The California Lighthouse
Located on the most North-west point on the island, the California lighthouse or otherwise known by locals as faro blanco, is a 98- foot operating lighthouse. The construction of the lighthouse was completed in 1916 and was named after the steamship California, which wrecked in 1891 just of the rocky North Coast of Aruba.
During the night of September 23rd of 1891 the S.S. California was sailing from Liverpool England to South America when it crashed in the rocky North-west coast of Aruba. The ship, a wooden steamship, was carrying various supplies like clothing, furniture, and canned food. All these items washed ashore after the shipwreck and the locals who were living near the area started gathering them. Later, a local insurance company took over the shipwreck and sent over smaller boats to gather the remaining cargo to be brought back to the capital, Oranjestad, and be sold to the local community.
Almost exactly 22 years after this shipwreck, a petition was made for a lighthouse to be constructed in this area. At the time, Aruba already had one lighthouse in Oranjestad and another one at Sero Colorado but was missing guiding lights at this rocky side of the island. Soon after approval was given to research possible building site for the lighthouse. Initial work included digging a tunnel to check the stability of the Hudishibana Hill. This tunnel is still visible when going up the hill today. The actual construction happened between 1915 and 1916. During this period the lighthouse was constructed together with two houses under the same roof, a cistern of almost 3 meters deep and an impressive staircase in front of the hill. This staircase provided an easy access to the lighthouse keeper’s house. Even though, construction was completed in 1916, Aruba still had to wait a couple of years before the light could be delivered from France. The delivery was delayed because of the ongoing First World War at that time.
It was in 1919 when the lighthouse first became operation. The first lighthouse keeper was a gentleman called Jacob Jacobs who came from Curaçao. He had learned to operate a lighthouse back on Klein Curaçao which also had a lighthouse there. Throughout the years several local families were in charged to keep the lighthouse running.
In 1970 the California Lighthouse was automated and as such there was no need for a lighthouse keeper anymore. The lighthouse is still operational and was recently removed in 2015 where it was opened to the public.
As one of the top sites to visit while on Aruba, the California Lighthouse is included in the itinerary of both our Full Island and Half island tour. Book here your tour with us and come visit this century old lighthouse and see for yourself why it is a must-see when in Aruba.