Here in Cozumel you will find a fine
selection of cigars (called "puros" here), made
in Mexico from Mexican, Nicaraguan, Dominican, Honduran,
and Cuban tobaccos. Generally speaking, Mexican cigars
are cheaper and milder, but flavourful and very aromatic,
when compared to Cuban or Central American cigars. They
are definitely an excellent buy!
You can also enjoy real Cuban cigars
here...Mexico is still friends with Cuba. If you're returning
to the United States, however, you can NOT bring them
back with you, under penalty of SEVERE fines. NOTE:
This also applies to residents of Canada and other countries
if you are even merely changing planes in the United States
on your way home!
In the not-too-distant past, Mexican
cigar companies were required by law to only use Mexican
tobacco in their cigars. The result of this law was that
most Mexican cigars were full-bodied, but had little complexity.
Well, luckily for the cigar companies (and cigar smokers),
that law has changed and the taste of many Mexican cigars
did as well.
The best cigars in Mexico are made from
tobacco grown up in the mountains of Veracruz state; due
to the closeness to the Gulf of Mexico and prevailing
winds, the "Tuxtlas" region enjoys a mild and
humid climate, where tobacco reaches high quality and
concentration of flavor. There are several medium-sized
cigar companies in the area, giving employment to a great
number of experienced cigar makers; cigar-rolling is by
hand, according with tradition.
Cozumel has quite a few cigar stores
where you can buy Cuban and Mexican cigars, but beware...many
stores have been known to pass off cigars as Cuban which
have never been anywhere near that island nation. You'll
also discover that many cigar stores are really just time-share
traps, where they hope to get you in the door for cigars
and then talk you into going to a lengthy time/share presentation.
Since they have to cover the high rent, the cigars tend
to be seconds or outright counterfits.
Two other issues to consider: Is the
store a true humidor? A quality cigar store will have
the temperature and humidity controlled to maintain perfect
cigar condition. Finally, if purchasing a sealed box of
Cuban cigars, make sure you are shown the watermark on
the Cuban government seal under a black light. Any store
that won't do that is a tip off to you that something
is not quite right.