Venezuela is not currently known as a touristic travel destination, but there are a few things you should do if you visit. After you do the must sees like Angel Falls (why haven’t I written a post about this?!), Los Roques, and maybe Colonia Tovar, your search for tourist sites might become a little more challenging. One thing you can do is learn more about Venezuelan rum at Hacienda Santa Teresa!
I think I have mentioned before that Venezuela has some of the top rums in the world and Santa Teresa has my personal favorite: Santa Teresa 1796. So if you happen to find yourself in Venezuela you should make a point of visiting the place where it all started: Hacienda Santa Teresa.
Not only is it a great spot to drink a cocktails (or sip it straight up as some people I know like to do), but it is a place for the whole family! They have soccer, horseback riding, an old fashioned train to climb on, and big fields to run around on. I think the adults have the most fun though!
I went with about 20 people from my work so it was an interesting venue to get to know the new faces. People let their guards down when you are learning to mix cocktails and sampling rum for four or five hours.
The first thing we did was take a cocktail mixing course. We learned how to make two cocktails, Angel Share (lime and orange slices, sugar, and rum), and Fresa Santa Teresa (strawberry puree, sugar, lime, and rum).
After the cocktail course we took a lunch break. The Santa Teresa restaurant has delicious food, but horribly slow service. I had the rum chicken and my friend had the steak medallions. Both were tasty but we waited about an hour for them. Also during that hour we could have been whiling our time away with a drink in hand, but the waiter abandoned our table of 8. We thought of buy a bottle of rum from the gift shop but one of the local ladies informed us that they charged a bottle corkage fee that was really expensive because the Hacienda makes the most money from the cocktails it serves.
Next we went on a tour of the Hacienda. Our group nearly filled the open sided tour bus, but four others joined our group. The guys in our group were very entertained by the “coach” who was leading the tour and telling us about how there is a Santa Teresa rugby team and their history. I really wanted to see the distillery in action, but we were only able to see the outside of the buildings, and step a couple feet inside of the rooms containing the stacked rum barrels. The best part of the tour is that they share a tiny taste of each of the Santa Teresa rums after each stop.
Finally, our day at the Hacienda Santa Teresa ended with a stop at the souvenir shop. You can buy a rugby shirt as long as you are a size L or smaller. Otherwise you had better be there for the rum! It is not cheaper at this shop than it is in town, but at least you know that they wont run out of bottles (like they occasionally do in town). I bought a bottle of the Santa Teresa 1796 of course.
At the time I visited I had to pay 350 Bs to enter, 1,200 Bs for the tour (includes a taste of four rums, a plastic shot glass, and a diploma), and 1,150 Bs for the cocktail class which included the two cocktails we made. I don’t exactly remember my total for lunch since we just split the unitemized bill, but I want to say that it was about 2,800 for chicken, a side of yucca, and a natural peach juice. My total for the day was 2,700 Bs (or about 5,500 Bs including lunch) or about $4/$8 USD. It is a nice day trip from Caracas or Valencia, so if you are in the area, be sure to stop by Hacienda Santa Teresa.