Called the ‘Cathedral of Rum’ because of its six-story distillation tower, the Bacardí Rum Factory sits on 127 acres near the mouth of the Bahía de San Juan, across from Old San Juan. The world’s largest, most famous rum-producing family started their business in Cuba more than a century ago and began moving their operation here in 1936. Today the distiller produces some 100,000 gallons of rum per day and ships 21 million cases per year worldwide.
Three signature tours (every 30 minutes, lasting about one hour) are offered throughout the day.
The Historical Tour includes a guided visit of the on-site museum which covers the history of the distillery (including photos and original rum bottles), an eight-minute 'historical' film featuring lots of scantily clad women partying with rum drinks in hand, and exhibits on the rum-making process. The Rum Tasting Tour includes a visit to the distillation tower as well as sips of Bacardi's highest end rums; the Mixology Tour replaces the tastings with a class on making three rum-based cocktails – cuba libre, mojito and daquiri.
A tram ferries guests from the visitors center to the museum, distillery and, of course, the gift shop. All tours include a welcome cocktail (or nonalcoholic drink) and a commemorative cup. Fittingly, a bar is the centerpiece of the visitors center.
To get to the factory from the ferry terminal in Cataño, take a taxi ($12), público (about $3 per person) or walk 15 minutes along the waterfront on Calle Palo Seco (Hwy 888). At Km 2.6 north of town, look for the factory buildings to your left. A cab from San Juan runs around $40 to $50.