IF YOU MUST GO TO BACARDI, KNOW THIS:
PROS: free tour, complimentary beverages (2 per person), inexpensive alcohol and gifts, gracious staff
CONS: 4+ hours total (including travel from Condado), BORING tour, bus/taxi to ferry to bus/taxi just to get there and back, surrounded by other tourists, long lines for drinks and/or gift shop
GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO THE ABOVE!!!
Don Q Rum has a "Casa Don Q" across from Pier 2 in Old San Juan. Think of it as a miniture Casa Bacardi tour, and at your own pace. Same free beverages, excellent gifts, gracious hosts, and interesting facts as Bacardi (and I, personally, think better rum!) without the extra ferry and bus/taxi ride. SUGGESTION: when you first walk in, go directly to the bar area and ask for a "house mix" (very tasty) with an extra shot of Don Q Crystal and take your time browsing the company/manufacturing info in the clean, air-conditioned Casa Don Q.
Great if youve harboured a lifelong ambition to own a Bacardi branded key-fob or ash tray.
For normal people, a hideous waste of your holiday.
After the mediocre Guinness Factory in Dublin, the abysmal Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, we have finally learnt our lesson - a drink related factory tour is not / cannot be a good thing.
The most interesting exhibit is a collection of small barrels containing different flavoured Bacardis that you sniff.
Located on the other side of the bay, a trip to the Bacardi Factory will swallow up at least 4 hours of your holiday - spend the time in Old San Juan instead.
As for the "free samples" - they're not FREE. You've paid for two ferrys and two taxi rides by the end of the day.
They're not even that good. The mojitos have been mass produced in a jar that looks like a dirty fish tank.
Although the Bacardi factory sounds like good use of an afterenoon, your time would be better spent touring Old San Juan. The factory is your standard tourist trap, and not worth a visit. Sure you get two free rums, and a semi interesting tour of the factory, but visit the fort instead.
One of the best things to do when in San Juan is to visit the Bacardi distillery. Along with the tour you will receive complimentary drinks on their outside patio. You can purchase bottles of bacardi in their store. They offer some drinks that are not sold outside their compound. Some of It is a self guided tour so you can go at your own pace. The last stop of the tour is a replica of a typical bar of the golden years. You will have a bartender tour guide show you the ins and outs of Bacardi..
One of my favorite places in the San Juan area, I think that this is a great place to go for anyone age 18 and older. Why, you ask? There are free drinks with every tour, so you have a drink before the tour, and it makes everything, learning.. everything! That much more of a pleasurable experience. They give you stick-phones to use on the tour to recieve information on artifacts. If you're a sensable person who enjoys smelling things, there are about twenty barrels of different kinds of rum from different years. Personally, the aroma made my head hurt, but it could have been enduced by the drinks I had prior. They also teach you how to make special drinks and which rum you should use with which kind of drink. Very informative for the beverage connosieur, and fun for the whole family.
If you have spare time on your trip, the Bacardi tour is great. You can take the Ferry from Old San Juan to Catano for 50 cents and the cab ride to the factory is another 2 dollars. You can also take the bus. Once there you are handed 2 drink tickets per person. But with my friends and I, we went up 3 times for a total of 6. So we were pretty much buzz when we went on the tour. The tour was great in that it allowed you to learn the history of Bacardi and all that other good stuff. You can even buy some rums (2?) that aren't sold anywhere else.
There is no admission for the factory itself. They give you 2 drink coupons each for a bicardi drink of your chioce or drink the reserve straight. On the tour see the history and see some hands on or smells on exhibits;) During the tour, they allow you to send a video message to anyone. Take email addresses to send a video message After the tour, they drop you off at the gift shop. You might want to buy some of the very special limited release 12 year old they sell only at the factory.
You can either take the spanish or english tour.