After the first two days at Vieques and El Yunque we took a day off to tidy up the apartment, hang out at the beach, and generally decompress and get some much-needed rest. The following day we went to Casa Bacardi Distillery. First we took a bus to Old San Juan and walked a little ways to the local ferry terminal. (Are you seeing a pattern yet? This is a tropical island, after all.) A quick ferry ride across brought us to Catano. I had read that it was a short taxi ride to the factory, but when we arrived there were none to be found. We walked up the road a ways and found a parking garage with publicos, but apparently none were leaving for the next half hour. Science Guy and I decided to walk, which I am glad we did because we got to see a more authentic Puerto Rico…but it was also high noon and really, really hot.
It was about a two-mile walk that took us about an hour since we took quite a few photo breaks and we were quite sweaty by the time we reached the distillery. (I’m sure we looked like lunatics being the only ones on foot.) Fortunately, Bacardi has made their tour highly tourist-friendly with lots of air conditioning, trams to move people around, and, of course, free drinks at the end.
The tour was informative and more interesting than I expected. There was a model of the historic distillation equipment and a vintage bar where we learned about different drinks made with Bacardi rum.
Followed by lots of Bacardi memorabilia, lots of bat logos (from the original distillery in Cuba) and even a photobooth kiosk. Of course, we couldn’t resist. (Side note: our group included a posse of women–one of whom is photobombing us–who went by the moniker Rough Riders. Trying to sleuth out their true identity but not having any luck.)
After the tour of the visitor center they brought us back to the pavilion where visitors can cash in their free drink tickets and pick up souvenirs in the gift shop. They certainly know how to keep people happy…
We made it back to Old San Juan around 4:00 and hightailed it to see El Morro before it closed. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Puerto Rico adventure!