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
- 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.
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:
- Faro de la Paz (1990), Managua. This lighthouse was built to mark the end of the Sandinista revolution of the 1970s and 1980s; 15,000 rifles are buried under the base of the tower. Silvio Balladares has another photo, and Bing has a satellite view. By 2013 the lighthouse was suffering from poor maintenance and vandalism, and there were proposals to repair it and clean up the surrounding area. Located on a hillside above Lago de Managua in downtown Managua, the national capital.
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.