Lighthouses of Belize

Belize is a small Central American country located at the base of the Yucat√°n Peninsula and bordered to the north by Mexico and to the west and south by Guatemala. The coast of the country faces east on the Gulf of Honduras, the westernmost extension of the Caribbean Sea. Fringed by coral reefs and with a steady onshore trade wind, the coast is quite hazardous for mariners.

Settled by British pirates, privateers, and other seamen as early as the 1630s, Belize is the only English-speaking country of Central America. Long known as British Honduras, it took the Mayan name Belize in 1973 and became independent in 1981. Belize City is the principal port.

Aids to navigation in Belize are maintained by the Belize Port Authority.

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 Light List numbers are from NGA Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Belize
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. The Belize photos are by Douglas Cameron and Capt. Theo Hinrichs.
Lighthouses in Belize
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Belize
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.


English Caye Light, Belize, June 2005
photo copyright Lewis Melton; used by permission

Belize District Lighthouses
* Fort George (Baron Bliss) (3?)
Late 1920s? (station established 1885). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); red flash every 5 s. 15 m (50 ft) strongly-tapered concrete pillar, with a gallery but no lantern. Tower painted white with a broad red band at the base; gallery red. Donna McCraw has a good closeup photo, another photo is available, Trabas has Cameron's view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. This light was built as a memorial to Henry E.E.V. Bliss (1869-1926), an English financier and self-styled baron who was a major benefactor of what was then British Honduras. Bliss's tomb is adjacent to the base of the tower. The first light at Belize City was on the customs house flagstaff in 1863. A mast light on Fort George was in place in 1903. Located on a point of land at the harbor entrance in Belize City. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BLZ-014; Admiralty J5954; NGA 16368.
English Caye (Eastern Channel Range Rear) (4?)
Date unknown (station established 1846). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 2.5 s. 19 m (62 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. Lewis Melton's photo is at the top of this page, a closeup of the tower and another closeup of the lantern are available, Paul Huber has a view from the sea, Wikimedia has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. The light station includes the Belize pilot station, with several buildings and a pier for the pilot boats. The original light was on a 13 m (43 ft) mast. Located on a small island about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Belize Harbour. Accessible only by boat, but visible from all ships entering the harbor. Site and tower closed. ARLHS BLZ-012; Admiralty J5943.1; NGA 16308.
Mauger Caye (Turneffe) (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1816). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 19 m (62 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery and an enclosed watch room. Entire lighthouse is white. Steve Melki's photo is at right, Wikimedia has Melki's view from the sea, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view of the station. Mauger Caye is the northernmost islet of the Turneffe Atoll, an extensive reef system 75 km (47 mi) long and about 30 km (19 mi) east of Belize City. A 19 m (57 ft) skeletal tower was built here in 1868; could this be the present tower? Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BLZ-007; Admiralty J5940; NGA 16280.
[Caye Bokel (4?)]
Date unknown (station established 1868). Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) square skeletal tower mounted on a square platform supported by piles. Gary Aitken has a distant view (1/5 the way down the page), and Bing has a satellite view. A similar, shorter tower stands on another platform about 40 m (130 ft) north. The original light was "hung horizontally on a yard." In 1896, lights were placed on two 18 m (58 ft) masts, 45 m (150 ft) apart. Located on the reef south of Caye Bokel, marking the southern end of the Turneffe Atoll. ARLHS BLZ-001; Admiralty J5942; NGA 16284.
** Sandbore Caye (3)
Date unknown (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 10 s. 25 m (82 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery, formerly painted white but now painted red with a white band at the top. A 2008 photo is available, Trabas has a photo by Capt. Hinrichs, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Several web sites mention that the station is staffed and the keepers allow visitors to climb the tower. The original 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower was replaced in 1931 by a 21 m (69 ft) skeletal tower. Located about 50 km (30 mi) east of Belize City on a small cay at the northern end of Lighthouse Reef, a coral atoll famous as a diving site. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the keepers. ARLHS BLZ-010; Admiralty J5934; NGA 16288.
Mauger Caye Light
Mauger Caye Light, Turneffe Cays, July 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Steve Melki
#Half Moon Caye (3)
1931 (station established 1820). Collapsed in 2010, this was formerly a 24 m (79 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with enclosed base and upper portion, built on the brick foundation of the 1848 lighthouse. Christopher Titzer's 2008 photo is at right, Scott Schmidt has a good photo of both the old and new lighthouses, and Fabrizio Rizzo has a 2006 view from the modern tower. The tower was reported to be "falling to pieces" and "dangerous to climb"; it looked very dangerous in a 2008 photo. In 2006, the Belize Audubon Society contacted the World Lighthouse Society for assistance in planning a restoration of the lighthouse, but no work had been done. The lighthouse collapsed during Tropical Storm Matthew in late September 2010; Jules Torti has a photo of the ruins. A 30.5 m (100 ft) skeletal tower was built here in 1848. Located on Half Moon Caye at the southeast corner of Lighthouse Reef, a coral atoll famous as a diving site. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Half Moon Caye Natural Monument. ARLHS BLZ-017.
** Half Moon Caye (4)
About 2000 (station established 1820). Active; focal plane 24 m (80 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Christopher Titzer's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo by Capt. Hinrichs, but the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located adjacent to the site of the historic lighthouse. Site open, and visitors often climb the tower. Site manager: Half Moon Caye Natural Monument. ARLHS BLZ-013; Admiralty J5936; NGA 16292.

Stann Creek District (Central Belize) Lighthouse
[Colson Point]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) skeletal tower with gallery mounted on a square platform supported by piles. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located about 1 km (0.6 mi) off Colson Point, about 45 km (28 mi) south of Belize City. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BLZ-004; Admiralty J5958; NGA 16376.

Old and new Half Moon Caye lighthouses, Lighthouse Reef, October 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Christopher Titzer

Toledo District (Southern Belize) Lighthouses
Bugle Caye (3)
Date unknown (station established 1885). Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); white flash every 10 s. 19 m (62 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Small white keeper's house, probably staffed. Fiona MacFarlane has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original light was on an 18 m (58 ft) mast. Located on a small cay off the coast about 130 km (80 mi) south of Belize City. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS BLZ-002; Admiralty J5968; NGA 16384.
East Snake Caye (1) (?)
1915. Inactive. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower. Lebawit Lily Girma has a photo (2/3 the way down the page), but Bing's satellite view does not show a concrete tower. According to SouthernBelize.com, "East Snake Caye was first known as Lighthouse Caye ... A lighthouse was built on the island to help fishermen navigate their way after sunset. Today, two lighthouses are located on the caye. A new lighthouse was recently constructed beside the old one." Located on a small cay, the easternmost of a group of four, about 8 km (5 mi) off the southern coast of Belize. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS BLZ-005.
East Snake Caye (2)
Date unknown (station established 1915). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 3 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. Lebawit Lily Girma has a photo (2/3 the way down the page), but Bing has a satellite view. Located next to the historic lighthouse. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower status unknown. Admiralty J5972; NGA 16392.
Hunting Caye
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); one long white flash every 10 s. 17 m (56 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. Fiona MacFarlane has a 2009 photo, Trabas has a distant view by Capt. Hinrichs, Tony Rath has an aerial photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Hunting Caye is at the southern end of the Sapodilla Cayes, about 65 km (40 mi) east of Punta Gorda; this is the southeasternmost point of Belizean territory. According to SouthernBelize.com, this is a staffed station and there is also a small military outpost on the cay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS BLZ-015; Admiralty J5974; NGA 16396.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Mexico Caribbean | South: Guatemala Caribbean

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Posted May 19, 2004. Checked and revised September 12, 2016. Lighthouses: 10. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.