San Hilario Fort and Colon Lighthouse Tour

christopher columbus Lighthouse Sabinal Cuba

Just a 20 minute boat ride from Playa Santa Lucia is the island of Cayo Sabinal. An important historically relevant island due to the Spanish presence and fortress present there. Faro Colon (Christopher Columbus Lighthouse) is Cuba’s tallest lighthouse, located on the north coast of Cayo Sabinal its an omnipresent reminder of Spanish rule on the island of Cuba throughout the 19th century.  The Columbus lighthouses focal length is 53 meters (174 feet). It employs a white light which flashes every 15 seconds. Next door to the lighthouse is the one storey light keeper’s dwelling.

Punta Maternillos Lighthouse Colon

The Punta Maternillos Faro Colon serves as an observation center that can still cover the entire Bahamas channel. Over the past +160 years it has played an important role in advising Captains who use the port of Nuevitas. Visitors can access the lighthouse by road and the whole area and tower is open for tourists.

Faro Colon is still a great tourist attraction and is still active. It is admired by Cubans and is one of the oldest lighthouses in Cuba. Take your camera to snap some shots of the views and the blue sea, for as far as the eyes can see. The views of the coastline are also spectacular.

There’s a local legend which claims that Punta de Maternillos is a place of immense buried treasures and great riches left by wayward pirates. The Columbus lighthouse (Faro Colon) was built in 1847 as observation post, the lighthouse beacon a savior for sailors passing through the treacherous Bahamas Channel on their way to Havana, Florida and Mexico. Further along the coast on Cayo Sabinal is the fortress of San Hilario that served as a fortified tower and barracks for Spanish artillery and troops, Built to defend against repeated pirate attacks in the 17th and 18th centuries, the fort kept marauding corsairs at bay. The San Hilario fort later became a prison and, in 1875 was used as a base for a brief uprising against the Spanish queen, Isabel II, in Cuba.

This whole day excursion from Hotels in Santa Lucia is a great history lesson. It provides a deeper understanding of Spanish rule on Cuba plus, there’s some impressive historic buildings and, of course, the beautiful Island of Sabinal in the Jardines del Rey Archipelago.