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
- Lighthouses in Brazil
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- World of Lighthouses - Brazil
- Photos by various photographers available from Lighthouses.net.
- Lista de Faróis 2018-19
- Online version of the official Brazilian light list.
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.
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 Lights, January 2005
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by
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.
Penedos São Pedro e São Paulo Light, June 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by
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
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 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.