CUC to upwards of 350 CUC, or more.

Cigars of questionable origin sell for whatever the con artist can get, maybe about 1 CUC. Do you really want to haggle to the point that you smoke fake cigars basically comprised of tobacco waste and pocket lint? If you want to buy a genuine Cuban cigar, and another Globetrotter Travel Tip is to really make it a two for one deal and go on a cigar factory tour of a brand name cigar. This way you can kill two birds with one stone. Now, notice how I stated ‘brand name cigar’. If you go on a cigar factory tour with a name you do not recognize, just be cautious as these cigars could also be of poor quality. I was hustled in the Dominican Republic using this same tactic in my younger cigar years. Some cigars were being made in a small operation behind a shop. While these were authentic and hand rolled, when smoked they were of terrible quality. Buyer beware. 

I used this exact infographic when I was in Veradero, Cuba for the first time. We all want to get a great deal, but we also don’t want to get ripped off.  What really helped me avoid being hustled was the stamp tip on the bottom of box. It should be burned in, not an ink stamp like I saw… Have any more Globetrotter travel tips, leave them in the comments below! 

Now, here is exactly what you should see on any Cuban cigar box (via

How to spot a fake Cuban Cigar