Lighthouses of Costa Rica: Caribbean Coast

Costa Rica is a country of Central America, located between Nicaragua and Panama. The country has a lengthy coastline on the Pacific Ocean and a much shorter one on the Caribbean Sea. The principal ports are Puntarenas and Caldera on the Pacific and Limón on the Caribbean. This page is for lighthouses of the Caribbean coast; there is a separate page for the Pacific coast. Very little is known about lighthouses in Costa Rica, so additional information from visitors would be very welcome.

Aids to navigation in Costa Rica are regulated by the División Marítimo Portuaria, an agency of MOPT (Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Tranportes), the public works and transportation ministry. East coast lights are presumably maintained by JAPDEVA (Junta de Administración Portuaria y de Desarrallo Económico de la Vertiente Atlántica), the port and development authority for the Caribbean coast.

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 J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals for Caribbean lights and from volume G for Pacific lights. Light List numbers are from NGA Publication 110 for Caribbean lights and from Publication 111 for Pacific lights.

General Sources
World of Lighthouses - Costa Rica
Photos by various photographers available from
Online List of Lights - Costa Rica
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Isla Pájaros Light, Limón, May 2003
ex-Panoramio photo copyright Luis C. Alvarado salvaged by
used by permission

Limón Canton Lighthouses
Isla Pájaros (Bahía Móin)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 2.5 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Luís Alvarado's distant view is at the top of this page but the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the island or in Bing's satellite view. Located on an island about 500 m (0.3 mi) offshore and 5 km (3 mi) northwest of Limón. Accessible only by boat. Admiralty J6067; NGA 16516.
#Limón (Isla Uvita, Isla Quiribrí) (2)
1891 (station established 1878). Destroyed. This was a 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. The lighthouse is not seen in Google's satellite view or in aerial views of the island in a recent YouTube video. The YouTube evidence is conclusive: the lighthouse no longer exists. This was the traditional landfall light for Puerto Limón, Costa Rica's only major port on the Caribbean Sea. The Museo Nacional de Costa Rica has a history of the island and its lighthouse. The lighthouse was privately funded and prefabricated in London. The Northern Railway Company assumed control of the light in 1930 and maintained it until JAPDEVA took ownership in 1964. Huelse has a historic (but very distant) postcard view. The island was used to quarantine smallpox patients between 1881 and the 1920s. Located on an island about 3 km (2 mi) east of Puerto Limón. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS COS-006; Admiralty J6068; NGA 16504.
[Puerto Limón (Container Pier)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) steel (?) post with a small gallery. Trabas has a photo by Rainer Arndt and Google has a satellite view. Located at the south end of the breakwater pier at Puerto Limón. Site status unknown. Admiralty J6069; NGA 16508.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Caribbean Nicaragua | Southeast: Northern Panama

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Posted (Central America page) January 24, 2005. Checked and revised October 14, 2019. Lighthouses: 2. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.