Lighthouses of Nicaragua: Caribbean 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. This page describes the lighthouses of the Caribbean coast; there is a separate page for the Pacific coast.

The east coast of Nicaragua is low and sparsely populated. Known historically as the Mosquito or Miskito Coast, it was a British colony for much of the 18th century and in the Bluefields area English is spoken along with Spanish and indigenous languages.

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 J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. NGA numbers are from NGA Publication 110.

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

Little Corn Island Light, June 2014
photo copyright Kim Huguelet; permission requested

North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region Lighthouse
* Puerto Cabezas (Bragman Bluff)
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 70 m (230 m); white flash every 2.5 s. Approx. 19 m (62 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. Robert Müller's photo is at right and the tower casts a shadow in Google's fuzzy satellite view. The capital of the North Caribbean Region, Puerto Cabezas is a town of about 65,000 residents. It has a long pier but no protected harbor. Located beside a restaurant atop the bluff in Puerto Cabezas. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J6048; NGA 16484.

South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region Lighthouses
* El Bluff (Bluefields Bluff)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); white flash every 3.8 s. 8 m (26 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white (not red, as listed by NGA). No photo available but a photo of the view from the lighthouse is available and Google has a satellite view. A former pirate hangout, the fishing port of Bluefields is the only port of any size on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. It was the capital of the British protectorate of the Moskito Coast from 1740 to 1796 and is now the capital of the South Caribbean Region. It has a population of about 90,000. El Bluff is the name of a village at the end of a spit protecting the harbor and also the name of a prominent hill -- a rare eminence on this largely flat coast -- at the end of the spit. Located atop the bluff. Site open, and a visitor describes the tower as pequeño y fácil de escalar (small and easy to climb). Admiralty J6064; NGA 16500.

Bragman Bluff Light, Puerto Cabezas, April 2017
ex-Google Plus photo by Robert Müller
** Little Corn Island (Isla Pequeña del Maíz) (2)
Date unknown. Reactivated (inactive before 2011); focal plane unknown; flashing white light. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. A 2014 photo is at the top of this page, Bryan Dillingham has a street view from atop the tower showing the neighboring communications tower, and Google has a satellite view. We need information on the history of this lighthouse. An older tower lies on the ground next to the present tower. Long out of service, this light reappeared on the Admiralty list in 2011. The Islas del Maíz (Corn Islands) are in the Caribbean about 70 km (45 mi) east of the Nicaraguan coast. They were under a British protectorate until 1894, when Nicaragua assumed control. In 1914 the islands were leased to the United States but the U.S. never assumed direct administration. The lease was terminated in 1971. Little Corn Island is accessible by passenger ferry from Big Corn Island, which is accessible by air from Managua. Located at the highest point of the island. Site open and easy to reach from the nearby Lighthouse Hotel resort, and visitors frequently climb the tower to take panoramic photos. ARLHS NIC-002; Admiralty J6065; NGA 16502.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Honduras | South: Caribbean Costa Rica

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Checked and revised October 13, 2019. Lighthouses: 3. Site copyright 2019 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.