We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Where is Columbus really?”

Columbus Lighthouse
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
First City of the New World Tour
More Info
and up
Columbus Lighthouse and Three Eyes National Park Tour
More Info
and up
Historical City Tour of Santo Domingo
Ranked #17 of 193 things to do in Santo Domingo
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This multi-million-dollar lighthouse was built in 1992 to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of Columbus's landing in the Americas and is the site of the explorer's bones.
Puerto Plata, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Where is Columbus really?”
Reviewed 20 July 2014

The Columbus "Lighthouse" is not really a lighthouse but a huge building which defies logic. If you would fly over it, you would see a "Catholic" cross. It's been build during the Trujillo dictatorship and only finished later under the Balaguer "regime" (Balaguer was democratically elected but had a history of power under Trujillo). The building is what was meant to be "modern" and avant-garde in those time... and thus bears a very dated "third world monument" look and feeling. It's suggested to be Columbus' mausoleum... but really there are doubts about Columbus' remains and Cuba claims to "have" him.
The monument ("El Monumento" as they call it locally" is now surrounded by "barrios" which are not recommendable to the not well DR-traveled tourist. The monument itself, can be safe and guarded during day time, but I would advise against roaming out from there.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank Jean David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

496 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Umatilla, Florida
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Interesting but gets boring”
Reviewed 18 June 2014

We stopped here as a group and got the tour. This was constructed in 1992 for the pope's visit for the 500 year anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering the new world. It is considered a lighthouse and apparently has a cross shape when lit up. They have the pope's car on display out front and there is an impressive marble statue in the center that they believe has the ashes of Columbus. There are many rooms with artifacts from several countries on display and the pope's clothes. I didnt' see any food, drink or gift shop inside, but there were several vendors on the walkway with souvenirs for very reasonable prices.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Crystal C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Big Dissappoinment”
Reviewed 18 June 2014 via mobile

The only interesting thing we saw was the Columbus tomb. The rest was borind and was not even authentic artifacts. Employees lazy on the phones. The lights went out and not one got up their seats to do anything. I was upset we paid to see nothing.

Visited June 2014
Thank rrodri58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Roanoke, Virginia
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Pretty Cool”
Reviewed 2 June 2014

Went here during the day. Saw the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Also learned history about other places he "discovered" in the Americas. My favorite part of this place was the room which held pictures of the Virgin Mary with the name she is known by throughout the Americas.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank robynesha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Not Impressed, and not safe!”
Reviewed 19 May 2014

Is it a big structure? Yes. Does it look old? Yes, but really, it isn’t anywhere near as old as it looks. It was built in the 80s-90s. I’m trying to understand this structure, it looks impressive on the outside, but it is nowhere near as impressive on the inside.

Why? There is a nice marble statue in the center of the lighthouse (I'm not sure why its called a lighthouse, it looks more like a mausoleum than a lighthouse), and there is some artwork depicting Christopher Columbus, but other than that it’s a bunch of displays from countries. I think the idea is good, it just isn’t well executed. Down the main stretch of the lighthouse is a corridor with rooms on either side. On one side are displays for countries that are in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, etc). For the most part, the displays here show artwork, clothing, or other cultural items from their respective culture (indigenous or current). The other side has displays from other countries that are, well, other countries. I’m not sure what their role is in the museum. At first I thought that they were all the countries that he had visited, but then I saw the display for Japan (which has an abandoned display that used to show a movie). Perhaps they were countries that helped finance the building? I doubt it, from the little I read on Wikipedia (I know, I know), it appears that only $15,000 of the millions it took to build the place came from other countries. I mentioned before that there are displays from the Americas. Canada has a spot for a display, but nothing is in it. Literally, nothing, it’s just an empty spot. However, there is a display for Russia, or Taiwan (no China, though). It just feels like it was only half thought out.

By the way, be sure to wear a hat when you’re inside. The whole building is opened to the outside, so birds like to fly around. I saw someone that got crapped on while looking around, so beware!

One final note, which I cannot stress enough: The area where the lighthouse is located is NOT safe at all! We were dropped off on the east side of the property (an open field, looks like ruins from an ancient civilization, but due to the age of the building, is it?). We walked at least half a mile before we got close to the east end of the building (and that isn’t even the entrance, it is on the west side). The whole area was abandoned. No locals walking around, nor anyone trying to sell anything to tourists (the only tourists were myself, my wife, and one guy we happened to encounter). We saw two guys on a motorcycle several times, who you could tell were checking us out (nothing happened). When we were done looking in the lighthouse, we exited on the north side and wanted to wait for a guagua (I know, everyone says don’t take them, but we speak Spanish and we knew what we were doing). As we waited, two policemen pulled up on a motorcycle and asked what we were doing. We told them, and they replied that we shouldn’t be here because it is not safe, there are muggers, etc. They proceeded to waive down the next guagua and we got on. I’d say that when the local police tell you not to hang out near a tourist attraction, it’s not a safe place at all. If you want to check out the lighthouse, do so during the day and be sure to have your travel arranged prior to leaving.

Visited May 2014
4 Thank Bill-vul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Columbus Lighthouse also viewed

Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo Province
Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo Province
Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo Province
Santo Domingo, Santo Domingo Province

Been to Columbus Lighthouse? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing