Imagine waking up on a Caribbean island, having a leisurely breakfast, touring a rum distillery for a tasting, then relaxing on the beach. Now imagine doing it on three different islands over the course of six days. We took CheapCaribbean.com’s newly launched rum tour and that’s exactly how our days shaped up. The tour visits Antigua, St. Kitts and Barbados, and includes all-inclusive accommodations on each island. Here are the details.
Photos and video shot with the Nikon COOLPIX W300. Full review coming soon.
Rum is the theme from the moment you arrive at Antigua’s Starfish Jolly Beach Resort, as you’re greeted with a glass of rum punch. Enjoy a laid-back day on the beach sipping on rum cocktails of your choosing — relax, it’s all included — before dining at Lydia's, the resort’s seafood restaurant.
The next morning, dive headfirst into Caribbean rum culture with a visit to Antigua Distillery. Get a personalized tour from blending to bottling of this rarely visited distillery and learn the island’s rum history. Next up, it’s time for samples in the tasting room. Then it’s off to the airport for a brief flight to the next stop on the rum trail.
Explore Wingfield Estates, one of the island’s oldest sugar mills, which produced sugar, molasses and rum until the 1920s. Wandering through the restored ruins and distillery is like taking a step back in time — you can almost smell the molasses.
Just a short drive away is Clay Villa Plantation, whose family members are native to the Caribbean. At the end of the estate tour tour, stop in the pint-sized pub — also known as the owner’s husband’s man cave — and sample four local rums, plus a generous serving of the rum punch, a secret family recipe. End your day beachside at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
When a tour starts with a glass of rum punch, you know good things are coming. At Mount Gay Rum, opened in 1703, you’re not only given a glass to sip while you learn the local rum history, you’re also given the opportunity to taste the molasses used to make Mount Gay’s finest. After an entertaining film that delves deeper into the island’s rum history, it’s tasting time. Three generous samples are yours to drink while your guide walks you through proper tasting procedure. (Hint, it’s a lot like wine tasting: swirl, sniff, sip.)
But the rum journey isn’t over yet. Sit down in the distillery’s dining room and savor a Dark ’n’ Stormy while the chef explains what’s next: a three-course rum pairing meal where the food is chosen to complement the rum, not the other way around. The bartender expertly blends each cocktail, explaining the ingredients and why particular rum was chosen for the beverage, and the chef explains why each dish pairs with that particular cocktail. You’ll leave stuffed and more than a little tipsy, which is the perfect time to head back to Turtle Beach Resort and enjoy an afternoon at the beach.
How to Book
The tour package is $4,999 per person and includes airfare, five nights of all-inclusive hotel accommodations, meals, and rum tours. CheapCaribbean.com has also partnered with Tourism Cares and will donate 20 percent of the proceeds to Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Book now through November 30, 2017, for travel from April 26 through May 1, 2018.