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Landfall Park

Historic Site
San Salvador Administrator's Office

Landfall Park, a ten-acre site rich in archaeological artifacts, is so named because it is believed to be the first landfall of Christopher Columbus in the New World. On October 12, 1492, after 33 days at sea, Columbus is said to have landed at beautiful Fernandez Bay on San Salvador's west coast. It is also known as Long Bay, as a reference to the longboats the sailors used to come ashore there.

Several monuments on the site commemorate the historic event of Columbus' arrival. A monument placed on the floor of the ocean marks the exact spot where his ship dropped anchor. A simple white cross on the beach represents where he came ashore. The location is based on the scholarship of Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison, whose expedition in 1940 charted the course of Columbus from the Old 'World to the New, aided by notations in his ship's log. The cross was placed there by Columbian historian Ruth D. Wolper and the people of San Salvador in 1956; it is the most photographed spot on the island.

To the left of the white cross is the Mexican monument which housed the Olympic flame in 1968 on its journey from Greece to Mexico City. The flame, brought from Greece by ship, was placed in the monument before it was taken to open the games. On the right is the Heritage Monument, with a plaque given to the people of San Salvador by the government of Spain. The Japanese monument was erected by Japan in 1991 in recognition of Columbus' belief that he was on his way to Japan. Another monument commemorates the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the "discovery of the New World" at the 1892 World's Fair, held in Chicago. In 1891, the Chicago Herald, an American newspaper, erected a sphere (hewn from native limestone) in honor of Columbus' landfall.

The beach at this monument is especially beautiful for swimming and scuba diving. Straight off this point is a reef with a 40-foot drop off.

Accessibility Notes

Persons who are physically challenged or in wheelchairs might have difficulty getting around, due to the sandy terrain.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are not recommended.

Time Period Represented

Late 15th Century to late 20th Century


Sunrise to Sunset

Seasons Open

Year Round



Nearby Places