Faro Los Morillos

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico | C.1882

Photo Credit: Isaac de Castro

With its clean lines, grey exterior, and minimal ornamentation, the architectural design of the Los Morillos Light evokes a sense of peaceful calm. However, the lighthouse has seen plenty of action along the shores of Puerto Rico, where it was built to help guide ships through the Caribbean’s Mona Passage.

Also known as Faro Los Morillos de Cabo Rojo, or locally as El Faro, the light is situated on white limestone cliffs surrounded by salt-rich coves. Salt mining has been a vital resource to the region for centuries. Originally inhabited by indigenous tribes, Cabo Rojo was colonized by the Spaniards around 1512 when they arrived to take advantage of the region’s salt resources.

El Faro is the island’s second lighthouse built under Spanish rule. Following centuries of contentious relations with pirates, native tribes, and competing colonists, the Spanish instilled their command over the island. As maritime commerce prospered in the Caribbean, the need for a lighthouse to guide ships intensified, as the dangerous Mona Passage connects the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.

After five years of construction, El Faro was complete. Upon opening, the lighthouse was manned by two keepers, an engineer, and their families who lived in the main building.

For nearly a century, El Faro was operated by keepers until it was automated in 1967. After a period of neglect, it was recovered by the local government and underwent a restoration in 2002. A new coat of paint with pops of green on the windows and door have since revitalized the beloved lighthouse. Today, Los Morillos Light is open for tours and still guides ships out to the Atlantic Ocean.

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