Procigar 2024 Day Two

Day Two of the Procigar 2024 Festival featured a catamaran ride to Isla de Catalina, followed by dinner revolving around the Montecristo Epic line.

One thing I have learned about covering the Procigar Festival is that while cigars are always in the spotlight, the events also showcase the culture of the Dominican Republic. The first two-and-a-half days take place in La Romana, located in the southeast portion of the Dominican Republic. La Romana is home to the world-famous Tabacalera de García factory, as well as the location of some fantastic resorts and beaches, such as the host hotel Casa de Campo. Regarding beaches, I was previously unaware of Isla de Catalina, a small island of only 9.5 square kilometers off the coast of La Romana. It’s not commercialized. In fact, it very much has the look of a desert island.

On his 1494 voyage, Christopher Columbus discovered the island and called it Isla de Catalina. Today it is a day excursion destination where you can lounge or swim as well as hike or go snorkeling. There are no resorts or cars on the island. You can only reach the island by boat. Procigar arranged a trip to Isla de Catalina from Casa de Campo in La Romana.

We took a catamaran to get to the island. If you aren’t familiar with a catamaran, it is a boat with two hulls. In all seriousness, the name of our boat was Captain Gringo.

The boat ride from Casa de Campo took about an hour, and we were able to smoke on the boat. Since Tabacalera de García was our host, the brands out of that factory were highlighted.

If you are prone to seasickness like I am, it could be a little uncomfortable, but it is an absolutely beautiful ride off the coast of the Dominican Republic. The water is rich and blue, and it is fun to see the other boats. On this ocassion, music was played on the boat – and yes, it was cigar industry loud at times.

We spent about 90 minutes on the beach at Isla de Catalina. Some folks opted to go to the beach (the beach chairs were free), but there were also some covered areas. We did smoke on the island – although I’m not sure that is allowed everywhere. Surprisingly, the white sand is incredibly soft.

In the evening, it was back to Casa de Campo for the evening reception and dinner. The reception was held at a beachside area of Casa de Campo known as Minitas Beach. Once again, Tabacalera de García was the host. Javier Elmudesi, the factory manager, greeted us.

At Procigar, the cigars produced by the members of the organization are highlighted at each gala. While this evening’s festivities offered attendees cigars from other manufacturers, Tabacalera de García highlighted the Montecristo Epic line. I’ve also seen Festival del Habano do this with its brands. The evening focused on the Montecristo Epic and the Montecristo Epic Vintage 12 Blue. It should be noted that the evening of Day One was similar in that VegaFina 1998 was the focus.

Additionally, attendees received a special two-pack of the two Montecristo Epic cigars.

Photo Credit: Jay Davis

Finally, there was a cigar roller on hand rolling Montecristo Cigars. If you were wondering about the music, it wasn’t quite as loud as on the boat today.

Photo Credit: Jay Davis

Overall, the vibe of Day Two maintained a smaller, more intimate feel. Assuredly, this will change on Day Three as the festival goes into a transition day. That’s when we leave La Romana and head to Santiago de los Caballeros. Beginning with Tabacalera de García, the factory and farm tours start on Day Three.

For full Procigar 2024  coverage, see our Procigar 2024 Coverage Hub

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, unless specified otherwise