Bacardi Triangle revealed: a look inside the lavish three-day music event in Puerto Rico

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Feature by Sandra Burciaga

Every morning, before hopping on my MacBook to begin the never-ending content producing workday for Grimy Goods, I usually jump on my iPhone to scan my socials and emails; kind of as a refresher to the motherload that awaits me in my inbox. In early October I received an email invite for myself and a guest to take part in the first-ever Bacardi Triangle. As I scanned the email that read “Exclusive BACARDI Invitation to Music Adventure in the Bermuda Triangle” via my iPhone, I was a bit sceptical of such a lavish trip. Granted, I had taken part in previous all-expenses paid branded mini-vacations, but nothing quite as luxurious as the Bacardi Triangle. Naturally, I gave my early morning eyes a quick rub and jumped on my computer to view the invite in all its glorious entirety.

Without a doubt, I was ecstatic for a lush complimentary trip to Puerto Rico where we’d be whisked away to the Waldorf Astoria El Conquistador resort with access to a private island (Palomino Island). As the jetsetter that I am, my mind had already made the “yes” decision to attend the exclusive Bacardi Triangle; a festival where the only way you can gain admittance is by being invited. There were no ticket purchases available to attend this coveted event, it was free in every way for the lucky 1,862 taste-makers, models, influencers and musicians that were invited as part of the event’s carefully curated guest list. With a vibrant rotation of international DJs performing at all hours of the day, the Bacardi Triangle’s main event would include performances by Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding and Kendrick Lamar. A pretty enthralling lineup, but I must admit I was heartbroken I was going to miss out on the Queens of the Stone Age Halloween bash with The Kills … but who was I kidding, this girl was going to Puerto Rico to sip on Bacardi cocktails all day while enjoying the beauty of the Caribbean!

Kicking off our day beyond bright and early, a private chauffeur picked us up at 5:15 a.m. to take us to LAX. With its congested lanes and crowded bag checks and security, I was already dreading going through the process of boarding an international flight at LAX. But never fear, the fine folks at Bacardi made the process so seamless. Our chauffeur took us to a private terminal outside all of the hustle and bustle of LAX, where we would then lounge in a cozy lobby with complimentary breakfast as we met all the Los Angeles invitees. Let me tell you, private charter flights are the way to go!

Not gonna lie, but our Sun Country charter was filled with a lot of beautiful people from Los Angeles. About 30 seats alone belonged to Kendrick Lamar’s Top Dawg Entertainment crew. The remainder of seats were various L.A. tastemakers, both male and female, trying their best to look presentable at such an early hour. Also on our flight were some of L.A.’s finest mixologists who by the looks of it just came off a late shift.

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Not too long after take-off did our hunky Australian Bacardi bartender start serving up those delicious cocktails. Blending ginger, pineapple and mint, it was impossible to say no to such a refreshing treat (even if it was 10 a.m.).

In comparison, the Los Angeles flight was far more calm than the reported New York flight which was taking swigs straight from the bottle Animal House-style as they formed conga lines down the aisle. I guess our flight was a bit more mature … or something.

Needless to say, upon arrival at the Waldorf Astoria El Conquistador we were immediately greeted with a bacardi cocktail to keep us buzzy (I mean busy) while we checked into our hotel room. Seeing that I had two of those delicious ginger cocktails on our flight, the welcome cocktail brought me back to that happy place.

Upon finally getting to our ocean view room via a gondola type outdoor elevator (this resort is enormous), all I wanted to do was take a quick nap on the massive and cozy bed, but that was not going to happen. The beats were felt from our room and Club 1862 was calling our name. Good thing our Sun Country flight fed us two hearty meals because the provided dinner service at Bacardi Triangle had closed. And since our coach bus was late to pick us up from the San Juan airport, we missed out on dinner.

I was pleasantly surprised by the crowd at the Club 1862 evening pool party. I thought the event was going to be drenched with your token plastic Vegas-type girls and douches; afterall, dance music is known for attracting that kind of demographic, and this rock ‘n’ roll gal cringes at the thought of being immersed in such a setting. Don’t get me wrong, I do love quality house music and indie electro, but I wasn’t sure what to expect at night one of Bacardi Triangle.

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Fortunately the music was on point. The Cuban Brothers really got the night going with their sexy dance vibes. The crowd was finally starting to loosen up as they approached cocktail number two, or three (or four). As roller girls skated around the perimeter of the gorgeous pools, The Cuban Brothers blasted us with with funky beats from their triangular-shaped stage set up, ensuring everyone was having a good time. These dudes are pretty funny too, and so were some of their friends.

From Germany, Tensnake had my booty happily bouncing to his vibrant disco-house, while L.A.’s own Nadastrom kept the techno grooves tight so we can last all night. Unfortunately, this here girl couldn’t make the long haul and was in bed by 1 a.m. I wish I had considered how sugary those cocktails were, because the massive hangover that greeted me the following morning was just not right. And to think, I only had three cocktails at the party, oh, and a shot of Bacardi.

It’s now 9 a.m. on day two of Bacardi Triangle and I feel like complete and utter shit. My internal alarm tells me to bikini-up and start enjoying the day. Although cloudy, we had high hopes of getting some sunshine in so we can perfect our already golden L.A. tans. While the pool parties were about to pop off with DJs, volleyball tournaments and other festive activities, my guest and I opted to jump on the hotel’s ferry and check out the gorgeous Palomino Island. Why swim in a pool when you have the turquoise waters of the Caribbean waiting to kiss your skin?

Unfortunately, nearly 10 minutes after our arrival, mother nature decided to give us another shower. We waited and waited for the rain to stop — entertained by the friendly British party next to us and their drunk shenanigans — but it didn’t look like the rain was going to cease. We watched the massive Bacardi Triangle stage go through its finishing touches before taking one last dip in the ocean as the rain came down on us. With sadness that the sun was not coming out, we ventured back to the resort for a quick siesta and then some pool action.

After flooding my body with massive amounts of water and an attempt at a nap, I finally felt better. I decided to join in on the fiesta going on outside of our room located in the VIP / Media pool. It’s amazing how a Bacardi mismo (bacardi, soda water and lime) can work wonders for your hangover. Hair of the dog, but this time I’m sticking to the less sugary options.

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Halloween night at the Bacardi Triangle was a most festive and scary affair: Black Magic Pool Party. From bondage couples, and a CENSORED female, all the way to Poison Ivy — attendees were ready to pull out all the tricks and treats. Dressing somewhat for comfort — and when I say “comfort” I’m taling about six-inch wedges as opposed to five-inch platform Louboutins —  we were going on wardrobe change number four of this day. I really can’t report too much about this night seeing as it was the only night I stayed up until 5:30 a.m. in the morning ringing in the Halloween festivities. All I remember is how easy those Bacardi mismos were going down and how the ghouls hanging about in corners gave me an unexpected and super fright. I normally don’t get scared at Halloween haunts, but this lil ghoul caught me off guard. I blame it on the mismos!

The following morning the sun gods blazed their rays upon us and we had an epic day of sun, pina coladas and swimming on Palomino Island. While my friend nursed a horrible hangover from Halloween hell, we were fortunate enough to be the lucky few to visit the island. It was day three of Bacardi Triangle and set-up and sound checks were taking place for the closing night’s big event: Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris and Kendrick Lamar.

After our sun-filled island adventure, we headed back to the resort to take a quick siesta in preparation for the evening concert on Palomino island.

The lines to board the ferry back to the island were super long, but thankfully they moved quick as fresh coconut water and bacardi were served to us in a young coconut while we chatted and made new friends. During our wait, I even ran into a hot British couple that propositioned me for a threesome the night before … even the coconut water and bacardi couldn’t make the moment less awkward (and no, I did not accept the proposal).

Like hungry vultures, our ferry quickly ravished the buffet lines as we deboarded. These anxious party people needed to fill their bellies before going out with a bang. After stuffing our faces on the weekend’s best buffet yet (the provided buffet dinners were not that great), the bars were quickly filling up as attendees were ready to get their drink on.

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Kicking off the Bacardi Triangle performances with a high energy set by Ellie Goulding, I had never seen so many men throw their hands in the air and bounce to the electro pop sounds of “Lights” “Burn” and of course “Anything Could Happen”. Goulding really moved everyone with her feel-good electrifying performance and sweet stage banter.

Up next was Kendrick Lamar. From Australia to Los Angeles, all the hip hop heads rushed to the stage for a front-row spot. The Top Dawg Entertainment prized-rapper added even more glitz to his already solid performance by taking the stage with a live band. From guitars to drums, the Compton, California-bred rapper delivered a heavy dose of flows. When he rapped the lyrics,  “I love bad bitches, that’s my fuckin’ problem” — you best believe the girls went wild.

Closing up the Bacardi Triangle concert was Calvin Harris, who took way too long to hit the stage. As we watched his massive DJ stand get set-up in the hopes of him finally hitting the tracks, we grew very tired of waiting and jumped on a ferry back to the resort for a good night’s sleep. Sorry, Calvin — ain’t no one got time for that! Especially when you have to wake up bright and early to catch a flight back to Los Angeles.

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The Bacardi Triangle was an experience of a lifetime. You can’t really beat music, delicious cocktails and great people with similar interests all on a tropical paradise. If you’re fortunate enough to get invited or win your way into the next Bacardi Triangle, I highly recommend you jump on the opportunity. Even if the music isn’t to your general liking, Bacardi knows how to deliver a grand event where you’re sure to have a fantastic experience.

Photography provided by Bacardi

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