While you won’t see the Jolly Roger flying from any mastheads off the shores of Punta Cana, it’s still possible to get a taste of life on the high seas at the Pirate Rum Factory. Dominican rum will almost assuredly be a part of your trip in the form of one or more mai tais or piña coladas, but a factory tour goes beyond the hotel bar and into the island’s long history with this iconic drink.
Dominican rum can trace its heritage to the arrival of the first Europeans in the Caribbean. When the colonists learned that sugarcane thrived in this region, it became a major crop and soon after came the earliest versions of rum. Today, a cold rum-based cocktail is as synonymous with Punta Cana as a refreshing breeze or cloudless sky.
In keeping with the vivid palate of the Dominican Republic, the Pirate Rum Factory offers one of the most artisanal tours on the island. The wide-eyed stone gatekeeper atop the doorway greets you as you enter the factory to set the mood for a cheery look into this proudly held tradition. Adorning the walls are the works of local artists while painters demonstrate their expertise as they paint unique illustrations on each and every bottle. Scenes of leafy palm trees floating above the sea or the sunset over the lush tropical backdrop of Punta Cana can be depicted to capture a special moment from any trip.
The Dominican rum within these artful bottles comes from a recipe dating back over 300 years. Molasses was initially thought of as an unnecessary byproduct of the sugarcane refining process. Once it was discovered that molasses could ferment, however, the first crude productions of rum began. Over the years the recipe has remained unchanged but the process has been expertly refined and today’s options—like those available from the Pirate Rum Factory—are smooth and flavorful.
In addition to the factory tour, you get an additional dose of Dominican history with an accompanying visit to the Taino Cave right on-site. Your guide shares the amazing history of the cave and the indigenous people who once called Punta Cana home, as well as gives you the opportunity to see a colony of Jamaican fruit bats in their natural habitat.