Vuelta Abajo, land of the best tobacco
By Alina Veranes
Written indistinctly Vuelta Abajo or Vueltabajo, such is the name of the Cuban land where the best tobacco in the country and the world is grown, a plant that, being native to South America, found in our island a bountiful or promised land, according to the criteria of demanding smokers.
The famous Vegas de Vuelta Abajo are to the west of the westernmost province, Pinar del Río, and occupy an area of approximately 140 km in length and 16 km in width. Fertile areas of great prestige in the industry are also very close: the city of Pinar del Río itself, and the towns of San Luis and San Juan y Martínez.
To the south of Vuelta Abajo there are plains stopped further north by the mountains of the Sierras de los Órganos and del Rosario, so that Pinar del Río has a diverse geography, with large forest resources, promoted by rational and scientific policies, in harmony with nature.
Soon the most demanding smokers realized that the leaves of the cigars made from Vuelta Abajo crops had a much higher quality than those of the rest of the country, also very good. Farming became specialized and more selective over the years, helping to grow and cement the fame of the national cigars made in those places.
Even in that area, only a portion of the land, less than a quarter, acquired the condition of Vegas Finas de Primera, to guarantee a final product of plus quality, which, of course, has been achieved. Among the most outstanding vegas are those of Vizcaíno, whose leaves are of supreme quality.
The small town and surroundings of San Luis are very notable exponents of the tobacco culture. The El Corojo and Las Cuchillas de Barbacoa plains stand out from it, a site renowned for housing the property of the family of the late grower Alejandro Robaina, highly successful as a producer at a national and international level.