Lighthouses of Curaçao
Curaçao is an island off the coast of Venezuela
in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is the central and largest of the so-called
ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). The island is about
65 km (40 mi) long but only 5-13 km (3-8 mi) in width; it has a permanent
population of about 140,000. Curaçao changed hands several times
during the early colonial period but was confirmed as a Dutch colony in
1815. From 1954 to 2010 it hosted the capital of the Netherlands Antilles,
a federation of the Dutch territories in the West Indies. The Netherlands
Antilles was dissolved in October 2010 and Curaçao
is now a separate country under the Dutch crown (Land Curaçao in Dutch). The island's population is about 160,000.
Dutch and English are official languages in Curaçao although a Portuguese-based creole language called Papiamento is also spoken. In Dutch vuurtoren is a lighthouse, lichtopstand is a smaller light beacon, baken is an unlit beacon, eiland is an island, baai is a bay, kaap is a cape or headland, and haven is a harbor.
Aids to navigation in Curaçao are presumably maintained by the Curaçao Ports Authority. In 2008 Tideland Signal Corporation installed new MaxLED-200 optics
in Curaçao's navigational aids. According to Tideland all the
lights had been out of service for several years prior to these renovations.
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
List of Lights - Islands under the Wind
- Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Many of the Curaçao photos are by Rainer Arndt or Capt. Theo Hinrichs ("Capt. Theo").
- World of Lighthouses - Curaçao
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
- Lighthouses in Curaçao
- Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
- Navigational chart information for Curaçao.
- Navionics Charts
- Navigational chart for Curaçao.
Klein Curaçao Light, March 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by
- Klein Curaçao Lighthouse
- Klein Curaçao (Little Curaçao)
- 1850 (rebuilt in 1879 and again in 1913). Active (?) (reported reactivated in 2008, but still appears abandoned); focal plane
25 m (82 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 20 m (66 ft) round masonry
tower with lantern and gallery, connected to two ruined 2-story keepers
houses. The lighthouse is white with a red lantern; the keeper's
houses are red. Mingo Hagen's 2008 photo is above, Harry Hersbach has a 2019 photo, Trabas has Captain Theo's photo,
Wikimedia has several photos, Confluence.org has a view from the sea of
the island and lighthouse, Leandro Santos has a street view, and Google has a satellite view. Previously abandoned and still endangered,
this historic lighthouse was nonetheless reactivated with a solar-powered
LED beacon in the restoration of Curaçao's aids to navigation. Recent photos show the keeper's houses to be crumbling rapidly. The
barren and uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao (Little Curaçao) is
located 11 km (7 mi) off the southeastern tip of Curaçao.
Located at the center of the island. Accessible
only by boat but tours from Curaçao are available. Site open; the tower was open prior to reactivation but
may be closed now. . ARLHS NEA-006; Admiralty J6399; NGA 16054.
- Punt Kanon (Oostpunt)
- Date unknown. Inactive since 2020. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery painted with red and white horizontal bands.
A 2020 photo is available, Steven Quicky has a 2020 closeup, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the southeastern tip of Curaçao.
Site and tower closed (private property,
trespassers prosecuted). ARLHS NEA-009; Admiralty J6396; NGA 16053.
- * Willemstad (Riffort)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (83 ft); white light, 3 s on, 2 s off. 17 m (56 ft) steel mast, mounted on a building on the east side of the entrance to the inner harbor of Willemstad. Lightphotos.net has a photo, Marcus Häuptle has a street view, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Despite its traditional name in the light lists this light is not on the
an 1828 fort on the west side of the harbor entrance.
It is mounted instead on the Waterfort, a 400 m (1/4 mi) structure on the east side of the entrance. The Waterfort has been renovated as a shopping center. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NEA-010; Admiralty J6378; NGA 16012.
- Kaap Sint Marie (Bullenbaai) (1)
- Date unknown. Inactive. This was a 6.5 m (21 ft) (?) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery,
painted red. The tower appeared taller than its listed height. Trabas has Arndt's view from the sea and Google has a satellite view. Ad. Hovestadt
visited this site in December 2006 and found the light vandalized; the
solar panels had been stolen. Bullenbaai is the location of the island's oil tank farm. Located on the west side of the island
about 8 miles northwest of Willemstad. Site and tower closed (private
property). ARLHS NEA-004; ex-Admiralty J6374; NGA 15968.
- * Noordpunt (2)
- Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 42 m (138
ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical concrete
tower with a frame gallery but no lantern, centered in an unroofed concrete
enclosure. Tower and enclosure painted white. Benoit Gevry's photo is at right, Antonio Benicio has a 2019 photo, Trabas has Thomas Philipp's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the northwestern
tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NEA-008; Admiralty J6372;
Noordpunt Light, October 2018
ex-Google Plus photo by Benoit Gevry
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: East: Bonaire | South: Eastern Venezuela | West: Aruba
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Posted April 21, 2006. Checked and revised January 23, 2023.
Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2023 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.