On April 13th, 2021, Skip, Ezra, and I made our way down an incredibly bumpy road passing miles and miles of salt flats to a beautiful blue lighthouse that looked off 200 feet of the most incredible cliffs into the most beautiful ocean.
Located at the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico, this lighthouse was constructed in 1882 to guide passing ships through the southeast entrance from the Caribbean Sea through the treacherous Mona Passage into the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is located over a white lime cliff that surrounds saltwater lagoons and marshes—the cliffs surrounding the lighthouse drop over 200 feet into the ocean.
As more of us, tourists make our way to Puerto Rico to explore the more crowded and trashed all these beautiful areas become. Remember always to be respectful, carry out what you pack in, and dispose of your waste correctly. Leave the site cleaner than you arrived.
There are no restrooms at the parking lot nor up at the lighthouse. We recommend using the bathroom before getting on the very bumpy dirt road that you will be driving on for a good portion of your trip.
Initially, the lighthouse was manned by two keepers and an engineer, who lived on the grounds with their families. In 1967 the lighthouse was renovated, and its operation is currently wholly automated. The structure itself has been abandoned for decades, although recent, the local government and local civic groups, such as Caborrojeños Pro Salud y Ambiente, are pushing towards turning the old lighthouse keeper's house into a museum. The project was taken over by the municipality, an action that lost U.S. Federal government funds that had been assigned for it. The city took over the renovations, which, according to critics, has irrevocably damaged the historical significance of the internal structure.
The mile and half round trip gain 75 feet in elevation, and it is all within the first half mile is going up to the lighthouse on the road from the parking lot gate. There is a board at the parking lot that you need to stop and read. It goes over all the rules and regulations.
You can reach the lighthouse one of two ways, walking straight up the road itself or taking a right at the first fork and hiking along the cliff edge. We hiked straight up the road. Having a toddler, we decided it would be safer, and we would take the fork on the way back to see the natural bridge.
The area is a different atmosphere than the rest of the island. It was scorching, no shade, and instead of palm trees, there were cactuses. Make sure to bring water and wear sunscreen.
The lighthouse is one of the third order, flashes white every minute, is 121 feet above high water, is visible 18 miles, and is shown from a hexagonal dark-gray tower attached to a one-story flat-roofed gray dwelling, which has green blinds and white trimmings. The building is 40 feet high from its base. It was commenced in 1878 and was finished in 1882 by the Spanish at 14,900 pesos. The lighthouse is used to guide along the southerly coast of Puerto Rico and to the Mona Passage. The lamp and revolving machinery were overhauled and repaired as practicable, but they are still wrong. The floors and walls were cemented, the plumbing and sewer were rebuilt, and two bevel-gear wheels for the lens clock were furnished, and the clock was repaired. In February 1901, the lamp, which gave out, was replaced temporarily with a regulation-type table stand lamp, which is still in position, awaiting a new light, which is to be sent from the general light-house depot. A duplicate of the machinery, which has been ordered from France, is expected to arrive quite soon.
The lighthouse gate is opened Monday- Friday from 7:00 AM until 4:00 PM. If you cross over the gate during closed hours, you will be subjected to a fine and trespassing.
The trail is on a dirt road up to the lighthouse and multiple dirt trails veering off from the lighthouse to the cliff edges. There are no guard rails in place, so use caution and watch your footing.
On the way back, we decided to take the fork and check out the natural bridge. It was breathtaking. The water from 200 feet above was so much different from when you are close to it.
Directions to the lighthouse
From Cabo Rojo, head south on Calle Munoz Rivera Towards CII Ruiz Belvis for 210 meters
turn right on CII Manuel F Rossy for 150 meters, continue onto Ave Antos Ortiz/PR- 103 for 950 meters
Turn left on PR-100 21 kilometers, turn left, and continue to the end of the road.
The last 7 or 8 miles turn to a very bumpy road on dirt.