If you enjoy sightseeing and photography, then make sure you add this attraction to your list. Bring your camera to capture the contrasting colors of reddish orange bricks against a blue sky over waters in deep shades of navy blues. Punta Borinquen is a popular place among photographers, popular for engagement shoots, a perfect background for romantic shots. From the main road, the drive here is only a few minutes. Before the Ponderosa Lighthouse ruins, you can make a stop at Playa Punta Borinquen, a nice spot for a walk on the beach.
As you stand in the center of the ruins, you’ll enjoy the scenic sights, the sounds of the waves, wind blowing and palm trees dancing in the background, but as you look around at the ruins you may end up feeling blue… blue because sadly this beautiful historic site still stands unprotected and in danger of being vandalized. We thank Rescate Playas Borinquen – a non-profit organization working to protect Ramey’s recreational areas and its beaches. Enjoy your visit, please help protect the area and keep it clean from trash.
A Little History
Faro de la Ponderosa was built in 1889 by the Spanish government and served as an aid to navigation on the route from Europe to Panama.
“Originally commissioned by the government of Spain for the sum of 30,870 pesos ($700,000 US in 2011), the Ponderosa Lighthouse orginally came into service on September 15, 1889. The Spanish Colonial neo-classical structure was 91 feet long and 41 feet wide and designed by Enrique Gadea.
It included an octagonal tower with a bracketed cornice built in a Moorish style that contrasted sharply with the structure’s otherwise simple noe-classical lines. The building also contained 13 rooms for the two families that maintained the light that could be seen for over 12 miles. The original structure was painted red with white trim.
The lighthouse came into possession of the United States after the signining of the Treaty of Paris in December of 1898. It was decided due to the “obstruction by a plantation of high trees” that a new lighthouse was going to be rebuilt. With an act of Congress on June 1917, funds for a new Point Borinquen Lighthouse summing $85,000 was attained.
On October 11, 1918, before construction could be started on the new relocated lighthouse, an estimated 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck at 10:14 am. Francisco Cavallieri was the lighthouse keeper at the time of the earthquake with this wife and three children. His great-granddaugther Lleana Fajardo was told that Cavallieri’s wife had a premonition that something was not right just minutes before. She noticed the air suddenly grew “light”, the birds went silent, and the family dogs began to bark wildly and ran out of the house. ” – Rescate Playas Borinquen
In 1922, a replacement lighthouse was built on higher ground about a mile from this location, which is still functional today. Sadly, Ponderosa was damaged by the 1918 earthquake and never repaired or protected as a historic site.