250px-Las_Cabezas_de_San_Juan_LighthouseTow­er paint­ed light gray with white trim, lantern black. The orig­i­nal 1-sto­ry neo­clas­si­cal stone keeper’s house is used as a nature cen­ter and marine lab­o­ra­to­ry oper­at­ed by the Col­lege of Humacao of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Puer­to Rico.  This beau­ti­ful and well-pre­served Span­ish light­house is the old­est sur­viv­ing light­house in Puer­to Rico. It was repaired after being heav­i­ly dam­aged by the San Ciprián hur­ri­cane in Sep­tem­ber 1932. The Puer­to Rico Con­ser­va­tion Trust pur­chased the sur­round­ing land in 1975 and restored the light­house in 1990. Locat­ed in the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve on the north­east­ern most point of the island, north­east of Fajar­do, com­mand­ing a spec­tac­u­lar view.

The Fajar­do or Cabezas de San Juan light­house entered ser­vice on May 2, 1882 as the first light­house con­struct­ed under the island’s mar­itime illu­mi­na­tion plan. Its first keep­ers were Ramón Dordal (who died of malar­ia three weeks after assum­ing the post), José Pérez Bar­rios, and José Rodríguez Para­da. It was designed by Enrique Gae­da and built by Manuel Nur­sa on the high­est point of the north­east­ern tip of the island. Due to the area’s ele­va­tion, the 36-foot tow­er attached to the rear face of the build­ing is pro­por­tion­ate­ly one of the short­est among the local light­hous­es.

The build­ing mea­sures 98 feet long by 41 feet wide. It was paint­ed gray and white with green win­dows, the same col­ors it has today. Three dis­tin­guish­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of this light­house are the pres­ence of a por­ti­co, the absence of an iron balustrade in the tow­er, and the elab­o­rate design of the tower’s stair­way, def­i­nite­ly the most beau­ti­ful among local light­hous­es. The stair­way lacks a cen­tral col­umn, so as in the Cabo Rojo light­house, the weights that rotat­ed the lens descend­ed through a duct built into the tower’s wall. The fuel for the lamp was stored in a room locat­ed under the tow­er. The third-order lens, which pro­ject­ed its light eigh­teen miles away, was sub­sti­tut­ed in 1916 by a fourth-order one that was destroyed in 1932 by Hur­ri­cane San Ciprián. Anoth­er fourth-order lens was installed, fol­lowed by the present elec­tric bea­con orig­i­nal­ly designed for air­port use. Dur­ing the 1950s sig­nif­i­cant ren­o­va­tions were made, includ­ing the redis­tri­b­u­tion of inter­nal spaces, the instal­la­tion of an iron balustrade on the tow­er and the addi­tion of a rear door, but the orig­i­nal mar­ble floor and brick roof remained intact. In 1975 the sur­round­ing land was pur­chased by the Puer­to Rico Con­ser­va­tion Trust, which in 1990 metic­u­lous­ly restored the light­house.