San Juan, Puerto Rico — When you’re talking 100,000 gallons of rum distilled every day, 365 days a year, you’re talking a LOT of rum.  20 million cases a year worth. That’s a lot of Mojitos.

From its humble beginnings in 1862 in Santiago de Cuba, Bacardi is now the largest distiller of premium rum in the world. Most of that comes from its facility near San Juan, Puerto Rico (85% of production), but Bacardi also runs a distillery in Mexico City. Interestingly, the rum is actually bottled in Jacksonville, Florida — shipped there by boat in stainless steel tanks.

So here I am, in San Juan, my wife attending an anthropology conference, and I’ve got a day to kill. I’ve already toured Old San Juan’s beautiful historic center with its stone fortress dating from the 1500s, had some great Puerto Rican food (fried pork chunks, mofongo, and of course, a Mojito), so it’s time for something different. I head for Casa Bacardi — the Bacardi Rum factory — on the outskirts of town.

Casa Bacardi’s free tour includes a couple of drinks — I recommend the Mojitos. Of course, I always recommend the Mojitos — rum, lime juice, club soda, sugar, spearmint leaves and did I mention rum? It’s the perfect tropical drink. I may be a beer guy, but, hey, if you’re in the tropics, you go with the flow.

Visitors gather in a big, open pavillion with a bar at its center, waiting to be called for the tour –which seemed to run every 15 minutes or so when I was there. When you’re called, you enter a motorized tram and are driven a short distance to the visitor’s center, where you’ll spend the next hour or so. Your tour guide will lead you through the exhibits, explaining the history of Bacardi while walking through rooms containing replicas of the original Bacardi offices and stills. You’ll also watch a short movie; lastly you’ll be brought to a room that is a replica of a classic bar, where the bartender will demonstrate the proper techniques for mixing a Cuba Libre (Bacardi and Coke), Daquiri, and of course, a Mojito.

Then you’ll be transported back to where you started (where, first, naturally you’re directed through the gift shop), and you’re free to use your drink coupons to enjoy a variety of Bacardi-based beverages. The Mojitos were particularly strong the day I visited — as Bacardi says, “Take your time and enjoy responsibly!”

I did.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Casa BACARDI Visitor Center
Cantaño, Puerto Rico

Tours
Monday-Saturday
from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
(Last tour at 4:15 PM)
Sunday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
(Last tour at 3:45 PM

http://casabacardi.org/

About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is regular contributor to Harley-Davidson's HOG Magazine, and his travel features appear regularly in motorcycle magazines and other publications.

View all posts by Glen Abbott »

19 Comments
  1. leo

    April 22, 2011

    Life is so colorful!
    http://www.hellojersey.us

  2. Mmm, mojitos! Great place to do a little blog research, eh? 😉
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Confessions of a Dog Who Hates the RV Lifestyle

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 18, 2011

      Interesting how my favorite blog posts revolve around alcohol! 🙂

  3. Norbert

    April 18, 2011

    I love Bacardi… well, no surprise since I’m from Puerto Rico. 😉
    This is one tour I recommend anyone taking since it’s pretty interesting from the historic and technical side, plus the drinks are good!
    Norbert recently posted..Weekly Snapshot- San Pedro Sula Street Market

  4. adventureswithben

    April 17, 2011

    I’ve done wine and beer factories, but never rum. It’s on my list now. Next time you’re in Orlando, try the Cherry Mojito at CRAVE by Millenia Mall.

  5. The NVR Guys

    April 17, 2011

    What selfless research. 🙂
    The NVR Guys recently posted..Travelogue – conducting a B&B showdown in Provincetown

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 17, 2011

      You know guys, I’m willing to make sacrifices in the interest of my readers. :))

  6. Lisa

    April 17, 2011

    Glen, Nice piece on the Bacardi Distillery. I love rum drinks, this might have to be a stop next time I travel through San Juan.
    Lisa recently posted..Lϋbeck- a leisure destination in Northern Germany

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 17, 2011

      Thanks Lisa. If you’re in San Juan anyway, it’s worth a stop.

  7. Cathy Sweeney

    April 16, 2011

    This would be so much fun. It sounds like Bacardi is pretty generous with the free drinks, too. Can I admit that I’ve never had a mojito? I think it’s time to change that.

  8. jade

    April 16, 2011

    We just went to a distillery in L.A. and I would love this one too. yum, rum drinks… yum!

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 16, 2011

      Jade, another dream trip for me would be to tour the distilleries in Tequila, Mexico!

  9. Laura

    April 16, 2011

    This sounds like a great tour! I wasn’t aware that Bacardi runs a distillery here in Mexico City. I’ll have to look into that. 🙂
    Laura recently posted..Friday Foto- Cooling Off in the Plaza de la República

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 16, 2011

      Laura, the tour guide said that 15% of Bacardi rum is produced in Mexico. I don’t know if they offer tours, though.

  10. love rum. love mojitos. maybe a bit too much. was the history side interesting? ive heard bacardi’s past is pretty involved.
    jamie – cloud people adventures recently posted..Solvang – Danish Wine Town in California

    • Travelin' Gringo

      April 16, 2011

      Yes, Jamie, there is a lot of history to Bacardi, and it’s pretty interesting, especially with how they lost their Cuban distillery during the revolution there.

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