Lighthouses of Nicaragua: Pacific Coast

Nicaragua is a country of Central America located south of Honduras and north of Costa Rica. Spanning the isthmus, Nicaragua has coasts facing southwest on the Pacific Ocean and east on the Caribbean Sea. The most important port is Corinto, on the Pacific in the northwestern corner of the country. This page describes the lighthouses of the Pacific coast; there is a separate page for the Caribbean coast.

Additional information from visitors to any of these lighthouses would be very welcome.

Aids to navigation in Nicaragua are managed by the Aquatic Transport Directorate of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The Spanish word for a lighthouse is faro. In Spanish-speaking America, this word is used generally for all navigational lights, large and small, although smaller lights are also called balizas (beacons).

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. NGA numbers are from NGA Publication 111.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Nicaragua
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - Nicaragua
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses of Other Regions
Historic postcard views posted by Michel Forand.

Cardón Light
Isla El Cardón Light, Corinto, May 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre

Rivas Department Lighthouse
* San Juan del Sur
Date unknown (station established 1900). Active; focal plane 30.5 m (100 ft); white flash every 6 s. 4.5 m (15 ft) round cylindrical white tower. Lantern removed; beacon mounted on a short mast at the top of the tower. Lighthouse painted white. A photo is at right, Tobi Forsdyke has a 2017 photo, Ryan Anderson has a closeup, Frederik Demeyere has a view from the sea, Indio Jones has a 2017 street view, and the tower is seen in Google's satellite view. The original light was described as "pyramidal." Located on a steep promontory about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southwest of San Juan del Sur; accessible by a hiking trail from the town. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NIC-004; Admiralty G3350; NGA 15440.

Managua Department Lighthouse
* Masachapa
Date unknown. Active (?) (unofficial); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) round tower with a small lantern; the light is mounted on top of the lantern. Lighthouse painted gold with a purple spiral stripe; lantern painted white. Carlos Chamorro Schutze has a 2018 closeup photo and a more distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Masachapa is a former fishing port, now a beach resort, about 55 km (35 mi) southwest of Nicaragua's capital Managua. The town had to be rebuilt after being swept by a tsunami in September 1992. Located on the waterfront of Masachapa. Site open, tower closed.

Chinandega Department Lighthouses
Isla El Cardón (Morro Cardón, Corinto)
1876. Active; focal plane 26.5 m (87 ft); white light, 3 s on, 7 s off. 13 m (43 ft) white round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, centered on a 1-story hexagonal base. Lantern removed. Larry Myhre's photo is at the top of this page, Rodrigo Castillo has a good photo, Michael Leydet has a photo, G.L. Donald has a 2017 photo, Eliud Mendoza has the view from the city's waterfront, and Google has a satellite view. Forand has a historic postcard view. The sender of the card has written on it that the light was "installed by the Denver," a U.S. Navy cruiser that brought troops to occupy Corinto in the fall of 1912, during a period of political unrest in the country. This historic tower is the oldest lighthouse in Central America. The port of Corinto was founded in 1863, but the first substantial development was in 1875-76 with the construction of a pier and this lighthouse. Located at the north point of Isla El Cardón, marking the entrance to the harbor of Corinto. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NIC-003; Admiralty G3352; NGA 15400.

San Juan del Sur Light, April 2018
Google Plus photo by Joseph Pineda
* Corinto Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is really the approach range for Corinto. The rear light of the range is probably mounted on one of the tanks at Corinto's oil terminal. Located on the second street from the waterfront in downtown Corinto. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3353; NGA 15404.
Dona Paula Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 9 m (30 ft); continuous green light. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels into the bay of Corinto. Located at the edge of the water on the southeast side of the bay. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3354; NGA 15412.
Dona Paula Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 4 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) skeletal tower attached or adjacent to a square equipment building. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located 810 m (1/2 mi) southeast of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3354.1; NGA 15416.
Isla Encandada Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 9 m (30 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels across the bay of Corinto. Located at the edge of the water on the Isla Encandada, a swampy island opposite the Corinto docks. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3355; NGA 15420.
Isla Encandada Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 m (52 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) skeletal tower painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located in the water 250 m (0.2 mi) east northeast of the front light. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3355.1; NGA 15424.
Islas Farallones
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; quick-flashing white light. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical white masonry or concrete tower. Orlando Jarquín has a view from the sea, Carlos Pullinger has a distant view (click on the photo for higher resolution), and Google has a very distant satellite view. The Farallones are a group of rocky islands rising dangerously in the entrance to the Gulf of Fonseca. Located at the highest point of the group. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3359; NGA 15398.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: South: Pacific Costa Rica | West: El Salvador

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Checked and revised August 25, 2018. Lighthouses: 9. Site copyright 2018 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.