Cigarros Joyas de Panama

Coclé Province

This local cigar factory enjoys quite a reputation internationally for its unique hand-rolled Cuban-seed puros (cigars). Depending on the time of year, a dozen to 40 workers roll as many as 400 cigars a day. Owner Miriam Padilla, who set up the factory in 1982, will gladly show you around. A number of different vitolas (the measurement of a cigar) are for sale, starting at US$15 for a box of five Coronitas and reaching US$100 for the #1 Especial.

The cigars are made with tobacco grown in Chiriquí in an assembly process that begins with leaf separation from stem. Employees roll the cigars at rows of desks in a long concrete-sided, aluminum-roofed building. Once finished they are placed in molds for 30 to 45 minutes, then cut and packaged before being shipped, primarily to the USA, France and Spain.

To get to the factory from the center of La Pintada, drive southeast toward Penonomé. After about 1km you'll come to a police station on your right. Turn right onto the well-maintained road just beyond it and drive for 400m. The factory is up on the hill to the right.