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A visit and tour to the Bacardi Factory in Catano, Puerto Rico is always a favorite destination and attraction. I remember as a kid visiting the factory with my family. At that time, it was an actual tour of the production area, and I vividly remember the smell of molasses and the churning vats of molasses being fermented…. Today, the tour is a bit different, but still just as interesting. The tour takes you through the history of the Bacardi family and it’s rise to fortune from Cuba to Puerto Rico, and then globally. It also offers a mixology course, a run-through of their vintage advertising, smell tasting, and how the first distillery process took place. The whole adventure to Bacardi takes about 2-3 hours, depending on how busy it is. They run tours about every ½ hour.
But the best part (and the reason we return regularly to do the tour) is:
- It is a Free Tour
- For those over 18, there are 2 free drinks included where you are able to sample all of the various Bacardi Rum flavors.
- Their gift shop had some Limited Reserve rums that are difficult to find in other places, in addition to great Bacardi souvenirs you can’t find anywhere else.
Some Tips (from the folks at PuertoRicoDayTrips) and we completely agree:
- It is freezing inside the tour building – bring a sweater!
- Bring the e-mail addresses of friends so you can send them a video e-card from the tour.
- If you can go on your own, do so, as going with a tour operator can be pricey (and unnecessary).
7 days/week — Mon – Sat from 9 am – 6:00pm (last tour @ 4:30pm) and Sun 10am – 5pm (last tour @ 3:45pm).
Open 357 days a year- closed only 3 Kings Day (1/6), Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Years Day
Directions from San Juan – By car, Take Highway 22 W, get off at the exit for Catano / Road 165. There is a little brown Bacardi sign. Take Road 165 until km 2.6 – follow the brown Bacardi signs. The Bacardi factory is visible on the right side just before the exit.
From Old San Juan – Take the ferry from Pier 2 in Old San Juan to Catano, for $0.50 pp, each way. When you arrive in Catano, go to the right for a taxi to the factory for about $3.00 pp each way.
If you want to know more about the fascinating history of Bacardi, check out the book Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba. Here is a review of it with more information.