Travel

5 MINUTE READ

A cigar lover’s guide to Tenerife

Words by Gabriela Greess

31 May 2024

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Our cigar correspondent heads to the largest Canary Island to report on its Cuban-style smoking scene.

Every cigar aficionado is guaranteed to find their favourite spot in Tenerife. In the same day, you could spend the morning enjoying tobacco with views over the snow-covered peaks of Teide Volcano, and the afternoon smoking your favourite cigar by the beach. The south part of the island has almost constant sunshine (and is where the largest tobacco stores are located), but the the wild and verdant north is home to a more traditional way of life. As such, you could have many different smoky adventures here as you experience both sides of the largest Canary Island.

A tranquil stroll by the sea

First, I stroll down the long lava beaches on the coast of Punta Brava, where boulders pile up like archaic giants and the scenery slowly shifts from a tranquil fishing village to the colourful streets of Puerto de la Cruz. In front of the Atlantic's roaring waves, I treat myself to a hand-rolled welcome cigar: the exquisite, spicy La Regenta Maduro Short Robusto, recommended by the boss of Habanos Point Tabaquería Amber, which is just a few steps from the sea front.

'Thanks to its top quality, it has made it into the tasting rounds of spoiled aficionados from Western Europe and online,' he says, as a trumpet player improvises salsa rhythms in the square outside.

This is a hint at the Cuban lifestyle that resonates everywhere in Tenerife – not least because a fine cigar made in Gran Canaria costs a fraction of the price of a similarly formatted Habanos. I learn this is because many Canarians once left their poor homeland to seek their fortune in the New World – but later returned from Cuba and brought its culture with them, including the art of cigar rolling.

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La Regenta Maduro Short Robusto

By the time I’ve finished by Regenta cigar, I’ve almost finished my walk along the promenade. The sky is bright blue and there’s a refreshing sea mist in the air, and the aromatic notes of chocolate, thanks to filler tobacco from Brazil and the Dominican Republic, tickle my palate. I’m about to meet Nancy who, like many Cubans, emigrated to the Canary Islands, where she lives with her friend, 89-year-old Juan-Antonio. He smokes Flor de Canarias and talks enthusiastically about his youth as a cowherd in the mountains of Tenerife. Naturally, he swears by the magic of Canarian cigars.

We head to Casa Julian, a restaurant on Punta Brava beach that has a cosy smoking terrace with magnificent views – and, as a bonus, the service is excellent. As we sit, chef Guacimara comes to show off the catch of the day. Alternatively, the quaint little restaurant at the tip of the peninsula, Marlin, has the best squid, and Brunelli's Steakhouse demonstrates the internationality of Tenerife.

As we explore, I find myself immediately falling in love with the bustling town of Puerto de la Cruz. Culturally rich, it reminds me of Cuba – particularly the whitewashed facades, wooden balconies, and proud royal palms. To soak it all in, the panoramic terrace of the Terraza Atlántico restaurant, opposite Spain's most beautiful seaside swimming pool – designed by star architect César Manrique – is perfect for enjoying a unique cigar.

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Casa Julian on Punta Brava beach

And my Partágas Series D turns out to be a good choice. I found them at a reasonable price in La Cava la Cubana, a tabaquería close to the colonial Marquesa Hotel, again inspired by Havana's architecture.

As night falls, we head to the sophisticated seaside Andana Beach Club. Make the most of the evening by first enjoying the sunset at the nearby Castillo San Felipe – it is celebrated here every night, like an event.

A journey to the hills

The next day, I got on the bus to visit legendary cigar maker Arturo in the mountain village of Garachico. Like his father and grandfather before him, Arturo worked in a cigar factory as a teenager, and has been rolling the popular Macuba formats for well over 40 years. The resultant cigars are reminiscent of spicy expressions from Cuba and Nicaragua.

'I use wrapper leaves from Cuba,' he reveals. 'And from the neighbouring island of La Palma, where I was born, I source the best harvests from the tobacco plantations there.'

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Garachico

Just opposite, I try Arthur's Macuba Lancero cigar on the terrace of El Caletón – a restaurant on the rocks next to the sea. The ashtray stands on a wine barrel, and an artistic arrangement of lava stone spreads out before me, gleaming like polished onyx. Have you ever bathed in a seawater pool? It's possible here, amongst meditative silence.

If you're up for some rum afterwards, El Trueque Gourmet (Callejón Venus) is your El Dorado: Ron Arehucas 30 años, produced in the Canary Islands, goes perfectly with a cigar. Perfume lovers will also get their money's worth – Casa del Perfume Canario surprises with the creation Thénesor, which combines subtle tobacco notes with a hint of leather.

A haven for aficionados

Mass tourism dominates the south of Tenerife, so choose your accommodation accordingly. Anyone looking for an exclusive oasis should stay at Bahia del Duque. This haven for cigar lovers is an unforgettable hideaway with sea views from its beautiful gardens.

Aficionados will also find many tobacco stores with an international flair on the Los Cristianos and Adeje coasts – there are options here that will satisfy even the most discerning customers. Ten years ago, Tenerife's current cigar king entered the business with a wooden kiosk in Adeje. Today, Eloy Romero is the proud owner of three leading tobacco stores, including the largest on the Canary Islands in Playa de los Cristianos; true to its name, his company Some Cigars stocks top cigars from all tobacco-growing regions. They also specialize in rare limited editions, such as Cohiba 55 Aniversario Edición Limitada 2021 and Plasencia Ehtefal Edición Especial Qatar 2022.

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Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort

'Many of my customers switched from Habanos to Davidoff after the prices rose immensely,' explains Romero.

Another option is La Casa del Habano, which first opened on the privileged Costa Adeje in 2021. It has since taken up residence in a high-class shopping mall, where it is owned by the Dominique London Group, one of Europe's leading cigar specialists. Due to limited offers of Habanos cigar boxes, aficionados can now find three packs of Cohiba Robusto and five packs of Cohiba Siglo III.

As I leave, I discover one final – albeit, unexpected – nod to cigar-smoking in Tenerife, in the form of the island’s largest parrot park. This is, I learn, a posthumous wink to Winston Churchill, who not only had a passion for cigars, but also loved parrots. And at Some Cigars on the Costa Adeje, I find a cigar to match: the belly band of the Paradiso Revelation Leviathan, made in Nicaragua, is adorned with a magnificent parrot.

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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Travel Guide

Some Cigars – Habanos specialist
Av. de Suecia, 22
38650 Los Cristianos

Casa del Habano
Comercial Duke Shops
Av. de Bruselas, 14, Local S1–24 Centro
38679 Costa Adeje

Amber – Habanos Point
Calle de Santo Domingo 22
38400 Puerto de la Cru

Tabaquería Columbus Plaza – Habanos point
Plaza Charco, 4.
38400 Puerto De La Cruz.

Tabaqueria La Cava La Cubana
Calle Quintana, 5
38400 Puerto de la Cruz

Centro Comercial X-Sur
Calle Lisboa 2
38660 Adeje

Tabacos Arturo – Cigar roller
Avenida República de Venezuela, 3
38450 Garachico

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