Editor's Note: I've been meaning to port my old blogs over to Cigar Federation for awhile now, but have just been too lazy to do it. With lots of discussion about Cigar Safari recently, and with Logan and Seth having a Cigar Safari Recap tomorrow night, I figured this would be a good day to kick this off. I'll post the first entry today and follow up with subsequent entries on Thursdays from here on out. This is a blog I posted on another forum in late May 2012 after my Cigar Safari trip - I have not made any updates to this.
I wanted to give daily updates on my trip, but I've been severely lacking Internet access. I'm writing this on the bus from Granada to Esteli on Day 2 and I'll send it out when possible.
Wednesday morning I woke up at 3:15 and headed to Newark airport for a flight to Miami. Most noteworthy part of the trip was Mike The Situation being on my flight. I tweeted that he was in my flight and no one noticed. American Airlines replied thanking me for flying!
I arrived in Miami and made my way to the gate for my flight to Managua. There I ran into the rest of the guys going on my trip. Once I realized who was on the trip and their stature in the cigar industry, I was a bit intimidated. Amongst those I met included fellow Redditor and DE Public & Media Relations Director Johnny Brooke, DE Midwest Rep Ben, Patrick & Patrick from StogieGuys fellow Redditor Tim from Podman, Patrick from Halfwheel, Brian & Mark from Cigar Rights of America, Stephen from The Cigar Network, Doc Diaz from Stogie Fresh, Skipper, Scott, Coop from Cigar-Coop, and Stace. If you aren't familiar with these guys or what they're about, I encourage you to track them down and visit their sites. All are extremely knowledgeable and they and their sites can provide some excellent knowledge. I'll have more in my end of trip summary.
After an uneventful flight, we arrived in Managua and met up with Pedro - our fantastic tour guide for this trip. I can't say enough good things about Pedro. Guy is basically running our trip, handling everything, translating, etc. Awesome!
After rounding up, our bus arrived and we immediately were invited to partake in some cigars and refreshments - a recurring theme. My initial thoughts driving towards lunch was that I was a long way from NJ! I smoked a Liga Privada #9 as we drove roughly 30 minutes to El Bucanero - a restaurant with a breathtaking view overlooking a lake. There, JD and Jesse arrived to join us and they brought even more smokes - L40s, Feral Pigs and Dirty Rats. JD took the time to talk with each of us and personally welcome us to Nicaragua. After the meal and several drinks and smokes, we got back on the bus and made our way to Granada and Hotel Colonial.
It was incredibly warm when we arrived and we all decided to jump in the pool and cool off while we enjoyed more smokes and drinks and wasted time talking during extra time before dinner. Conversation ranged throughout the day - sports, MMA, music and definitely cigars. I think I learned more about the cigar industry from these guys in one afternoon than I knew previously. As we sat in the pool, Steve Saka arrived with a batch of Undercrown Corona Vivas!
Next, we walked a few blocks through the center of town to dinner at Dario - definitely one of the nicer restaurants in town. After a nice meal and more drinks and smokes (including the best Tres Leches I've ever had) we went back to the hotel and, after finishing our smokes, crashed for the night.
Cigars smoked Day 1: No9, MUWAT, L40, Dirty Rat, Feral Pig and Undercrown Corona Viva. I've always written off the MUWAT as a novelty. I didn't love it, but its definitely a solid stick and not a novelty. Check it out if you haven't. Not sure I love that ring gauge, but still very good. The UC Corona Viva was definitely much more my style than previous Undercrowns I have smoked. Definitely more of a kick - I like it. The L40 or Dirty Rat remains my favorite...thus far.
This trip is shaping up well. Nicaragua really is beautiful. Drew Estate is putting forth a first class trip and I'm being treated like a king.
I'll have further updates as the week progresses and try to give a good summary at the end, but here's an overview to whet your appetite and make sure I don't forget anything later! ;)