Lighthouses of Aruba

Aruba is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea located only 27 km (17 mi) from the coast of Venezuela. The island is 32 km (20 mi) long and has a population of about 110,000. Aruba has been a Dutch colony since 1636. In 1945 it was joined with the other Dutch islands of the West Indies to form the Netherlands Antilles. It left that federation in 1986 and has been a separate self-governing country of the Netherlands since then. It is a popular tourist destination and one of its best known historical attractions is the "California" lighthouse seen at right.

The lighthouses are presumably maintained by the Aruba Ports Authority, a corporation owned by the government. The Dutch word for a lighthouse is vuurtoren.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Aruba
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Aruba
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Aruba
Photos by various photographers available from
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Navigation chart information for Aruba.

 Noordwestpunt (California) Light, Arashi, October 2015
photo copyright Deta Rogillio; used by permission
* [Seroe (Ceru) Colorado (3)]
Date unknown (station established 1881). Active; focal plane 51 m (167 ft); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) post with a square wire cage enclosure surrounding the beacon. Wikimedia has Serge Melki's photo, Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, another photo is available, Caroline Genois has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. The wire enclosure is designed to prevent vandalism of the light. The original light was on a wood tower, and Huelse has a postcard view of the second lighthouse, a square masonry tower. Ruins of the second tower are visible near the present light. Located near the southeastern tip of the island. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ARU-002; Admiralty J6368; NGA 15960.
** Oranjestad (Fort Zoutman, Willem III Tower)
Tower built 1796; station established 1876. Inactive. 5-story square stone tower; upper third painted white, middle third red, and lower third blue. A navigational light was formerly displayed from the top of this historic tower; Huelse has a postcard view of the tower with its lantern. Ian Sewell's photo is at right, Roger Wollstadt has a 2008 photo, another 2008 photo is available, has a closeup photo, Kenneth Tromp has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Restored in 1983, the tower now houses the Historical Museum of Aruba. Located at Zoutman and Oranje Streets in downtown Oranjestad, one block from the waterfront. Site and tower open daily. Site manager: Fundacion Museo Arubano. ARLHS ARU-004.
**** Noordwestpunt (California, Hudishibana)
1916. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft). 30 m (98 ft) stone tower with lantern and double gallery, on an octagonal stone base. Lighthouse unpainted, lantern painted black. The 1-story keeper's house has been greatly expanded into a popular Italian restaurant called Faro Blanco. Deta Rogillio's photo is at the top of this page, a November 2009 photo is available, Trabas has a photo by Douglas Cameron, Wikimedia has several photos, Eugene Bata has a 2014 street view, has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is nicknamed for the British steamship California, which wrecked here in 1891. Around 2000 visitors reported the lighthouse to be in poor condition but by 2004 it had been repainted and repaired. The nearby disappearance in 2005 of the young U.S. visitor Natalie Holloway made the lighthouse familiar to Americans; Mark Richards has a photo of one of the search parties near the lighthouse. Holloway was never found. Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to Monuments Fund Aruba in January 2015 and the foundation began a project to restore the lighthouse thoroughly in September 2015. Wikimedia has a photo of the restoration under way. The lighthouse was opened to the public on 26 August 2016. Located about 1 km (0.6 mi) southeast of the northern point of the island. Accessible by paved road. Site open, tower open to tours daily (entry fee). Owner/site manager: Monuments Fund Aruba. ARLHS ARU-001; Admiralty J6330; NGA 15850.
Willem III Tower
Willem III Tower, Oranjestad, 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Ian Sewell

Adjoining pages: East: Curaçao | South: Western Venezuela

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Posted April 2001. Checked and revised February 15, 2019. Lighthouses: 2. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.