A Budget Friendly How To Do-it-Yourself Guide to the Bacardi Tour in Puerto Rico
I recently took the tour of the Bacardi distillery near San Juan Puerto Rico, and I learned a lot of things that I thought I would share with you. I found the tour to be fun and interesting, but learned that it doesn’t need to be something pre-organized or arranged. One of the things that I have quickly learned here in Puerto Rico is that there is always a cheaper way. (Big surprise there…) Being that San Juan, well Puerto Rico in general, is used to receiving tourists from around the US many tour companies sell pre-organized or arranged tours. Like most places, these are insanely over priced. I found out the way to do it myself.
I was randomly walking around the southern portion of Old San Juan when I walked past a ferry dock with a big sign that said “Bacardi distillery free admission“. I walked into the ferry dock to inquire about the hours of the ferry as well as the price. I found out that the ferry leaves about every 30 minutes and costs .50¢ one way. I thought that it would be interesting, but moved on.
The next day my friend asked me if I wanted to go exploring. I was looking over a pamphlet of some possible activities and noticed that the Bacardi tour was one of them. When I read over the description, I thought that it sounded interesting, then I noticed the price at the bottom. The tour price read $109 per person!!! I was amazed.
Since the Bacardi Distillery has free admission, what else could you be paying for??
I recommend doing the tour on your own!
We decided to take the tour but do it on our own. Here is how you can too! Read on…
I remembered the ferry dock from the previous day. We walked to it, which took about 45 minutes from our hostel. One could also take a $15 taxi ride or the local city bus for .75¢. However the city bus takes some time waiting, sometimes more than the time required to walk.
Step 1: Get to the ferry dock: The ferry dock is located next to Señor Frogs, a CVS, and nearly across the street from the Ralph Lauren Polo Factory Store. It is in Old San Juan (Viejo San Juan). The physical address that should get you there is: 274 Po Concepcion de Gracia, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico. The tickets will cost .50¢ each way, so a dollar round trip per person. You should purchase the ticket to Cataño. The ferry leaves roughly every 30 minutes and takes no more than 5 minutes to cross the bay to the city of Cataño.
When you arrive there will be some people trying to give you directions and also handing out pamphlets and brochures to their local restaurants, which are located across the street from the ferry. We weren’t interested so we just moved on.
Step 2: Getting to the Bacardi Distillery/Factory: Once you arrive in Cataño, there is still a short ride or walk to the Bacardi Rum Factory. Had I not been with anther person, I probably would have walked for the experience. The locals said it was at least an hour walk, which I find hard to believe because the ride via guaguas took very little time, possibly 5 minutes at most. The only issue is that I do not know the walking path for arrival. So, it may be better/easier to just pay the money for the guagua.
The city bus to the Bacardi Factory is said to exist, but difficult to find and wait. The quickest and cheapest route is via guaguas. By the way, if you are wondering what a guagua is, it is the local name for bus transportation for Puerto Ricans. However, guaguas are not really buses, they are 8-10 passenger vans.
To find the guaguas, walk to the right when you exit the ferry dock. You will see a building (yellowish color) at about 1-2 minute walk on the right side. It is a parking garage. Inside of it, there are some vans. We were charged $3 per person. We should have paid less, because of the shortness of the ride. We were about 6 in a van. $18 for a 4 minute ride just does not add up for me. However, the price is still doable. $3 for each way.
Step 3: Bacardi Factory Tour: The guagua should drop you directly in front of the pavilion of the Bacardi Factory. From there you will need to walk to the desk where the attendant will give you a pass for the tour. The attendant gave us 2 free drink tickets as there are two bars under the pavilion. You can try different flavors using your two drink passes or purchase more expensive drinks on your own. Under the pavilion you wait until one of the next tours begins. Tours are in either Spanish or English. You will have to ride a small trolley to the tour as they do not allow people to walk around on the grounds. The tour lasts about 30-45 minutes and then they bring you to the pavilion again, where you can either have more drinks or take a guagua back to the ferry dock.
Bacardi Factory Review
I always enjoy new experiences and places so for me, the tour was worth it. I should say that it is basic though, so do not expect anything abnormal or crazy. It is just something to see.
The tour was informative. We learned about the history of the company as well as the logo of the bat. I definitely learned a few things that I had not known previously. For example, Bacardi began in Cuba. The Bacardi Factory in Cataño produces around 85% of the world’s consumption of Bacardi Rum.
The tour was advertised at a price of $109 for at least one tour company. Other companies advertise prices from $40 and up. Assuming that you walk and don’t take the taxi to the ferry dock, you’ll spend $7 round trip.
$1 round trip for the ferry
$6 round trip for the guagua transportation (could be less if you are really into bargaining and are in a big group)
Check out some of the other reviews that I have done in the past of brewery tours:
Parish Brewery Review – Parish brewery is one of the newest micro-breweries to emerge from the Louisiana community. They have been producing quality beer and have been expanding outwards.
Abita Brewing Company – I have not written a review on the Abita Brewery, but I have been to Abita several times. I wrote an article on Abita only here, then a weekend recapturing the time when I went there.
By the way, this has been my 200th post. Thanks for making Backpacking Diplomacy such as successful project for me. I sincerely appreciate your support and follower-ship!