Rum Tours in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic

David Beckam

Rum is one of the most favorite spirits worldwide and the Dominican Republic is one of the leading rum producers in the Caribbean. While you can get rum in every all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana and beyond, it is usually not the best brand you will find there. That’s why a rum tour in Punta Cana is a perfect option if you’d like to learn more about this popular spirit, especially as you will be able to try rums you otherwise would never get. But not only Punta Cana offers some excursions related to rum, you can also find some excellent rum tours in the Dominican Republic, particularly when visiting the large distilleries. In this article, you will learn everything about rum in the Dominican Republic and the best rum tastings in Punta Cana – from a person who really loves rum since he arrived in the Caribbean around a decade ago.

This article is about rum tastings in Punta Cana and rum tours in the Dominican Republic. If you’re looking for other activities in Punta Cana, you can check out
the best things to do in Punta Cana
the most exciting excursions and tours in Punta Cana

About rum in the Caribbean

Some of the biggest rum brands in the world include Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Havana Club, Malibu, and Mount Gay. These brands are well-known for their high-quality rums, and they are available in many different countries around the world. But also the Dominican Republics’ rum brands Barceló and Brugal are renowned in the world and have significant importance.

When it comes to rum, the Caribbean is the most significant region, accounting for nearly 80% of the world’s rum production. Countries such as Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are known for their high-quality rums. 

A professional rum tasting in Punta Cana at this exclusive culinary experience

Therefore, a holiday in the Dominican Republic is not complete without sampling some of the best rums in the country. While you might get some decent rums in your all-inclusive resort (note that some of the very cheap resorts in Punta Cana only serve no-name brands which don’t really taste like rum), you might get some of the upmarket brands in most medium-priced resorts and above. The best rums so far I had at Serenade Punta Cana, Dreams Dominicus and Finest Punta Cana.

Rum distilleries in the Dominican Republic

Rum tours in Punta Cana and other parts of the country are usually centered around the 4 main rum brands in the Dominican Republic: Barceló (San Pedro de Macorís), Brugal (Puerto Plata), Macorix (Puerto Plata) and Oliver (Santo Domingo/Punta Cana).

Barceló

Barcelo Rum is a premium rum produced in the Dominican Republic, known for its exceptional quality and distinctive taste. The rum is distilled and aged in oak barrels to create a smooth and rich flavor profile that is beloved by rum enthusiasts worldwide. The brand has a long history in the Dominican Republic, dating back to 1929, and has since become a symbol of the country’s heritage and cultural identity. Usually you can find enthusiasts of either Barceló or Brugal among the Dominican Republics’ locals – but hardly of both. 

When it comes to Barceló rum in the Dominican Republic, Barcelo Añejo and Barcelo Gran Añejo are the best rums for mixing while Barceló Imperial and Barceló Imperial Onyx are my favorite rums for drinking the rum straight or on the rocks.

Brugal

Brugal is the biggest competitor of Barceló, which both share a duopoly in the domestic rum market. Brugal Rum is a well-known brand of rum produced in the Dominican Republic. Established in 1888, the company has been crafting quality rums for over 130 years, using locally sourced sugarcane and a unique distillation process. Brugal Rum is aged in American oak barrels, which gives it a smooth and distinct flavor, and is recognized worldwide as one of the best rums in the Caribbean. 

Both Brugal rums Viejo and Extra Viejo are extremely similar to Barcelós Añejo and Gran Añejo and are therefore the best options when preparing a Cuba Libre or other rum drinks. However, during a proper Punta Cana rum tasting in the Dominican Republic, you shouldn’t miss the Brugal Leyenda (Brugal’s answer to the Barceló Imperial) and the Brugal 1888, which are among my favorites for drinking straight or on the rocks.

A rum tour in the Dominican Republic while visiting the Brugal Rum Distillery in Puerto Plata

Macorix

Established in 1920, the company has been crafting quality rums for over 100 years. Macorix uses only the finest locally sourced sugarcane, which is carefully fermented and distilled to produce a decent range of rums. 

Macorix doesn’t have that many premium rums like Barceló, Brugal or Oliver, which is why they are also usually not that important among the rum tours in Punta Cana. However, Macoris is quite famous in the Dominican Republic for its flavored rums, such as pineapple rum, apple rum or coconut rum, which can give cocktails new and unexpected twists.

Personally, I like those flavored rums as a nice refreshing drink when served with ice and sparkling water on a hot and sunny day in Punta Cana or elsewhere in the Dominican Republic. 

Oliver

Oliver Rum is a special rum distillery in the Dominican Republic and is usually not mentioned among the Big 3 (Barceló, Brugal, Macorix). While they don’t have any rum for the mass market such as Barceló Añejo or Brugal Viejo, they have the widest range of premium rums, which makes it particularly interesting for connoisseurs.

Even though Oliver’s rum distillery is in the capital of Santo Domingo, the main brand carries the name “Punta Cana Rum”, which is the most notable premium rum collection in the Dominican Republic. They use a unique double distillation process that creates a smooth and complex flavor profile, which is why it is popular among rum enthusiasts. Also, my family (including me ) loves most of Punta Canas’ premium rums, which is why you shouldn’t miss the Punta Cana rum tour by Oliver mentioned below.

Olivers’ Punta Cana Rums can definitely be considered one of the hidden gems among the rums in the Dominican Republic.

A professional rum tasting in Punta Cana at this exclusive culinary experience

The best rum tours in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic

Rum tours are one of the non-touristy things to do in Punta Cana – but once you get involved in them, you might fall in love with the wonderful world of tastes the different rums are offering. That’s why a rum tasting is a perfect way to get to know the different flavors.

The good thing about rum tastings in the Dominican Republic is that you can find them across the country, mainly in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. There are only a few – mainly connected with the large rum distilleries in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic – but those which are available are offering an authentic dive into the history and diversity of rum. 

Rum Tasting in Punta Cana (Oliver Rums)

When looking for a rum tour in Punta Cana, the professional Rum Tasting led by Olivers Rums* is a must-do in Punta Cana. It is not just a cheap tourist excursion in Punta Cana, it is a well-elaborated journey into the world of the premium rums of Oliver, the company which is producing the popular “Punta Cana Rums” already mentioned above.

This rum tour is by far the best rum tasting in Punta Cana you can get. After a brief introduction to the history and production of rum, you’ll be escorted to the tasting area, where 4 exclusive premium rums are waiting for you. Exclusive is not only a marketing word here as indeed you can try 4 of the most expensive premium rums. While a typical good bottle of rum in the Dominican Republic sells for around 10-20 USD, those rums are in the range of 30 to 80 USD per bottle – and we’re talking about supermarket prices in Punta Cana, which are way below the typical prices in souvenir shops.

The entire Punta Cana rum tasting is led by a professional rum taster, who explains each and every detail about the rum. The rums are accompanied by cheese, nuts and honey to increase the sensibility of your taste buds. It’s an experience on its own and in my opinion the best rum tasting in the Dominican Republic. Currently, it is also the only rum tour in Punta Cana close to the resorts.

The only downside is that you’re not going to visit the distillery, as Oliver produces their rum in Santo Domingo (despite their brand name “Punta Cana Rum”). However, you can do so at our next idea for the best rum tours in the Dominican Republic.

How to get to this rum tour: the easiest is to book a tour* where pick-up from all accommodations and resorts in Punta Cana is included
Price: approx. 32 USD
How to book tickets: you can book your tour here*

A professional rum tasting in Punta Cana at this exclusive culinary experience

Barceló Rum Destillery (in San Pedro de Macorís)

Barceló is one of the 3 major rum brands in the Dominican Republic and the closest rum distillery to Punta Cana. The Barceló Rum Distillery* is located in San Pedro de Macorís, more or less halfway between Punta Cana and Santo Domingo. From Punta Cana, you can reach the distillery in around 1.5 hours if traveling with your own rental car or when booking a guided tour from Punta Cana*.

When visiting this rum distillery in the east of the Dominican Republic, you can experience a guided tour of the distillery to witness the entire rum-making process, from sugarcane harvest to barrel aging. You can also sample various types of rum and learn about the different grades and flavors. The distillery also houses a museum showcasing the history of rum in the Dominican Republic, as well as a gift shop where you can purchase your favorite Barcelo rum to take home as a souvenir, including favorites such as a Barceló Imperial or Barceló Onyx. Prices here are usually at or slightly below supermarket prices and far below souvenir shop or resort prices in Punta Cana

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To visit the Barceló Rum Distillery, you can either book a fully-guided tour from Punta Cana* (which includes the entrance tickets) or rent a car in Punta Cana. The tickets can be bought online* or right on spot. If you’re planning a day trip from Punta Cana to this area, you can combine this with a visit to Cueva de las Maravillas and a sunset drink in Bayahibe on the way back.

How to get to this rum tour: rent a car and head towards San Pedro de Macorís, approx. 1.5 hours from Punta Cana and 1 hour from Santo Domingo
Price: approx. 20 USD
How to book tickets: you can book your tickets for the Barceló Rum Distillery here* or buy them on the spot

The Barcelo Rum Factory in San Pedro de Macoris

Santo Domingo Rum Experience

The Santo Domingo Rum Experience is – besides the Punta Cana Rum Tasting – the second rum tour which does not have its own distillery on-site and is the only option that is not linked to a specific brand. However, it is one of the most beautiful locations where you can enjoy a glass (or tasting) of rum, thanks to its exclusive location in Santo Domingo’s Colonial Zone and a fantastic view from the rooftop terrace to the First Cathedral of the Americas, The Cathedral of Santa María la Menor.

The Santo Domingo Rum Experience consists of two parts: an interactive guided tour through the history of rum, including exciting stories, surprising elements, talkative guides in historic vestures and a small rum tasting at the end, as well as a visit to the rooftop terrace (which can be accessed for free) where you can sample further rums or have some well-elaborated snacks from the menu. 

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A visit to the Santo Domingo Rum Experience combines perfectly with a stroll in the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo’s most important tourist attraction and one of the most authentic areas of the Dominican Republics’ history and culture.

The official name of this place is “SugarCane, La Casa Del Ron – The Rum Experience – Rooftop Cocktail & Tapas”. You can find it right at Plaza Colón, one of the most centric squares in Santo Domingo. It is typically only open during the evenings.

How to get to this rum tour: if visiting Santo Domingo, you can walk to this rum experience from every place within the Colonial Zone
Price: approx. 20 USD; rooftop access is for free
How to book tickets: you just can show up, even though reservations for drinks or snacks on the rooftop are recommended, especially for Fridays and Saturdays.

Brugal Rum Center (in Puerto Plata)

The distilleries above are all the options you have when looking for rum tours in Punta Cana and around. All of them can be reached on a day trip.

The following two are too far from Punta Cana, among them the Brugal Rum Center in Puerto Plata. It marks a perfect visit when planning a road trip in the Dominican Republic as most DR itineraries include a couple of nights along the North Coast. 

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The author Chris in the Dominican Republic

The Brugal Rum Distillery in Puerto Plata is a perfect option for a visit when you want to have it all: a quick history tour, a glimpse into the distillery (particularly the bottling plant is impressive), a small museum, a rum tasting with some of Brugals’ most popular rums and a shop where you can buy all the different Brugal rums in the Dominican Republic at prices slightly below the supermarket (hence super cheap!), including some merchandise.

The Rum Center in Puerto Plata is a perfect stop among all those fantastic beaches along the North Coast, among them some of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic. It is only open on weekdays (hence plan accordingly) and tickets can be bought on-site.

How to get to this rum tour: the best is to head there with your car rental on a road trip along the North Coast of the Dominican Republic
Price: approx. 5 USD
How to book tickets: you just can show up, but please note that the Brugal Rum Center has not yet officially reopened after Covid-19

A rum tour in the Dominican Republic while visiting the Brugal Rum Distillery in Puerto Plata

Macorix House of Rum (in Puerto Plata)

Another option in Puerto Plata is the Macorix House of Rum which is hardly known among travelers when it comes to rum tours in the Dominican Republic. It is one of the quickest experiences, but great if you’re just looking for a rum tasting of some not-so-well-known rums in the Dominican Republic. It is located in the center of Puerto Plata and therefore combines perfectly with any city tour. 

This Dominican Republic rum tour is pretty quick but is perfect if you’d like to taste and shop some rums. The entrance fee is just around 4 USD, hence it is also a perfect thing to do if your budget is not super extensive. 

How to get to this rum tour: you can walk here when visiting the city center of Puerto Plata. Alternatively, this rum tour is included in many Puerto Plata city tours*
Price: approx. 4 USD
How to book tickets: you just can show up and pay the entrance fee

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The face behind Punta Cana Travel Blog: Chris

CHRIS

Author, Travel Coach & Punta Cana based digital nomad

Hey, I am Chris, a born and raised German, travel-addictive and Caribbean Soul. Since 2011 I have been living in the Caribbean, among them 5 years in the Dominican Republic. Punta Cana is my home-base here in the country and I’d love to tell you more about how to experience Punta Cana off-the-beaten-track and give you all the advice you want to know for your vacation in Punta Cana.

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