La Rábida is the site of the Monasterio de la Rábida, where Columbus retreated after his grand plans to discover the sea route to the East Indies had been rejected by Portugal’s King João II. Here Columbus met Abbot Juan Pérez, who took up his cause and drummed up support for his far-fetched plans to discover new lands and in the process make Spain very rich. Within the 15th-century Franciscan monastery is a chapel where Columbus once prayed, as well as a lovely Mudéjar cloister.
Life-size replicas of Columbus' faithful three-vessel fleet float side by side at the Muelle de las Carabelas, a pseudo 15th-century quayside. The Niña, Pinta and Santa María can all be boarded, giving you some idea of the huge achievement of the voyage.