Island of Enchantment

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Puerto Rico, “rich port” has a well-earned nickname: Isla del Encanto. A vibrant fusion of cultures and biodiversity makes it a dynamic and colourful destination. This Spanish-speaking U.S. territory is one of the 28 islands of the Caribbean and holds many adventures for rum lovers. Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, it is the smallest of the Greater Antilles and the furthest east and structured by an extinct volcanic past.

Puerto Rico is almost rectangular and dotted with numerous smaller islands. Its diverse landscape is defined by a mountainous interior and stunning coastal beaches. The tropical climate and the fact that US travellers don’t need a passport to make Puerto Rico a popular destination

In Puerto Rico, rum is well represented, it is the rum capital of the world, producing over 70% of the rum consumed in the United States. The island is home to about a dozen rum producers spread across the main island and Vieques. Stretching 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, visiting all the distilleries can easily take a week to explore along with other vacation activities. Visiting the rum distillery on Vieques is a compelling day trip in its own right.

san juan beach

There are many ways to adventure, you could base yourself in San Juan, and explore on day trips, alternatively, you could circumnavigate the island in an ultimate 7-10-day road trip, staying over in different locations each night. Either way, we’ll set fire to your itinerary planning with a multitude of rummy options.

The best way to get around Puerto Rico is by hiring a car. Exploring the island’s rum distilleries can be split into day trips; San Juan Metro Region, Cordillera Central, Ponce in the south, the west coast, and the island of Vieques. You can hire a car for the duration of your stay or just a couple of days – it’s up to you. This Puerto Rico Rum Map can help you plan 

puerto rico port

San Juan Metro Region

San Juan on the north coast is the capital and largest city in Puerto Rico—a major tourist hotspot and cruise port. Explore the historic city of Old San Juan, one of the oldest in the Americas, where Spanish colonial architecture and charming cobbled streets transport you to a bygone era. Wandering the old town is best done on foot; driving here is more hassle than it’s worth. Instead, stroll around and enjoy the sights stress-free.

In old San Juan, Scryer Rum is at Scryer Rum Barrelhouse & Rooftop bar where you can see barrels ageing and taste rum. La Colada is their fancy version of a piña colada. Some other recommended spots to enjoy rum are La Casita De Rones for their rum cake, La Cubanita, La Factoría, Nono’s, and Junglebird is a shout good for Tiki lovers. While in the old town, the Museo de las Américas is worth visiting to learn about the region’s Taíno, African, and Spanish history.

In Condado oceanfront, Kane Rum Bar is a good option, or the high roller experience VC Lounge in the Vanderbilt Hotel to enjoy a rum cocktail. Puerto Rico’s national drink Piña Colada was created in 1954, originally made at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, or Barrachina in Old San Juan, take your pick which you prefer.

casa bacardi

Across the bay from Old San Juan, in the town of Cataño, and the “Cathedral of Rum.” Casa Bacardi distillery is the largest rum distillery in the world. You can take a 12-minute ferry from old San Juan, and be shuttled to the distillery. It’s well worth booking ahead, as it is a top attraction. There are a few options to choose from; the Historic Tour, Legacy Tour, Rum Tasting, or Mixology Class. The tour includes a tram ride, immersive video, and a daiquiri at the bar. In the gift shop, you can buy souvenirs and bottle your own rum. They have a restaurant that people recommend for lunch.

Ron Del Barrilito

Just 10 minutes’ drive from there is Hacienda Santa Ana, the home of Ron del Barrilito, the oldest rum on the island since 1880. Its tours run Mon-Sat: 9am-5pm, and its modern visitor centre opened in 2018. Booking your tour, you can select one that takes you around the site, barrel house, and tasting mixology class, or pick the heritage tour which includes the vintage rum. Ron Del Barrilito is unique in Puerto Rican rum with its long ageing in ex-sherry casks 3 to 5 stars.

san juan craft distillery

San Juan Artisan Distillers founded in 2011 stands out as the first and only Ron Agrícola made in Puerto Rico. It’s in the coastal town of Sabana Vega Alta is a 30-minute drive west of San Juan. Made with sugar cane or guarapo, you can try this artisanal agricultural rum called Ron Pepón, made directly from sugarcane juice and produced entirely on the estate. Their brand Tresclavos rum is fruit macerated rum much like the French Rhum Arrangé. Tresclavos Ronsanto is a blend of their Agrícola and an Agrícola from the Dominican Republic.

Nearby are Playa Puerto Nuevo or Los Tubos beaches with food trucks, a good option for a lunchtime dip.

la distiillery craft spirits

Cordillera Central

The Cordillera Central is the limestone mountain range that forms the interior of Puerto Rico. Because of this terrain, driving to Jayuya can take longer than going to Ponce on the south coast. The road to La Destileria Craft Spirits in Jayuya is an adventure in itself with many narrow sections and tight turns. But the views on the way are worth it.

Once there you get to see an artisanal distillery at work, up close distillation. PitoRico, a moonshine called Pitorro is made and Ron Artesano. Make sure you have a designated driver; you’ll get to try a wide range of this strong liquor. For booking, the tours are from Tuesday to Saturday. There are plenty of food places and food trucks nearby, La Bodega De Las Brujas Jayuya is a good shout for the Sancocho, a Puerto Rican stew.

don q museum


On the south coast is Puerto Rico’s second-largest city, Ponce, a city rich in history and culture. It’s also home to the Don Q rum brand by the Serrallés family. Its visitor experience is not at the distillery but at the Serrallés Castle Museum. They host a guided tour around the facilities, to learn about the fermentation, distillation, and ageing of rum. It’s often busy with groups, and the grounds include a Japanese garden, butterfly sanctuary, and Cruceta del Vigía statue.

In Ponce’s old town, you can explore local bars like Asturias Lounge Bar, or Chango Bar. Another 50-minute drive further west along the coastal road is the town of Guánica and Playa Santa beach, where you can enjoy a dip and daytime refreshment at Mojito Beach Playa Santa.

lago cidre
Central Mountains

Club Caribe Distillers built in 2012 in the mountains of Cidra is a 50-minute drive from San Juan or an hour from the airport. This modern rum distillery produces Club Caribe white rum, aged, and a range of flavoured rums.
Nestled in beautiful views next to Lago de Cidra, the lake just outside Cidra. Cidra is named the Eternal Spring City for its cooler temperatures. Nature lovers will enjoy its beautiful lake and nearby Perico waterfall, it’s a picturesque place to explore.

Lucio’s Restaurant next to the distillery is a good spot for lunch with Mofongo and a rum cocktail. However, not so far away in Cayey Guavate is regarded as La Ruta del Lechón, the “Pork Highway,” a string of spit-roasted pork restaurants. Lechonera El Mojito just off Route 52 is a good spot, and you can try the local Club Caribe in a cocktail to wash down your delicious lunch. A little further along the 184 is Lechonera El Rancho Original, and these places are some of the best foodie experiences in Puerto Rico – as long as you’re not vegetarian!

Vieques – Spanish Virgin Islands

The island of Vieques 8 miles off Puerto Rico’s east coast has Crab Island Rum Distillery. To get there you can take a ferry from Ceiba, or fly 25 minutes in a small plane from San Juan. Vieques is famous for its Bioluminescent Bay, Caracas beach, and snorkeling.

Crab Island Rum Distillery has tours from Thursday to Sunday and has a bar with events at the weekend. You can hire a golf cart to get around. Next to the ferry terminal is The Mar Azul Bar and grill, a cool spot to hang out with stunning sea views and listen to live music.
Beach lovers can take the 30-minute ferry to its sister island of Culebra. There you visit the famous Flamenco Beach and sip a rum cocktail at La Posada Tiki Bar while you wait for the return ferry.

west puerto rico beach

West Coast

Destilería Coquí in Mayagüez on the west coast is the largest artisan distillery on the island and the first to legalise Pitorro, a sugarcane moonshine. Being nearly a 3-hour drive from San Juan, it’s recommended to call ahead and reserve a spot for this tour. They’ll walk you through their history and Pitorro making process, and of course taste the various flavours, standouts are parcha, piña, and café.

If staying in Mayagüez, the Bocanada cocktail bar is a good spot to enjoy a rum drink later. Down the coast are some of Puerto Rico’s most beautiful beaches, it would be a shame to miss the 25-minute Cabo Rojo coastal drive and sip mojitos at La Bodeguita del Puerto. Or stop in at El Cubujón (pictured) in San Germán.

El Cubujón

Pro Tip: Book distillery visits in advance, check opening times, and seasonal events like fiestas, San Sebastián, carnivals, Jazz Fest, and holiday season closures. Book car rental, and rent their electronic toll pass called AutoExpreso for road tolls. In San Juan, it’s easy to catch an Uber, you don’t need a car, and this means you can relax and enjoy the rum. 

Checklist to be called Puerto Rico Rum:
• Ingredients – Quality Molasses.
• Process – Continuous distillation is mandatory.
• Ageing – All rums must be aged for a minimum of one year in American oak barrels.
• Location – Produced in Puerto Rico “The Rum Capital of the World.”

Disclaimer: Don’t drink and drive, make sure you have a designated driver or go on an organised tour.

Last Thoughts:
A few other ideas are to book a local tour
Casa Melaza Rum Tastings 
Walking Food & Cocktail Tour 

If you’re driving along the northeast coast another rum stop is the Tiki Hut in Río Grande.
Near the Rafael Hernández airport, there’s Ola Lola’s Tiki Bar in San Antonio.

In the bars, you can try other local rum brands like Trigo Reserva Aneja Rum, and Ron Boricua that don’t have a tour.
More details on Puerto Rico tourism

And, plan your trip using our Puerto Rico Rum Map

Image credits to Canva Pro and user contributions.

old san juan

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