Columbus replica ships, Nina & Pinta, returning to Beaufort

They’re coming back.  On Wednesday morning, April 19th, the replicas of the historic Columbus Ships the Nina & Pinta will arrive at the Downtown Beaufort Marina and will be open to the public for tours on April 20th through the 25th until departure on April 26.

The ships were very well received in April of 2014 when they made their first stop in town.

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, leading to the discovery of a “New World” and marking the beginning of America’s earliest history. This earliest chapter of our nation’s history – and the local story of 16th century settlement Santa Elena – is shared with visitors daily at the Santa Elena History Center.

The ‘Nina’ was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools.  Archaeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.”  In 2005, the ‘Pinta’, also a caravel, was launched in Brazil and is known as the first ship to sight land in the New World. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced ‘sailing museum’ for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the ‘caravel’, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world. Before him, the Old World and the New remained separate and distinct continents and ever since their fates have been bound together for better or for worse. The ships allow visitors to see what it was like aboard the ships that carried Columbus and crew across the ocean.

“What a special activity for us to enjoy here in Beaufort this spring as part of celebrating one year since the Santa Elena History Center’s Grand Opening ,” remarks Megan Meyer, Executive Director of the Santa Elena History Center. “We hope many people will take advantage of this unique “sailing museum” to learn about the Columbus ships, and visit the Santa Elena History Center to learn what occurred during the next 100 years – much of which took place right here in Beaufort County.”

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour.  Admission charges are $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for students 5 – 16.   Children 4 and under are Free.  The ships are open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No reservations are necessary. 

Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30-minute guided tour with a crew member should call 1-787-672-2152 or email  Minimum of 15 at $5.00 per student.

For more information about the replica ships and Columbus Foundation Inc., visit To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, visit

To see photos of when they were in Beaufort two years ago, visit here.