Visitors and Havana’s Rum Museum
Text and Photos by Roberto F. Campos
One of the places in Havana that most attracts visitors from Europe, especially Spain, as well as other parts of the world, is the Havana Club Rum Museum.
Havana is currently showcasing its defining features, as it will celebrate 500 years since its founding on November 16. Hence, all those who have visited or plan to visit the capital this year come looking for cultural and traditional elements such as Cuban rum.
The Havana Club Rum Museum was inaugurated on March 30th 2000, and has received over two million visitors interested in learning about the rum’s manufacture but also tasting the best samples available at the museum’s bar.
In 1993, Cuba’s CubaRon Company and France’s Pernod Ricard merged to create Havana Club International S.A., which is in charge of internationally commercializing what experts consider to be the best light rum.
The Havana Club Rum Museum was thus created with the objective of spreading information about this product which, together with Cuban cigars, corroborate the high quality of what is produced on the island (a second museum of this kind exists in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba). Located at a colonial house on Port Avenue that was formerly owned by Count De la Mortera, the museum casts a spell on all who wish to get familiar with rum manufacturing in Cuba and of course, taste the famous Cuban liquor.
In addition to the tourists who visit the museum on their own, many Cuban travel agencies take visitors, including Cubatur, Cubanacán and Gaviota Tour, as well as the tour companies Neckerman-Thomas Cook and TUI (Germany), Vacances Air Transat, Nouvelles Frontieres and Kuoni (France) and Marsans (Spain).
The truth is that a considerable number of the Spanish tourists who come to Havana visit the museum, maybe because of the existing cultural link between the two countries, as the Spanish were the first explorers to come to the island. French and German tourists are frequent visitors to the museum as well.
The building has different floors that show the entire rummaking process from the moment that the sugarcane is planted. It has an art gallery, an event hall and a 1930s-style bar that visitors especially seem to like.
The museum is located in Old Havana, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and comprises 2.2 square kilometers of the area, frequently visited by people from around the world.