Lighthouses of Bolivia

Bolivia is a landlocked and mostly mountainous country, so at first glance one would assume that it has no use for lighthouses. However, there is navigation on both sides of the country. On the west, Bolivia and Perú share the waters of Lake Titicaca. Ferries and tour boats are busy on the lake, despite its altitude of roughly 3800 m (12,500 ft). On the east side, the 11 km (7 mi) long Canal Tamengo links the town of Puerto Suárez on Lago Cáceres in Bolivia to the Rio Paraguai at Corumbá, Brazil, providing Bolivia with a somewhat tenuous connection with the Río de la Plata, some 1300 km (810 mi) downstream. There is a project to improve this long route for barge traffic, but due to environmental concerns it is not clear that the project will be completed.

Aids to navigation in Bolivia are maintained by the Servicio Nacional de Hidrografía Naval (SNHN), an agency of the Naval Force (Fuerza Naval Boliviana). The August 2010 Notice to Mariners lists most of the lights as being "inoperable," but it appears that efforts were underway to get them all back into service.

BOL numbers are those appearing on the Bolivian light list; for Lake Titicaca these numbers are chosen to extend the numbering on the Peruvian list. Bolivian lighthouses are not listed by ARLHS or by the international light lists.

General Sources
Aviso a los Navegantes - Agusto 2010
Published by SNHN, this notice to mariners (a pdf document) includes a description of navigable waterways in Bolivia and light lists for Lake Titicaca and the Canal Tamengo. The light list for the lake includes lights in the Peruvian section of the lake.

Canal Tamengo Lighthouse
* Faro Tamengo (Torre Faro)
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); white light, 4 s on, 8 s off. 12 m (39 ft) round strongly conical concrete tower incorporating a 3-story border guard station. Lighthouse painted white. E. Armijo's photo at right shows the tower flying the Bolivian flag, a 2010 view across the channel is available, and Google has a satellite view. Maps show that the lighthouse is just barely inside Bolivian territory. Located on the east side of Tamarinero, Bolivia, and the west side of Corumbá, Brazil, at about the midpoint of the canal. Site status unknown, but the tower can be seen from nearby. BOL-0003.

Faro Tamengo
Faro Tamengo, Tamarinero, January 2009
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by E. Armijo

Lake Titicaca Lighthouses
Note: Bolivia has 11 lights on Lake Titicaca, including the Faro Chúa seen at right. Most of the other lights are supported by concrete pillars or rectangular concrete beams. These lights are probably too small to be considered lighthouses, but the Directory lists several for which photos are or have been available.
[Copacabana]
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); red light, 2.5 s on, 6 s off. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) square (?) concrete tower, painted in a red and white checkerboard pattern. Peter and Jackie Main have a photo, and Keith Yearman has a distant view, but the small tower does not appear in Google's satellite view of the area. Located on a promontory at the entrance to Copacabana, a settlement on the west side of the Yampupata Peninsula, which projects across the international border on the lake's south central coast. Site open, tower closed. BOL-3505.
[Pallakhasa (Palla Khasa)]
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane unknown; white light, 1.5 s on, 5 s off. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) rectangular concrete slab painted in a green and white checkerboard pattern. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view that probably shows the location. Located near the southeast end of the Isla de Sol, off the northwest end of the Yampupata Peninsula. Probably accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. BOL-3502.
Faro Chúa
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane unknown; white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. SNHN's photo is at right, and a Google satellite view shows the tower. If the focal plane exceeds about 70 m (230 ft), as seems likely, then this is the world's highest lighthouse. Located on a mountain slope east of Chúa. Site open, tower closed. BOL-3513.
Tiquina
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane unknown; white light, 2 s on, 5.5 s off. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No closeup photo available; D. Panich has an extremely distant view (light is seen just to right of the bus on the ferry), and Google has a very distant satellite view. San Pedro de Tiquina is a village split in half by the Tiquina Strait, which connects the main portion of the lake to its easternmost basin. A ferry on National Route 2 crosses the strait. Located on the south side of the western entrance to the strait. Site open, tower closed. BOL-3508.
Faro Chúa
Faro Chúa
Servicio Nacional de Hidrografía Naval photo
[Khella]
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); green light, 1.5 s on, 5 s off. Approx. 7 m (23 ft) square (?) concrete tower, painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. A view from the lake is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the north side of the eastern entrance to the Tiquina Strait, which connects the main portion of the lake to its easternmost basin. Site open, tower closed. BOL-3509.
Taquiri
Date unknown. Active (reported inoperable in 2010); focal plane about 15 m (49 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower painted in a black and white checkered pattern. No closeup photo available; a very distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located above the pier on the Isla de Taquiri, about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of Tiquina. Site open, tower closed. BOL-3510.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining page: West: Peru

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Created September 21, 2010. Checked and revised June 20, 2014. Lighthouses: 4. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.