Sugar Cane Harvest With Ron Abuelo

Last weekend, I was invited to Varela Hermanos’ Hacienda San Isidro by my friend Jorge Chanis, the Panama food blogger behind El Buen Diente. It’s Zafra time –cane harvest season– and together with the makers of Ron Abuelo, Jorge created an experience around the celebration of this yearly activity and tradition. It was so interesting to learn about the history of this national jewel; one of the best rums in the world. The Hacienda is located in Pesé, which is about 3.5 hours away from the city. We visited the home of its founder, José Varela Blanco; toured the distillery; and visited the warehouses where the rum is stored in barrels for ageing. We even got to extract the juice of some canes the old fashioned way: with a Trapiche –an ox-turned mill. And of course, we also had a tasting of their classic rums: Añejo, 7 Años, 12 Años and Centuria. To finish off the day, we had some sunset cocktails and later a huge dinner feast via the hands of chefs Luis Young from Crave and José Ragazzi from Tierra.

If you’re a rum enthusiast, and you’re ever in Panama, I highly recommend a visit to Hacienda San Isidro. If you want to know about our culture, there’s no better place than the Azuero peninsula, the region where Pesé is located in, and the birthplace of true Panamanian culture.

Thanks to Varela Hermanos, Hotel Cubitá and Jorge for this wonderful experience and warm hospitality!



Ron Abuelo Tour

Hacienda San Isidro

Hacienda San Isidro tour

Ron Abuelo tour

Hacienda San Isidro

Rum tour of Hacienda San Isidro

Campesino in Panama

Riding an ox drawn carriage

Zafra season in Panama

Riding an ox carriage in Panama


Visiting the birthplace of Panama culture


Panama tour of Hacienda San Isidro in Pese, Azuero

Cane fields in Panama

Rum warehoue


Rum tasting


Cane fields in Panama


Cane harvest Zafra


Touring the distillery of Varela Hermanos

Cane processing in Panama

Rum storage

Rum warehouse

White oak barrels from Tennessee


Sunset cocktails with Ron Abuelo


White oak barrels from Jack Daniels

Sunset cocktail attire

Photos by Jose Castrellon and I.