Lighthouses of Brazil: Atlantic Islands

Brazil administers four groups of small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, including several of the most remote and least well known islands of the world. This pages lists the lighthouses built on those islands. Only one, Fernando de Naronha, is inhabited and accessible to tourists.

The Portuguese word for a lighthouse is farol, plural faróis. The word farolete is used for smaller lightbeacons.

Active lighthouses in Brazil are owned by the navy (Marinha do Brasil) and maintained by the Centro de Sinalização Náutica e Reparos Almirante Moraes Rego (CAMR) in the Diretoria de Hidrografia e Navegacão (DHN).

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. BR numbers are from the official Brazilian Lista de Faroís. Admiralty numbers are from volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Brazil
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Brazil
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Brazil
Photos by various photographers available from
Lista de Faróis 2018-19
Online version of the official Brazilian light list.
Fernando de Noronha Light
Fernando de Noronha Light, October 2012
Panoramio photo copyright Thiago Haussig; used by permission
Atol das Rocas Lighthouse
Note: The South Atlantic's only atoll, the Atol das Rocas is a group of low, barren islands about 145 km (90 mi) west of Fernando de Noronha and about 240 km (150 mi) northeast of Cabo de São Roque on the mainland. Invisible to sailors from more than two or three miles away, the islands have been a notorious hazard to navigation ever since Manoel Luiz wrecked his ship on the reef in 1501. The atoll is a biological reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, closed to visitors without special permission. The atoll is attached administratively to the state of Rio Grande do Norte.
Atol das Rocas (5)
1967 (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 59 ft; two quick white flashes every 6 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower, painted white. Ruins of the third lighthouse, a 1935 concrete skeletal tower and masonry keeper's house, also survive. In John Vergari's photo at right, the 1935 lighthouse ruin is in the foreground, in front of the ruined keeper's house, with the present light tower at the right. A distant view of the lighthouses across the atoll is available, Lucas Rocha has a 2012 closeup photo of the ruins, and Márcio Silveira's December 2007 photo shows a closeup of the ruins of the 1935 station, but Google's satellite view does not reveal much of the ruins. The upper portion of the 1935 tower collapsed sometime between the 2005 and 2007 photos. Often stranded on the desolate atoll for many months, keepers heroically tended the original light (mounted on a wooden post and later on an iron mast) until they were withdrawn in 1914. Located on the Ilha do Farol, the larger of the two islands within the reef. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS FDN-003; BR-1104; Admiralty G0146; NGA 17800.
Atol das Rocas
Atol das Rocas Lights, January 2005
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by John Vergari

Fernando de Noronha Lighthouses
Note: Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago about 350 km (220 mi) east northeast of Cabo de São Roque on the mainland. There are 21 islands, but only the largest island, also called Fernando de Noronha, is inhabited. Governed as a special district of Pernambuco state, the island has a permanent population of about 3000. The island attracts scuba divers and ecotourists; it is a cruise ship destination and is accessible by air from Recife and Natal on the mainland.
Fernando de Noronha (Alto de Bandeira)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 203 m (666 ft); flash every 10 s, two white flashes followed by one red flash. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with gallery, painted white. Thiago Haussig's photo is at the top of this page, Lucas Godoy has a 2014 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. There is a dirt track leading to the lighthouse, so it might be possible to arrange 4WD transportation to the station. However, the scarcity of Internet photos suggests that the lighthouse is rarely visited. Located on a peak near the western tip of the island of Fernando de Noronha. Site open if you can get to it, tower closed. ARLHS FDN-001; BR-1116; Admiralty G0144; NGA 17792.
Ilha Rata
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); one long (1.5 s) white flash every 15 s. 21 m (69 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower, painted white. Trabas has a photo by Thomas Philipp, Ana Clara Marinho has a closeup photo (next to last photo on the page), Márcio Cabral de Moura's view from the sea is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Ilha Rata is the second-largest island of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, located just northeast of the island of Fernando de Noronha itself. It has no reliable source of water and has been unhabited since the lighthouse was automated. Site and tower closed (landing on the island requires a special permit). ARLHS FDN-002; BR-1108; Admiralty G0132; NGA 17788.

Ilha Rata Light, Fernando de Noronha, November 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Márcio Cabral de Moura

St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks Lighthouse
Note: The St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks are a small cluster of rocky islets located in mid-Atlantic about 100 km (60 mi) north of the Equator and roughly 965 km (600 mi) northeast of Cabo de São Roque. They were discovered the hard way in 1511 when the Portuguese caravel São Pedro crashed into the rocks at night; fortunately the crew was rescued by their colleagues on the caravel São Paulo. Actually an isolated summit of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the islands are famous among geologists as one of the only places where rock from the Earth's mantle is exposed at the surface. Since 1995 the Brazilian Navy has maintained a scientific station on the rocks, staffed by four researchers in a 15-day rotation. The islands are attached administratively to the state of Pernambuco and the district of Fernando de Noronha.
Penedos São Pedro e São Paulo (St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks) (2)
1995 (station established 1930). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 10 s. 6 m (20 ft) round fiberglass tower, painted red with one white horizontal band. The light is solar-powered and automated. A tiny 4-man scientific station is occupied continuously by navy personnel or scientific researchers, who serve 15-day shifts. John Vergari's photo is at right, Akihisa Motoki also has a photo of the islands, amateur radio operators have photos from a rare visit in 2012, and Google has a satellite view. The 1930 lighthouse was knocked out of service by earthquakes; its ruins remain. Site and tower closed (special permission from the Navy is required to visit the islands). ARLHS SPP-001; BR-1106; Admiralty G0130; NGA 17786.
St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks
Penedos São Pedro e São Paulo Light, June 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by John Vergari

Ilha da Trindade Lighthouse
Note: The volcanic island of Trindade and the nearby, much smaller island of Martim Vaz are located far out into the South Atlantic about 1200 km (750 mi) east of Vítoria in southern Brazil. During the colonial period a renegade American claimed the islands in 1893, and then they were occupied by Britain from 1895 to 1897. To assert Brazilian sovereignty the Navy maintains a permanent base, the Posto Oceanográfico da Ilha da Trindade, staffed by rotating crews of about 30 or 35. The islands are attached administratively to the state of Espírito Santo.
Enseada dos Portugueses Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); quick-flashing red light. 12 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Trabas has a distant view from the sea taken by Capt. Peter Mosselberger and Google has a distant satellite view of the tower and the Brazilian outpost on the island. The much smaller rear light can be seen at upper left in Capt. Peter's photo. Located west of the naval station, on the north coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TMV-004; BR-2083; Admiralty G0315; NGA 18234.
Ponta da Calheta Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 5 m (17 ft); quick-flashing white light. 5 m (17 ft) square pyramidal white concrete tower. A photo is at right and the range lights are visible in Google's satellite view. Located near the water's edge on the east side of the naval station. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TMV-002; BR-2085; Admiralty G0315.3; NGA 18237.
Ponta da Calheta Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 5 m (17 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 5 m (17 ft) square pyramidal white concrete tower. A photo is at right and the range lights are visible in Google's satellite view. Located 55 m (60 yd) southeast of the front light. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS TMV-003; BR-2086; Admiralty G0315.4; NGA 18238.
Ponta de Calheta Lights
Ponta da Calheta Range Lights, Ilha da Trindade
Brazilian Navy First District photo (no longer online)

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining page: West: Northeastern Brazil

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Posted February 11, 2008. Checked and revised April 19, 2019. Lighthouses: 7. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.