El Faro Lighthouse at Cape San Juan
While in San Juan take time to visit the Faro de las Cabezaz de San Juan, a lighthouse built by the Spanish and first officially lit up on 2 May 1882. To get to the restored lighthouse you will first pass through the Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve known for its bio-diversity and its beauty. The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico manages the Las Cabezas reserve that can be found at the northern most point of Cape San Juan in Fajardo and is made up of three promontories, or pieces of high land, that jut out into the sea. Keep in mind though that the reserve is only open on weekends. This means that you can visit from Friday to Sunday between 9:30am in the morning and 4:00pm in the afternoon.
The El Faro lighthouse is situated on one of the headlands that point out into the sea, providing tourists with information about the history of the lighthouse as well as the area that surrounds it. You can also find an observation deck to view the waves crashing in and if you are still there in the early evening you can catch the sunset casting off a cascade of colors into the clear, open sky. The lighthouse gives you an almost castle-like impression with the roof containing a parapet and the tower featuring a rectangular cornice.
When you walk into the main entrance of the lighthouse you will notice a corridor that leads to the first eight-step stairway which takes you up into the lighthouse tower. The cast-iron stairs give you an indication of the time period of when it was built with its intricate and beautiful designs carved into the side. At the top of the stairway you will see the stone central lantern, a fascinating piece of ingenuity that makes the lighthouse produce the 18-mile range light that has saved so many lives in the past and is still performing this function to this day. The lantern that you will find today has not been replaced since 1898 and continues to shine a fixed white light that changes to a red light after every three minutes. The Faro de las Cabezas de San Juan is a noteworthy sight that visitors should not miss out on.