Lonely Planet Writer

Time for a Taste of Rum in Old San Juan as festival kicks off this weekend

Since Puerto Rico is pretty much synonymous with rum—no other country in the world produces more of the distilled beverage—the Taste of Rum Festival, held at Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan on 31 March and 1 April, is the place to be for any rum lover. Now officially Puerto Rico’s national rum festival, the event welcomes locals and visitors for a taste of the most high-end rums from the island.

Taste of Rum festival gets underway in Puerto Rico this weekend.
Taste of Rum festival gets underway in Puerto Rico this weekend. Image by Getty Images

It was founded in 2008 by Terestela Gonzalez Denton and Boris Jaksville, who envisioned an event where visitors could have unlimited rum sampling. Today, that dream is a reality and all who attend the festival have access to over ten of the best-known, and some unknown, rums on the island while also having a taste of the local food from some of the best restaurants in town.

There are tents from the distilleries, all sampling their different rums, by the waterfront section of Paseo de la Princesa, right inside the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s courtyard. There are usually two stages here, where live music concerts take place during the day and night. This year there will be tribute bands playing music from Hector Lavoe, The Beatles and The Doors, a salsa show by Carlos Nevarez, a colorful dance of the brightly-dressed Vejigantes, and Brazilian Batucada music, a very popular concept in Puerto Rico.

Mixology and flair bartending competitions will also take place as part of the festival, as well as rum-related seminars for those looking to learn more about the island’s staple spirit. More than 3000 visitors come every year and most get to the dancing area after a few samples of rum, turning the festival into a massive tropical party.

Visit the Taste of Rum’s Facebook page for more details.

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