As a dad, I know that it can sometimes be difficult to find a place to spend the day with the kids, specially a place that is both entertaining and secure. Luckily, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer for great family fun. We recently visited one of such places in the island: the Arecibo Lighthouse and Historic Park. Join us as we take a look at this exciting and convenient spot in Puerto Rico!
The Arecibo Lighthouse is located on its namesake city of Arecibo, in the north of the Island. All in all, Arecibo has the most family oriented locations, along with Fun Valley Park
, the Arecibo Observatory
, and very close to the Camuy River Caverns
. So for us, we usually plan an escape to the area each year to enjoy all those locations on one same trip (the kids love it). To get there, simply head towards the town of Arecibo by reaching road PR-2. From San Juan, youll need to take PR-22 West that connects to Road #2. From Ponce, take road PR-2 West towards Mayaguez. Once you reach Arecibo, keep on PR-2 and follow the signs to
the Arecibo Lighthouse Historical Park. Fees are decent for the offerings inside the park. Adults and kids 13 and up pay $12 for the whole day. Kids 2 12 pay just $10 and kids 2 and below enter free. Parking fee is $3.00 per day.
Now the good thing about the park is that it has several fun things to do on the same place, for the same price. Lets start with the park itself. The Park takes you on a trip through time with a couple of open exhibits starting from a tano scene with a couple of bohos (nice photo op!). Your kids will love seeing scaled-down tano village and their way of life, along with some real tano artifacts and objects. After the tano scene, you can walk up to the highlight of the park: three scaled down models of the ships that Christopher Columbus used on his first trip to the west: the Nia, de Pinta and the Santa Mara. But these are no scale models! These are real life props that your kids can actually climb up and get the feeling of a true sea vessel! Climb up any of the three ships with different settings, artifacts and real life props. The ships are nicely built and well maintained. After the three Columbus ships, you can climb up to the biggest of the vessels, a Pirate ship! This one is a huge replica of a pirate ship along with treasure chests, pirates and Black Beard to greet!
Once you are done with the vessels you can enjoy the highlight of the park: the Pirate Cove. This attraction can get a little bit of creepy for young kids, as it is designed as a Pirate hideout. The entrance is a little bit too dark and youll need to navigate a series of corridors fashioned like a pirate cave. It can get too dark and the sound effects team did a great job of making it as scary as possible. However, once you pass the creepy part, youll find one of the best aquariums on the island, along with some sharks, eels, and other underwater critters. Inside youll also find an exhibit of underwater life and other fascinating facts and indigenous animals of the area, including a turtle pond and an alligator pond.
One of the most fascinating parts of the Cave is the boardwalk, inside a chamber shaped like a true cave, and below the boardwalk youll be able to walk above a tank full of stingrays! These critters make an awesome experience by swimming right under you with their enormous fins.
SEEING THE REST OF THE PARK
Once out of the Pirate Cove, you can climb up to the Lighthouse itself. Theres a nice museum on top, along with several objects and other exhibits about Puerto Rican marine history. The climb is on foot along a nice ramp built around the lighthouse, but it can be a little bit steep. Dont forget a stroller for smaller kids and a bottle of water for the climb. The view here is amazing, overlooking the Arecibo beach and the cliff below. Once you climb down the lighthouse, you can enjoy some decent refreshments and snacks on the snack kiosk, and then simply enjoy the boardwalk along the Arecibo shoreline.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS AND THE WATER PARK
By now youll think theres all to see and do on the park, but on the contrary! Right below the lighthouse you can check out some other exhibits and scene, like a Puerto Rican jbaro house, a life-size replica of American soldiers from the beginning of the Spanish-American war, and a helicopter! There is also a small zoo with some animals to pet and feed.
After you are done, get ready to spend a nice day under the sun! The Arecibo Lighthouse Park recently opened its water park that includes paddling boats, a huge kiddy pools and a grown up pool! The park is well designed, all under the theme of pirates and very secure. The Splash at the Arecibo Lighthouse is an excellent spot that your kids will never get tired of! And the best part is that it is included with the same admittance price.
All in all, the Arecibo Lighthouse and Historic Park offers a great value with several things to see and do. If its either a full day at the water park, or visiting the aquarium with the kids, you can expect to enjoy a great day of fun in a closed and secure environment.