PUERTO RICO  |  San Juan, Puerto Rico Travel Guide
Friday, February 28, 2020
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Mention Cataño to most sanjuaneros and the response will likely be a sigh, a shake of the head or a disgusted scoff. Poor Cataño has long been the neglected sister across the bay from the Old San Juan, choked by industry and depressing housing developments. The best thing about Cataño is the peninsular view eastward over the San Juan Bay. Gazing in any other direction, you’ll see nothing but urban blight, warehouses and the factory smokestacks of Bayamón to the west. The vast majority of travelers visit Cataño for only one reason – the Bacardí Rum Distillery. Many San Juan tour operators and large hotels include the Bacardí plant in their tours of the city, because it includes a pleasant ferry ride across the bay and the sampling of rum, which tends to put guests in a good mood. Other than the Isla de Cabras peninsula, the only other curiosity in Cataño would be the controversial pyramid-shaped library where, critics jokingly contend, “the books fall off the shelves.” There may be some hope for Cataño yet, however. Rejuvenation efforts near the waterfront have attracted a few restaurant owners and plans are in the works for a giant statue of Christopher Columbus (taller than the Statue of Liberty) on Isla de Cabras.

Distillery Tour

Take the free ferry to Cataño from La Lancha at Pier 2 in Old San Juan, Monday to Saturday, every half-hour from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (coinciding with the Bacardí tour hours). While crossing the bay, you’ll see the sixstory, bubblegum pink Bacardí distillation tower, known as the Cathedral of Rum. From the Cataño ferry terminal, catch a $2 público to the distillery. Visitors often appreciate that the free tours of the rum facilities begin with a sampling of the product under a huge, yellow bat-shaped canopy (the Bacardí emblem is a bat), which adds a rosy glow to the tram ride around the 127 acres of the distillery. The Bacardí plant has a fine exhibition of Puerto Rican arts and crafts, and every December hosts the Bacardí Artisans Fair, which claims to be the largest such event in the Caribbean. For more information, contact the Bacardí distillery,   787- 788-1500.

Last updated November 26, 2007
Posted in   Puerto Rico  |  San Juan
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