La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua

Visiting the La Zona Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua

The factory may even be the coziest and most picturesque in Estelí. Situated a block away from the central park in a Victorian style building with a big balcony that overlooks a busy intersection as well as the surrounding mountains, it breathes tobacco history. Two of its current owners, Humberto García Alayon and his son, Carlos Alberto García, left Cuba in 2001, and like so many others from that island, they come from a tobacco family.

Although the father-son pair had a lot of experience with tobacco, the country to which they moved had a new culture, which wasn’t easy to adapt to, as Humberto explains. “We came from a market with just one owner to a free country. We had to learn how that worked. We started o with several different customers, so we didn’t have any brands of our own.” That all changed for them in 2012, when Erik Espinosa came on board as a third owner.

The factory more or less became an Espinosa-brand exclusive. “Everything changed when Erik joined us,” says Humberto. “He’s a great salesman and a very formal man who encourages everyone to be serious about what they do. We increased production, got better raw material and created better products. Erik only allows the use of the best tobacco in his cigars and it’s a big difference working with products that are already established in a market, like his were in the US.”

Humberto García Alayon of La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua

Humberto García Alayon | Photo: Simon Lundh

La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí, Nicaragua

Photo: Simon Lundh


Since graduating with an engineering degree in surveying in 2005, Simon Lundh has preferred to follow a profession in journalism. He stumbled upon the cigar world while working for a non-governmental organization in Estelí, Nicaragua, and is now mainly making a living writing about cigars, metal music, tattoos, and travel.


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