San Juan

Making our way to Puerto Rico, we didn’t do a planned excursion but knew we wanted to visit the Bacardi distillery in San Juan. After all, this was right up Rob’s alley! We sailed into Port 4 and disembarked into a hot and humid day at 9am. A few questions off the ship and we were on our way to Port 2 to get ferry tickets to the other side where the distillery beckoned. A whopping $2 later, we had purchased two round trip tickets! It was incredible– by far the best deal of the trip! We took a quick taxi ride with some new friends and found ourselves purchasing the Mixology tour at the Bacardi distillery. With welcome drinks in hand, we surveyed the surprisingly modern and lush premise and even made friends with an iguana while we waited.
The tour was cooler than I expected and we got to see most of the buildings on the property and learned the history of the Bacardi family and distillation process. Beginning in 1862 and incorporating in San Juan in 1936, there are now about 500 Bacardi family members although not all of them work at Bacardi. The current San Juan property was built in 1958 and is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. Their logo dates back to the earliest days when not everyone knew how to read and Bacardi’s wife suggested a bat logo so people could recognize it, significant in that there were bats in the building they purchased and are associated with luck and fortune. The logo has been through a few revisions, but holds true to the original idea.
Afterwards, we were taken to the Mixology room where each of us were set up with the necessary ingredients to make three of their favorite drinks. We didn’t mind that it was still only 10am! Our group was fun and we had a blast becoming certified Bacardi mixologists– we even have the certificates to prove it! Check out the recipes and videos here for the drinks we made below:
1. Cuba Libre (rum and coke with 2 limes)- such a classic and the limes are key!
2. Bacardi Mojito- this was my fave 🙂
3. Bacardi Daiquiri- omg, this was sooo sugary and sweet
We made our way back across on the ferry and wanted to check out the 16th century battle fort, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, known to locals as El Morro. Located at the far end of the part of the island we were on, we thought we’d take a taxi. As we kept walking past port, we realized how congested the traffic was and knew we’d be better off walking instead. 15 minutes and a bunch of hills later, we reached the grassy acreage of the fort. Situated high on the island, the stone fort is surrounded by a dry moat and artillery towers with beautiful views of the ocean and town below. It was definitely cool to see!
We wandered back down the hill into town and stopped into a few local shops along the way– well, let’s be real, bars and liquor shops that is– but loved the color, charm and history of the island and the cobblestone streets!