The Caracol Commerical Company S.A. was created in 2004, aiming to promote Cuban products and introduce them to world markets via tourists visiting Cuba. Belonging to Department of Tourism, its shopping centers are distributed throughout the country, in and outside hotels in the main tourist areas. Its stores offer a wide variety of typical Cuban products, among them many brands of rum, tobacco and coffee as well as assorted souvenirs.
There are 13 specialized Casas del Habano showcasing Cuban cigars and tobacco, mainly located in hotels. In Havana, they are found at the Hotel National, the Meliá Cohiba and the Habana Libre among others, alongside several at the Varadero beach resort and the cities of Cienfuegos, Ciego de Ávila, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba.
One of the major draws for visitors to the Casas del Habano are cigar rolling demonstrations by master cigar makers. The most visited is the Casa del Habano Partagás located in a busy central part of Havana near the Capitolio. Like all the Casas del Habano, it offers visitors an attractive place to buy world-renowned Cuban cigars. It was created in 1991 and three years later it became part of the International Habanos Corporation S.A., under the administration of Caracol Specialty Branches.
Among the most popular brands sought by visitors to the Casa are the eponymous Partagás, as well as Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo and Cohíba. The Casa del Habano Partagás is located in the original factory building where the Partagás brand was first created in 1845, and today its customers enjoy excellent service and value the variety of cigars on offer.
Cigar lovers can also catch well-known cigar maker José Castelar Cairo, better known as Cueto, at specialist tobacco shop La Triada as well as the Caracol store at Havana’s fortress El Morro de la Cabaña. With over forty years experience, Cueto has broken the world record for rolling the longest habano cigars several times. The first record was for a cigar measuring 11.04m in 2001, the second measured in at 14.8m in 2003 and the third at 20.41m in 2005, all recognized by the Guinness Book of Records.