Lighthouses of Mexico: Northern Baja California

The Baja California region of Mexico is a peninsula more than 1300 km (800 miles) long, stretching south from the U.S. border at Tijuana to the resorts of Cabo San Lucas. "Baja," as it is usually called, separates the Pacific on the west from the Sea of Cortés (Gulf of California) on the east. The west coast is popular with surfers and the east coast attracts sea kayakers and ecotourists.

This page includes the lighthouses of the state of Baja California, which occupies the northern half of the peninsula. The state of Baja California Sur occupies the southern half, the border between the two states being at latitude 28° north. The largest cities, Tijuana and Mexicali, are in the far north close to the U.S. border. Many visitors arrive in Baja California by air or cruise ship, but there are also paved highways running the length of the peninsula.

Many of the lighthouses of Baja California are in remote areas and are seldom visited. Additional information and photos would certainly be welcome. Because of the rugged topography of the peninsula, most of the lighthouses are short towers located at the tops of bluffs or ridges overlooking the sea.

Mexican lighthouses are managed by the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, the cabinet agency that also manages the country's airports and seaports. Many of the larger light stations are staffed by resident civilian keepers.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. CF numbers are from the Mexican Cuaderno de Faros (Handbook of Lighthouses). Admiralty numbers are from volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. All U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 111.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Mexico Pacific
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Farosmex - Lighthouses of Mexico
A large portfolio of photos of Mexican lighthouses posted on Photobucket.com.
Lighthouses in Mexico
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Viaje por las Islas del Pacífico de Baja California
Posted by Elizabeth Vargas, a blog of a March 2009 tour of some of the islands, with stops at several remote lighthouses.
World of Lighthouses - Mexico
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Cuaderno de Faros
The Mexican light list can be downloaded in two volumes, Atlantic and Pacific.

Faro de San Felipe
San Felipe Light, San Felipe, April 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Roger Smith

East Coast (Sea of Cortés) Lighthouses

Mexicali Municipality Lighthouse
Isla Montague
Date unknown. Probably inactive. 14 m (46 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square concrete pier. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Still listed by NGA, the light has been dropped by the Admiralty. Isla Montague is a 32 km (20 mi) long island in the mouth of the Colorado River, at the head of the Sea of Cortés. Due to withdrawal of water upsteam, the Colorado has little (sometimes no) flow at its mouth, so navigation into the river is often impossible. Located just off the southwest side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower status unknown. ex-Admiralty G3540.6; NGA 14764.
* San Felipe
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 6 s. 22 m (72 ft) cylindrical white concrete tower with four buttresses, adjoining a 1-story keeper's house. Lantern roof painted red. Roger Smith's photo appears at the top of this page, Farosmex has a photo, Winfield Sterling has a closeup photo, Esteban Gomez has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This is the one of the most accessible major lighthouses of Baja California. Located on a headland in the town of San Felipe, at the end of federal highway 5. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-072; CF-02-265; Admiralty G3542; NGA 14756.
* San Felipe Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. Google has a street view, and the shadow of the tower is seen in Google's satellite view. The rear light is on a similar tower only 10 m (33 ft) tall. Located on the waterfront of the fishing harbor of San Felipe, at the south edge of town. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-280; Admiralty G3542.2; NGA 14757.
* Punta Estrella
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower mounted on a square concrete pad. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located about 2 km (1.25 mi) northwest of Punta Estrella and 20 km (13 mi) southeast of San Felipe. Accessible from San Felipe by 4WD. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-260; Admiralty G3543; NGA 14748.5.

Southeastern Ensenada Municipality Lighthouses
* Bahía Santa Maria
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower mounted on a square concrete pad. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located about 40 km (25 mi) south of San Felipe. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-255; Admiralty G3543.5; NGA 14748.
Isla Miramar
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); two white fkashes every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Mike Higgins has a photo, and the tower is seen in Google's satellite view. Located at the southeastern tip of the island, off a barren section of the coast about 180 km (115 mi) south of San Felipe. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower open. CF-02-245; Admiralty G3544.5; NGA 14743.
* Punta San Fermin
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 13.4 m (44 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a headland south of Punta San Fermin. Accessible by 4WD. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-250; Admiralty G3544; NGA 14744.
Punta Willard
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Despite its name, the lighthouse is not at Punta Willard but on the shore of an embayment north of that point. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-235; Admiralty G3545; NGA 14740.
Isla Ángel de la Guarda Punta Norte
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white flash every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Isla Ángel de la Guarda is a large island separated from the mainland by the Canal (channel) de Ballenas. The island is uninhabited and is protected as a national park. The lighthouse is located at the east end of Isla Granito, a small island just off the northern tip of Isla Ángel de la Guarda. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-225; Admiralty G3546; NGA 14736.
Isla Ángel de la Guarda Punta Sur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located near the southern tip of Isla Ángel de la Guarda, marking the southern entrance to the Canal de Ballenas. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-220; Admiralty G3547; NGA 14728.
* Punta Arenas (Bahía de los Ángeles)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Bill Gracey's photo is at right, a second photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of a sand spit partially sheltering the waterfront of Bahía de los Ángeles, a small resort town at the end of federal highway 12. Site open, tower apparently open. CF-02-215; Admiralty G3547.6; NGA 14726.
Bahía de San Francisquito
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. A photo is available, Fabián Iriarte has an aerial photo, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks a small, sheltered harbor at San Francisquito. Located on the west side of the harbor entrance. Site open; a visitor found the tower open. CF-02-195; Admiralty G3550; NGA 14718.
Punta Arenas Light
Sunset at Punta Arenas Light, Bahía de los Ángeles, July 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Bill Gracey

Pacific Coast Lighthouses

Note: The municipality of Ensenada, by far the largest Mexican municipality, includes all of the Pacific coast of Baja California state south of the Tijuana area.
Isla Cedros Borough Lighthouses
Note: Isla Cedros is a large island in the Pacific Ocean about 100 km (62 mi) off the coast of Baja California. About 38 km (24 mi) long and 17 km (11 mi) wide, the mountainous island has a population of about 1300.
Punta del Morro Redondo (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft) (?); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A photo and a more distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. This light replaced an 8.5 m (28 ft) tower, which is also seen in the closeup photo. This has probably increased the focal plane height to about 28 m (92 ft). Located at the southern tip of Isla Cedros, on a hill above the island's airport. Site and tower probably closed, but the lighthouse is easy to see from the airport. CF-02-180; Admiralty G3609; NGA 14452.
Isla Cedros (Punta Norte)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 6.5 m (21 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower with gallery. Entire lighthouse is white. A view from the sea is available, Vargas has a small photo and a report on a March 2009 visit, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the northern point of Isla Cedros. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-165; Admiralty G3611.8; NGA 14448.
Los Benitos
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round concrete tower with lantern centered on a square 1-story concrete equipment building. The lighthouse is white concrete, lantern painted red. Farosmex has a closeup photo, Elizabeth Vargas has a small photo and a report on a March 2009 visit, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The Islas San Benito, home to numerous birds and elephant seals, are a popular destination for ecotours. Located above the small settlement at the east end of the westernmost and largest island, northwest of Isla Cedros and about 80 km (50 mi) west of the peninsula. Accessible only by boat. Site open. CF-02-190; Admiralty G3612; NGA 14416.
Islas San Benito
Date unknown (station established 1934). Active; focal plane 130 m (426 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 17 m (56 ft) white concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house; the lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo is at right, Philip Colla has a photo, José Sanchez has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Ecotours to the island often visit the lighthouse. Located at the western end of the largest island, about 2 km (1.25 mi) west of the settlement. Accessible only by boat. Site open. ARLHS MEX-071; CF-02-185; Admiralty G3613; NGA 14412.
Faro Islas San Benito
Islas San Benito Light, December 2007
Panoramio photo copyright cedropolis; permission requested

Isla de Guadalupe Lighthouses
Note: The Isla de Guadalupe is a volcanic island located far out in the Pacific, 240 km (150 mi) west of Baja California. The island is about 35 km (22 mi) long and 9 km (5.5 mi) wide. There is no permanent population, but several small fishing camps are occupied most of the year. The island also has an airstrip. Administratively, the island is attached to the city of Ensenada.
Isla de Guadalupe Norte
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Phillip Colla has a closeup photo, Vernon de Pietro has a more distant view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is located at the anchorage on the northeastern coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty CF-02-130; G3613.6; NGA 14401.
Isla de Guadalupe Sud
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the southern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-135; Admiralty G3613.7; NGA 14402.
Isla de Guadalupe Oeste
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is Mexico's westernmost lighthouse. Located on a prominent cape on the southwestern side of the island. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-140; Admiralty G3613.5; NGA 14400.

Calmallí and Punta Prieta Borough Lighthouses
* Guerrero Negro (Puerto Venustiano Carranza, Laguna Ojo de Liebre)
Date unknown (around 1960?). Inactive since the 1970s. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery and four ribs. Entire lighthouse painted white. Lantern removed, as seen in Jeanne Strayer's photo at right and Robert Todd's 2007 photo. An older (2004?) photo (1/4 the way down the page) shows the tower with the lantern intact. Martin Warner has a wider view, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse guided ships arriving to load salt at the Laguna Ojo de Liebre, also called Scammon's Lagoon. It seems to have had only a short active life, being replaced by a series of range lights on wooden posts marking the twisting entrance. Located at the wharf of the salt works, about 13 km (8 mi) northwest of Guerrero Negro and about 5 km (3 mi) north of the border of Baja California Sur. Site open, tower closed.
Morro Santo Domingo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery. Farosmex has a photo, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a remote headland at the northern entrance to the Bahía de Sebastián Vizcaíno, which lies between the mainland and Isla Cedros. Probably accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-160; CF-02-160; Admiralty G3615; NGA 14409.
Punta Negra
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery. Farosmex has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a remote headland near El Marrón. Probably accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-164; CF-02-155; Admiralty G3615.3; NGA 14408.

El Rosario Borough Lighthouses
Isla San Jerónimo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 6 m (20 ft) hexagonal tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a small 1-story masonry equipment room. Lighthouse painted white, lantern roof painted red. Solar-powered lens. Farosmex has a closeup photo, Jeffery Ernst has a photo, the lighthouse appears in a YouTube video by Tomas Zyber, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse is typical of many small light towers on the Mexican coast. Located at the summit of the island about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of San Antonio. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-108; CF-02-125; Admiralty G3616; NGA 14396.
Faro de Guerrero Negro
Guerrero Negro Light, Guerrero Negro, February 2007
Panoramio photo copyright Jeanne Strayer; used by permission
* Punta Baja
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. A photo and a closeup are available, Vargas has a small photo and a report on a March 2009 visit, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. This tower was either replaced or raised in height; it was formerly listed with a height of 8 m (26 ft). Punta Baja is a sharp promontory pointing southward about 16 km (10 mi) south of El Rosario. Accessible by 4WD vehicles. Located on the tip of the cape. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-120; Admiralty G3616.4; NGA 14394.
Isla San Martín
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 10.5 m (34 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Isla San Martín is a small volcanic island about 6.5 km (4 mi) off the coast near San Martín. Located atop a cliff on the southwest side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. CF-02-105; Admiralty G3618; NGA 14388.
* Punta San José
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 10 m (33 ft) cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery; no lantern. Farosmex has a closeup photo, Scott Eggers has another fine closeup, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. A site popular with surfers, Punta San José is about 40 km (25 mi) southwest of Santo Tomas by a dirt road. The lighthouse stands on a bluff overlooking the beach. Site open. ARLHS MEX-184; CF-02-095; Admiralty G3619.5; NGA 14380.

Maneadero Borough Lighthouses
* Punta Banda
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 6 m (20 ft) square pyramidal masonry tower with gallery, painted white. A photo and a view from the sea are available, and Google has a satellite view. Punta Banda is the tip of a long promontory on the south side of the Bahía de Ensenada, part of the same ridge that continues underwater to the Islas de Todos Santos. The cape is accessible by 4WD vehicles. Located at the end of the peninsula, about 16 km (10 mi) across the bay southeast of Ensenada. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-090; Admiralty G3622; NGA 14376.
Islas de Todos Santos Sur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery. The Cuaderno has a small photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the southern tip of the southern of the two islands of Todos Santos, located in the Bahía de Ensenada about 20 km (13 mi) west of Ensenada. The islands are well known as a surfing site. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. CF-02-085; Admiralty G3621; NGA 14368.
Islas de Todos Santos (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. Stone tower, about 14 m (45 ft tall), attached to a 1-story stone keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. Lantern removed. The building was abandoned and deteriorating, but recently it has been renovated and repainted. The tower is at the left in Tomas Castelazo's photo at right and in the background of Leonardo Galicia's distant view, and Galicia also has a closeup. ARLHS MEX-109.
Islas de Todos Santos (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); white flash every 7 s. 30 m (98 ft) concrete tower with two galleries, lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. A small clamshell Fresnel lens is in use. Tomas Castelazo's aerial photo is at right, Farosmex has a closeup photo, an aerial photo is available, Leonardo Galicia has a distant view, and Bing has a satellite view showing both lighthouses. The lighthouse is on the northwest tip of the northern of the two islands of Todos Santos. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-078; CF-02-080; Admiralty G3620; NGA 14364.

Islas de Todos Santos Light, December 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Tomas Castelazo

Ensenada City Lighthouses
Ensenada West Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. A photo is available, Manuel Ramirez Hernandez has another photo, and the light casts a barely visible shadow in Google's satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Ensenada. Site and tower closed. CF-02-050; Admiralty G3626; NGA 14372.
Punta Morro (2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); white flash every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) hexagonal cylindrical white concrete tower. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The photo shows a black post next to the lighthouse; this post probably carried a former light. Located on a promontory in an industrial area about 4 km (2.5 mi) west of the Ensenada harbor. Site status unknown. CF-02-045; Admiralty G3629; NGA 14360.
Punta San Miguel
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 51 m (167 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower. Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located atop a cliff close to the Highway 1 motorway about 8 km (5 mi) west of Ensenada. Site status unknown. CF-02-020; Admiralty G3630; NGA 14348.5.

Islas Coronados (Coronado Islands) Lighthouses
Note: The Islas Coronados are a group of four rocky and barren islands about 14 km (8.5 mi) off the coast, 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Tijuana, and about 42 km (26 mi) southwest of San Diego, California. The islands are uninhabited except for the lighthouse keepers and a small military post. They are attached administratively to Tijuana City.
Islas Coronados Sur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 48 m (157 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Farosmex has a closeup photo, a view from the sea is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a steep rocky bluff at the south end of South Coronado Island. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS MEX-112;CF-02-015; Admiralty G3634; NGA 14348.
Islas Coronados Norte (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. 6 m (20 ft) square white pyramidal concrete tower with a 1-story keeper's house. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a ridge at the north end of South Coronado Island. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS MEX-111.
Islas Coronados Norte (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 75 m (246 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) octagonal cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Farosmex has a closeup photo, a rather distant photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located high on the ridge above the older lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS MEX-110; CF-02-010; Admiralty G3635; NGA 14344.

Tijuana City Lighthouse
* Tijuana
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 6 s. 22 m (72 ft) cylindrical white concrete tower, unpainted. A photo is at right, Miguel Angel Sauceda has a December 2008 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse was built fairly recently as part of a plan to develop Tijuana's beachfront. Located next to the beach just a few feet from the U.S. border and the "Bullring by the Sea" (Plaza Monumental de Tijuana), which is part of the same development. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-083; CF-02-005; Admiralty G3635.5; NGA 14338.
Faro de Tijuana
Tijuana Light, Tijuana, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Belisario

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Southern California | East: Northwest Coast | South: Southern Baja California

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Posted June 2002. Checked and revised September 6, 2014. Lighthouses: 37. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.