Rum tours in Cuba

photo by Chris Brown on Flickr

Whether or not you like the taste of rum (even as a flavoring, not necessarily as a beverage), you simply can’t visit Cuba without considering the fact that rum production was and still is an important part of Cuban culture and industry. The easiest way to become acquainted with this national beverage is to try the various sorts of local rums at small bars and cafes, but if you’re more interested in the history of rum rather than the taste of the drink, there is a lot you can do to learn about it in Cuba. Rum has been produced in Cuba for over four centuries, and some of the finest rums in the world are being made here. Discover the fascinating story of rum by taking a few rum tours in Cuba.

Havana Club Museum of Rum, Havana

There best way to get information about rum and all things related to rum production is to take a self-guided tour of Havana Club Museum of Rum, located in the old quarter of Havana. Although the museum is dedicated to Havana Club rum, one of the most famous rum brands in Cuba, there is plenty of information to be found about rum production in general, from the harvesting and milling of sugar cane to distilling and aging. The museum features an authentic mule-drawn mill, shiny copper distillation machinery, casks and of course, a tasting room.

Bacardi Rum Factory, Santiago de Cuba

Sugar mill in Caibarien, photo by jodastephen on Flickr

The headquarters of Bacardi are in Bahamas, but the original factory opened int he 19th century, is located in Santiago de Cuba, and it proves to be a treasure trove of information when it comes to rum. Actually, the symbol of Bacardi (a bat) came about thanks to the countless bats living in the old factory’s rafters. The owners of the factory were forced to leave during the revolution, but the Cuban government used the factory to produce other domestic brands. Sadly there are no tours inside the factory, but the grand old buildings as well as the small rum bar with tastings and souvenirs make this place a great attraction for rum lovers.

Manaca Iznaga Estate, Valle de los Ingenios

There used to be thousands of sugar estates and sugar mills in Cuba before the war, and only a small fraction of them remain, but the old colonial estates are not completely gone yet. Valle de los Ingenios, which can be visited by train from Trinidad, was home to many estates, but only one of them is still functional. The abandoned estates are suffused with history, but not only history of the pleasant kind. You can see not only sugar mills and imposing colonial buildings, but former slave dwellings as well. A sugar estate is an important part of a comprehensive rum tour in Cuba – the two just can’t be separated.

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