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Watling's Castle/Sandy Pointe Estate

Historic Site or District
Administrator's Office, San Salvador

Very little is known about John Watling, the buccaneer who frequented this area and for whom this island was originally named. Information about Watling comes from journals written by Basil Ringrose, William Dampier, or Lionel Wafer. In 1925, Watling Island was officially renamed San Salvador Island, since it is considered by scholars and UNESCO to be the island of Guanahani where Christopher Columbus made first landfall in 1492.

Today in The Bahamas, John Watling’s name appears on Watling’s Castle, which is an abandoned 18th-century plantation at Sandy Point, in southwest San Salvador Island and on John Watling's Rum, the “Spirit of The Bahamas,” which is distilled in Nassau on New Providence Island. Every bottle of his namesake rum is considered liquid gold.

The substantial ruins here include a three-story great house, kitchen, slave quarters, barns, and boundary walls. The walls were constructed from rocks because the plantation was used mostly to raise cattle. The lookout tower, which overlooks French Bay, has been restored and you can see both sides of the point. The site is important to the island's history and was part of an archaeological study undertaken by the Gerace Research Center, formerly the Bahamian Field Station, located in Cockburn Town.

Accessibility Notes

The terrain is hilly and rocky; it is not suitable for persons in wheelchairs or those who have difficulty walking.

Pet Friendly Notes

The grounds might not be suitable for small animals; large dogs on a leash might do better.

Time Period Represented

Late 1700s to early 1800s


Seasons Open

Year Round



Nearby Places