Touring the Bacardi Factory

Before leaving for Puerto Rico we knew that one of the things we wanted to do was tour the Bacardi factory. We decided to take the tour on our first day there since it was a bit of a way from where we were staying and it would give us an opportunity to explore Old San Juan.

Casa Bacardi is located in Cantaño which is outside of San Juan. There are a few ways to get there from San Juan but all involve a car of some type. If you have a car, I’m sure you could drive. You can also take the ferry from Old San Juan to Cantaño and then take a taxi from the Cantaño ferry stop to Casa Bacardi. You can also take a taxi to and from Casa Bacardi. We chose to combine two of the options.

Since we were going to Bacardi early and wanted to explore Old San Juan after our tour we decided to take a taxi from our hotel to Casa Bacardi. I don’t remember to cost of the taxi but, as a general rule, taxis in the San Juan area are not cheap at all. We had a taxi driver who was originally from the states. He was kind of chatty and friendly so it made the ride over pleasant.

The Bacardi factory is located on a beautiful piece of land with huge windmills that help power the factory.  You check in for the complimentary tour at the bar located under this strange looking open-air pavilion.  When you check in they give you a ticket for the tour and two free drink coupons.  You can have a drink or browse the gift shop while you wait.

When your tour is called you board a little tram that drives you no more than 500 feet to the tour building.  Apparently, you can’t walk on that “road” or on the grass so, they have to drive you.  The entire tour and summary of the history of Bacardi takes place in one building.

The tour starts in this beautifully tiled room with mosaics on the wall that depict the history of rum.  After the talk in the first part, you are no longer allowed to take pictures.  The tour moves from the tiled room to a theater which shows an extremely out-dated film about the history of Bacardi.  It’s not that the story is outdated but, the actual movie is out-dated.  From there you move onto a mock distillery.  It’s modeled to look like the first factory in Cuba.  From there you are on your own to explore the other areas including a recreation of Bacardi’s office and an area where you can smell the base for the different types of rum.

At the end of the tour, a bartender gives you a “demonstration” on how to make some classic rum drinks and a quick history on them.  The drinks include rum and coke, a mojito and something else that I don’t remember.  The “demonstration” is kind of lame because the bartender doesn’t actually make the drinks.  He simulates making them and then has a completed drink displayed.  Not much of a demonstration in my opinion.

Finally you enter a room full of Bacardi bottles and computers where you can record a video of yourself and send it to family and friends before boarding the tram for the long ride back to the pavilion and bar.

When we got back to the bar we enjoyed our two free drinks…well I enjoyed one of mine.  Tip: Bacardi Dragonberry and Pineapple juice do not mix well.  Overall, it was a really enjoyable tour and definitely worth the time spent.  I mean, it’s free and you get two free drinks and the history is pretty interesting.  For the ride back to Old San Juan, we took a taxi to the ferry and the ferry to the dock in Old San Juan.  The taxi should only cost $3 per person but, they will tell you that you need at least 4 people for that rate.  It’s bullshit and according to the two people we rode to the ferry with, if you fight it a little, they cave to the truth.  The ferry is only $0.50 per person so it’s a great deal for transportation.  If we go back to Puerto Rico, I would definitely do the tour again.  The only change I would make is to take the bus from Condado to Old San Juan and do the ferry/taxi to and from the factory.

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