Caracol was founded in 1994 with the aim of creating a network of retail stores focused on the international tourist market in Cuba.
Today it represents a chain of over seven hundred stores across the country dedicated to satisfying the needs of national and international customers.
Found at the all the country’s major tourist centres, usually inside hotels or on their grounds, Caracol stores offer an ample selection of quality products. These range from typically Cuban products such as rum, tobacco, coffee and souvenirs to well-known clothing brands, footwear and accessories, perfumes and cosmetics, and elegant jewellery. Additionally their well-stocked supermarket stores stock high quality Cuban and imported groceries, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, personal hygiene products, cleaning products and more.
Caracol also runs a chain of Photoclub stores that offer photo printing and customized photo products as well as video editing and other image services that customers the chance to take home a personalized souvenir of their trip to Cuba.
Estela Doyle Lorenzo, Caracol’s commercial director, pinpointed cigars as one of the chain’s high end products and explained that the company runs thirteen of Cuba’s eighteen specialist cigar shops - the Casas del Habano. The shops offer an extensive and exclusive selection of products spanning the world’s best-known cigar brands--Cohiba, Partagás, Romeo y Juliet and Montecristo-- and their specialized services are tailored to their clients.
“The elegance of the atmosphere [at the Casas del Habano] attracts a constant stream of tourists as well as homegrown and international celebrities,” she adds.
In the very heart of the capital city, inside the historic Royal Cigar Factory, the Casa del Habano Partagás is a symbol of distinction, tradition, Cuban soul and hospitality.
This establishment was founded in 1993, the first Casa del Habano of its kind in Cuba set up by the Caracol business group. It is now part of a franchise made up of over one hundred and forty Casas del Habano worldwide.
The emblematic cigar emporium pays tribute to the tradition of “El Habano”, the Cuban cigar, an enigmatic and captivating pleasure.
From the beginning this Casa ran a campaign of advertising, promotion and public relations to enhance the prestige of the Cuban cigar globally, to raise sales and to create more brand loyalty. In 1995, alongside Habanos S.A, it celebrated the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Partagás brand and from 1998 onwards started developing the annual cigar festival, a meeting for “friends and clients of Partagás” which now takes place every November.
For seven days this encounter brings together the most exclusive cigar distributors, managers of Casas del Habano worldwide and tobacco executives, as well as business, arts and media figures and cigar lovers in general.
Participants enjoy a busy cigar-related schedule, with the welcome dinner and the spectacular gala dinner bookending a week of visits to tobacco related locations of interest in and around Havana, a beach day, a countryside excursion, raffles and auctions and many other recreational activities. The event also just provides a space for aficionados to smoke in the Casa, among friends.
Year round, all the Casas del Habano provide a distinguished and exclusive space where clients can browse the selections of Cuban tobacco, rum and coffee, smoking paraphernalia and promotional items alongside gourmet food and drink, rum and liqueur tastings and a hand-rolled cigar service.
Caracol’s future is bright according to Estela Doyle Lorenzo, with its principal goals being to raise standards even higher for the satisfaction of its clients and to diversify in order to meet customer demand. She sees these as achievable aims supported by the quality of its products and the professionalism of its staff.