This year, Miami and the Dominican Republic were named favorite U.S. Travel Destination and International Travel Destination, respectively, in Cigars & Leisure‘s 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards. Read more about each below. For other winners of this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards, click here. You can also view the Top 20 Cigars of the Year, powered by CigarClub, by clicking here.
Favorite U.S. Travel Destination: Miami, Florida
For another year, Miami was voted as Cigars & Leisure’s Favorite U.S. Travel Destination. It should come as no surprise to any cigar smoker why Miami is a go-to destination for many.
The cigar culture is strong in Miami and present throughout the city. Many of the leading cigar brands have offices throughout the city; some of the industry’s leading cigar lounges are located in Miami; and the city’s Little Havana neighborhood is home to numerous cigar factories and stores. In addition to the city’s deep roots in cigars, Miami offers travelers everything desired from taking a memorable trip—great beaches, delectable culinary dishes, mind-blowing nightlife and much more.
Best Time to Visit: If you want to avoid the crowds and the heat, book your trip in April or May. Visiting Miami in or around August will let you experience the best of the city’s spa, restaurant and hotel scenes. If it’s entertainment you seek, hold off on traveling to Miami until later in the year, around October and November. Because of the cooler and drier weather, you may encounter larger crowds in the winter months, but there’s still plenty to see and do.
Weather: Because Miami is located in the tropics, expect warm weather throughout the year. Summers are hot and humid, with rain storms popping up often. Hurricanes are possible from June through November. Spring is the best time of year to travel to Miami due to lower chances of rain and temperatures ranging on average from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to Stay: While you may be tempted to stay in the famous South Beach area, don’t—you’ll encounter higher prices and larger crowds. Instead, consider staying in the Brickell neighborhood, which is located in downtown Miami. There are plenty of luxury hotels, restaurants, shops and cigar lounges in the area to keep you entertained. Brickell is also a short distance from the airport and the highway, putting you close to all of the action in Miami while avoiding the tourists that will inevitably flock toward the beach.
What to Do: It’s a given that you will end up on one of Miami’s beaches at some point of your trip, but what’s there to do when you aren’t tanning and soaking up the sun? Immerse yourself into the art of the city by visiting Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum that features artwork by some of the world’s leading street artists. For those seeking adventure that don’t mind walking on—or diving into—the wild side, go wreck diving in Emerald Reef, one of Miami’s largest natural reefs, where you’re bound to find many lobsters and other sea creatures hiding out among the reef’s large rocks.
Favorite International Travel Destination: Dominican Republic
They don’t call it Cigar Country for nothing. The Dominican Republic, with its sandy beaches, resorts and short distance from Miami, has long been a favorite destination for many cigar smokers. Much like Miami, the Dominican Republic is sunny year-round, with the best weather expected from December through early March. Due to its tropical climate, the Dominican Republic is a perfect climate for tobacco growers, and, outside of Cuba, it has become home to many of the world’s leading cigarmakers and brands.
Best Time to Visit: For cigar enthusiasts, book a trip to the Dominican Republic during the month of February, specifically during the Procigar festival. The Procigar festival is an annual festival celebrating the Dominican Republic’s cigar culture. The week-long festival will give you the chance to take in some of the island country’s breathtaking sights, try its culinary dishes and smoke some of the best cigars made in the country. The Procigar festival also includes guided tours of many well-known cigar factories, such as Tabacalera de García (Montecristo, H. Upmann, Romeo y Julieta), La Aurora, Tabacalera La Alianza (E.P. Carrillo), Davidoff and many others. For more information, visit procigar.org.
What to Pack: When planning your wardrobe, you’ll want to pack for every occasion. Pack swimwear for the beach, casual clothes for daytime tours and sightseeing, and some nice outfits for dinners and nightlife.
Getting Around: Before arriving, try to book transportation to and from the airport through your hotel or resort. Download the Uber app and use it during your stay, as this is an easy way to get around. While you can use U.S. dollars in the Dominican Republic, you may end up paying more than you anticipated, making it a good idea to come equipped with some Dominican peso (RD$). The exchange rate can fluctuate, but generally RD$100 = US$2; RD$500 = US$10 and RD$1,000 = US$20.
This story first appeared in the CigarClub Sponsored issue of Cigars & Leisure magazine that can be accessed by clicking here.
Photos courtesy of the GMCVB – MiamiandBeaches.com and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.