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Known affectionately as the “Country of Four Worlds,” Ecuador has emerged as one of the most unique growing regions in New World premium tobacco. As we look to share our expertise with you, this stop on our journey is perhaps one of the most geographically and geologically exciting regions in the world of cigars.

Where most of the major tobacco-growing regions we have covered to date – the Connecticut River Valley, Nicaragua and Honduras – boast a unique tobacco seed varietal, Ecuador is one of the only major growing regions that mainly acts as an agricultural hot spot for premium tobacco varieties of other destinations.

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A Country Of
Four Worlds

The country of Ecuador is beautiful, diverse and made up of four unofficial geographical regions. Moving from east to west, the Oriente (meaning East) is a primarily tropical area that butts up against Colombia and Peru. This region is mostly rainforest, and the majority of the Oriente portion of the country is part of the Amazon Basin.

The central strip of Ecuador is known as La Sierra (meaning mountain range) and, like its namesake, is a high-elevation mountainous region that is home to a large number of the country’s volcanoes, as well as the vast majority of Ecuador’s premium tobacco production.

Moving further west, the Costa region (meaning coast) borders the Pacific Ocean and is a predominantly agricultural area with fertile soils and flat terrain.

Over 600 miles off the coast of the Ecuadorian mainland are the famed Galápagos islands, which, although not often associated as a part of Ecuador by the layman, make up a large portion of the country’s tourism and are an incorporated archipelago of Ecuador.

Knowing the four regions of Ecuador is crucial to a deep understanding of Ecuadorian tobacco production because the “Country of Four Worlds” designation is no joke. Each of these geographical regions boasts vastly different microclimates, terrain and biodiversity that make for one-of-a-kind conditions for tobacco cultivation.

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Volcanoes of Ecuador

Home to forty-seven volcanoes, both active and extinct, much of Ecuador’s unique terrain is a direct result of volcanic activity. As a result, much of Ecuador boasts supremely fertile soil. It is joked amongst farmers in the area that you could plant a broomstick in Ecuadorian soil and have a healthy broom farm with little effort at all. This incredibly fertile soil, due to the abundance of volcanoes, is a significant factor for why so many modern cigar makers flock to Ecuador for impressive tobacco yields.

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The Cloud Forests

The other contributing factor that makes Ecuador a hot spot for premium tobacco cultivation is the cloud cover. Home to the famous “Cloud Forests,” high in the Andean mountains of Ecuador, the elevation and biodiversity collide for a lush region that receives nearly constant cloud cover all year long.

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Shade Tobacco Sweet Spot

If you read our Field Notes on the Connecticut River Valley, you may already see why Ecuador makes for the perfect place to grow shade tobacco. The incredibly fertile soil and constant cloud cover make for the ideal alternative to traditional shade-grown techniques that can be tedious and expensive.

Instead of having to erect cheesecloth tents and constantly worry about the amount of sunshine a tobacco plant is (or is not) getting, the consistently shady mountains of Ecuador make for the perfect microclimate that directly answers the needs of shade-grown tobaccos. 

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Ecuadorian Tobacco In Your Cigars

The majority of premium Ecuadorian tobacco is grown in the Los Rios province, located in the La Sierra geographical region of the country.

Here, you will find the majority of the tobacco grown is shade varieties of popular seeds from other countries, namely Sumatra, Connecticut and Havana.

Each variety makes for an excellent shade-grown wrapper, although some Ecuadorian tobacco is used for binder or filler leaves. 

While we at CAO are fans of Ecuadorian tobacco, we should make you aware of how others can perceive it in the industry. Namely, the fact that some believe Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut Shade tobacco does not carry the same amount of flavor as shade-grown tobacco in other regions. 

While we disagree with this stance, in our quest to share our tobacco expertise with you, we think it’s an important distinction to be aware of.


CAO cigars with Ecuadorian tobacco

Want to try out a few CAO Cigars with Ecuadorian Tobacco?

CAO Amazon Basin


One of the most popular cigars in our portfolio, Amazon Basin has a rich Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. This leaf is darker and more flavorful than what most associate with Ecuadorian tobacco. The main reason we chose to use it for this blend was to let the Brgança leaf, grown in the Amazon rainforest, be the star of the show. 

Learn More



For CAO Pilón, we wanted to see how much flavor we could bring out of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper; that’s why we aged it using the ancient Pilón method. This fascinating method has been practiced for generations, and you can learn more about it by clicking below.





One of our highest-awarded cigars, CAO Gold boasts a gorgeous Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. When paired with a complex blend, the result is a smooth cigar loaded with flavor that earned it multiple 90+ ratings and a reserved spot in humidors around the world.