The fertile soils of the Cibao valley yield some of the world’s finest tobacco. If you’re a cigar aficionado, or simply interested in watching the process first-hand, consider a weekday visit (generally 7am–4pm) to one of the various cigar factories in the towns surrounding Santiago.

Tamboril

This town 15km east of Santiago is one of the world’s most famous cigar towns. The largest operation is Flor Dominicana, Calle Real (t 580-5139), so you should make arrangements beforehand. Smaller Fábrica Anilo de Oro, C Real 85 (t 580-5808), manufacturers of Abreu and Presidente, and Tabacalera Jacagua, Cappelán 13 (t 580-6600), both offer free tours and a free fresh-rolled cigar at the end.

Villa González

15 km northwest of Santiago along the Carretera Duarte, two small-scale factories lie across the highway from each other: Pinar del Río Tabacalera and Túbano’s are both used to visitors; you‘ll get a glimpse of the cigar rollers and then get escorted to the gift shop.

Navarette

Just west of Villa González, the Tabaclera Jacagua factory (t 585-5702) on the main park is less geared towards selling cigars to passing tourists and will give you a better sense of the cigar-rolling craft.

Moca

This town, 20km southeast of Santiago, is home to the Tabacalera Anónima, a small cigar factory opposite the police station.