The remaining structure of the Puerto Ferro lighthouse, or “faro”, is located just inside the entrance of the Vieques Wildlife Refuge. Begun under Spanish rule in 1896 the lighthouse construction was halted during the Spanish-American War. Once Puerto Rico was taken over by the United States the lighthouse was completed and became operational in 1899.
Perched on a south shore cliff, Puerto Ferro was part of a strategic lighthouse plan for all of Puerto Rico guiding merchant ships carrying mostly sugar cane and cattle. The light from the 36 foot tower could be seen from any given point in the surrounding waters.
A similar design lighthouse, Punta Mulas, still functions on the north side of Vieques at the harbor in Isabel Segunda.
Also referred to as “Faro Berdiales” after the family who is said to have operated it, the Puerto Ferro lighthouse functioned for approximately 27 years. In March of 1925 an earthquake damaged the building so badly that it was abandoned the next year. Closed to the public until recently, visitors can now observe the ruins still weathering in the salt spray and sun. The site offers a majestic view of the Caribbean, with southern currents breaking on rocky cliffs and beaches stretching east and west as far as the eye can see.
DIRECTIONS: Enter Reserve off Rt. 997. Take an immediate right onto a gravel road. Follow the gravel road until you come to a Do Not Enter sign and a parking area on your left. This parking is for those who wish to hike or bike to the lighthouse (approximately 1 mile) but it also has an informational kiosk about the area. You can then continue on (past the sign) to the second parking lot that is only 150 yards from the lighthouse. Do not go off the road for any reason and don’t leave the designated path to the light house or Berdiales beach.
Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse.