Puerto Rico LighthouseS


    Toward the end of the 19th Century, the Spanish government undertook the task of illuminating our shores through the establishment of a system of lighthouses located at strategic points along the coast. These lighthouses would facilitate not only the international commerce but also that which happened between local ports, at the time the most efficient means of transporting goods to other parts of the island. Although the first plan dates from 1869, it wasn’t until the last two decades of the century that the project became a reality, with the construction of twelve lighthouses between 1880 and 1898. When sovereignty changed as a result of the Spanish-American War, the incoming government found a maritime illumination system so well planned and executed that it only required the completion of some structures in progress.

  Today the lighthouses are sources of admiration, inspiration and nostalgia for Puerto Ricans of all ages. Automated and closed during the past century, because they were no longer so useful, several deteriorated to the point of becoming ruins and as such remain. Two disappeared. Fortunately, municipal governments and organizations aware of the historic and touristic value of these structures have restored several of the lighthouses and there’s a desire to rescue the rest.

   This work describes our lighthouses and presents their condition in 2009. It is dedicated with admiration and respect to all the people who from the lighthouses illuminated the nights of Puerto Rico. The publication is also available in PDF format (this link) and in the iBookstore.

José A. Mari Mut



Above: Arecibo lighthouse. To the right, from the top: details of the Cabo Rojo, Arroyo, Guanica, Fajardo, and Maunabo lighthouses.