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Trip To Tabacalera Perdomo – Part One of a Three Part Series by Mr. Jonathan

Last week, Mr. Jonathan and David Garofalo were guests of Nick Perdomo in Nicaragua at this factory. This is the first of a three-part series on the trip as submitted by Mr. Jonathan.

Pre-amble:
Given that this is a cigar trip, in this article you will read as much about tobacco, cigars, and attention to detail as my fingers could type in short hand on my phone. Even with all we learned, as you will see it was a lot, I would be remiss if I did not mention the coffee, the food, and the service. People raved about the coffee so much that even the guy who doesn’t drink it because he never acquired a taste for it, eventually broke down, tried it, and loved it! The food at the Hotel Camino Real was like most hotel fare with an all you can eat breakfast buffet that featured an omelet station, fresh fruit, and fresh hand-made breakfast tortillas. The dish to get any other time of day is Steak Churrasco with Papas Fritas,  you will thank me.

After our 3.5 hour ride from Managua we arrived at what would be described as a motel, in the US, called Hotel El Campino. The meals prepared here were some of the better meals I have eaten. The eggs and chicken were raised on site, the beef is from a local farm, and the veggies where as fresh as can be. I would return for the food alone! The service at both places is a notch above 5 out of 5 stars. From the ability to handle food allergies to brewing a pot of coffee at 11pm I would be hard pressed to remember being taken care of so well on a trip to anywhere. The Nicaraguans are a people who take pride in a job well done and they don’t choose the way because of how easy or hard it is. The way of the folks that I met was chosen because it was the right way.

Getting there:
This week Dave and I took a trip to visit the facilities of Tabacalera Perdomo in Nicaragua. We came packing with our Vertigo Cyclones filled with gas and because of their patented big ass tanks we were the go to guys when anyone needed a light especially on the bus with all of its windows open on the 3.5 hour ride from Managua to Esteli. Knowing in advance that the bus ride was 3.5 hours I made sure I had a full charge on my iPad and phone and both were loaded with podcasts and TV shows to help pass the time. Other than filming and taking pictures there was no need for additional entertainment as Nick Perdomo was at the helm offering a guided tour and history lesson about almost everything we drove by. The man is a natural story-teller, delivering a vivid and well worded picture of where Nicaragua was, is, and what the future holds for this beautiful country.

Nicaragua, we learned, means “Never without water” and, on top of having 6 months of rainy season, the fresh water table is the highest of all in Central America. It has 4 active volcanos and a soil ph of 7, coincidentally the optimal ph to cultivate tobacco. The rich volcanic soil is naturally replete with many of the key nutrients that make Nicaraguan tobacco equal parts sweet and strong. Where other countries struggle to cope with wind, that can damage the crop’s yield, the surrounding mountains keep the wind at bay holding it at ten feet off the ground. Since tobacco grows no higher than 6 feet, the country naturally has higher than average yields.

Driving through the center of Esteli Nicaragua one gets the feeling that, all though the city is well-worn like many inner cities of the U.S., you are surrounded by hard-working and honest people. Tobacco has been grown here for 6 generations and while other countries complain about their unemployment numbers Esteli boasts a 100% employment rate. According to an article in the Nicaraguan Times the average worker stays with any given factory for not more than 6 months while Perdomo averages 17.4 years. A fact the Nick relayed to us with great pride.

Tomorrow: Day 1 at Tabacalera Perdomo

Mr. J At The Pool

Mr. J At The Pool

On The Bus To Esteli

On The Bus To Esteli