Lighthouses of Northeastern Brazil

Brazil, the largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world, has a lengthy coastline, a large number of lighthouses, and a distinguished lighthouse history. This page covers lighthouses along Brazil's northeastern coast, including the states of Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, and Sergipe. Lighthouses of Bahia, which is often considered to be part of northeastern Brazil, have a separate page. This tropical coastline faces across the South Atlantic Ocean towards Africa and includes the easternmost lighthouses of the Americas. The largest ports are Fortaleza in Ceará and Recife in Pernambuco, but there are several other important ports. Tourism has increased in the region in recent years, and some of the major lighthouses are becoming better known.

The Portuguese word for a lighthouse is farol, plural faróis. In Brazilian use, the word farol generally applies to all light towers, regardless of whether they are enclosed structures or not. The word farolete is sometimes used for smaller towers.

Active lighthouses in Brazil are owned by the navy (Marinha do Brasil) and maintained by the Centro de Sinalização Náutica e Reparos Almirante Moraes Rego (CAMR) in the Diretoria de Hidrografia e Navegacão (DHN). Many of the larger lighthouses are staffed by resident keepers or by rotating crews of naval personnel. Only a small number of Brazilian lighthouses are open to the public.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. BR numbers are from the official Brazilian Lista de Faroís. Admiralty numbers are from volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Faroís Brasileiros
This web site for Brazilian lighthouses has small photos and historical information for many of the major lights.
Faroís Brasileiros
This page on the web site of the navy's aids to navigation center (CAMR) has links to photos of many of the lighthouses.
Online List of Lights - Brazil
Photos posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Brazil
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Faróis da Costa Cearense
Posted by the Ceará Port Captain's office, this page has photos and data on the lighthouses in that state.
Balizamento e Tombos de Alagoas
Posted by the Port Captain's office, data and photos on lighthouses and beacons in Alagoas.
Leuchttürme Südamerikas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Lista de Faróis
Official Brazilian light list available for download.

Farol de Olinda
Olinda Light, Olinda, Pernambuco, April 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Prefeitura de Olinda

Lighthouses of Piauí

Note: Primarily an inland state, Piauí has only a short coastline extending eastward from the Parnaíba River.
* Pedra do Sal
1928 (station established 1873). Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with gallery. A photo is available, Helder Fontenele has a more distant view, a postage stamp also depicts the lighthouse, and Bing has a satellite view. In December 2007, it was reported that a wall has been built around the lighthouse to deter vandals. Located on a rocky point north of Parnaíba, about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of the principal mouth of the Rio Parnaíba. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-070; BR-0828; Admiralty G0102; NGA 17736.
Luís Correia (Itaqui) (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1917). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical tower, mounted on a square 1-story concrete equipment shelter. Lighthouse painted white with one red horizontal band. A photo is available, Wikimedia has two distant views, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was replaced by a 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower in 1948, and the latter light is still listed by NGA. Located on a promontory backed by a large dune field about 10 km (6 mi) east of the town of Luís Correia. There does not appear to be road access to this site, but presumably it can be reached by 4WD along the beach. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-061; BR-0844; Admiralty G0104; NGA 17740.

Lighthouses of Ceará

Note: Ceará has a sandy coastline about 600 km (375 mi) long; its beaches are popular tourist attractions.
Camocim Area Lighthouses
* Ponta das Almas (Bitupitá)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical white fiberglass tower. A small photo (almost 2/3 the way down the page) is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located in the village of Bitupitá, on a sandy promontory near the western border of Ceará. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-179; BR-0848; Admiralty G0105; NGA 17744.
* Camocim (Trapiá) (3)
Date unknown (station established 1895). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with gallery, painted white. Daniel Machado's photo is at right, another photo is available, Robervaldo Monteiro has a distant sunset view, and Wikimedia has Otávio Nogueira's distant view. A Google's street view and satellite view reveal that the neighboring keeper's house has been demolished, leaving the lighthouse alone in one corner of the walled enclosure. Although it appears to be accessible by road, this lighthouse seems to attract few visitors. Located about 5 km (3 mi) north of Camocim, a fishing port in the northwestern corner of Ceará. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-126; BR-0852; Admiralty G0108; NGA 17748.
* Jericoacoara (3)
1992 (station established 1923). Active; focal plane 101 m (331 ft); white light, 2 s on, 8 s off. 6 m (20 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Ariel Diacovetzky has a photo, Verônica Silva also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. This is one of many small lighthouses of this type in Brazil. Located atop a headland projecting into the sea near the popular beach resort of Jericoacoara (this headland is claimed to be the only place in Brazil where the sun both rises and sets over the sea, although there seem to be other promontories in the region where this would happen). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-059; BR-0860; Admiralty G0110; NGA 17756.
Camocin Light
Camocim Light, Camocim, December 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Daniel Machado; used by permission
* Itapajé (3)
Date unknown (station established 1909). Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 43 m (141 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. The tower also carries a rectangular slatted daymark near the top. Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Michel Forand has contributed to Lighthouse Explorer a postcard view of the original lighthouse, a hexagonal skeletal tower with central cylinder, lantern and gallery; it was replaced in 1933. Located in what appears to be a coconut orchard beside the coastal highway about 16 km (10 mi) east of Acaraú. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-057; BR-0864; Admiralty G0114; NGA 17760.

Fortaleza Area Lighthouses
Note: Fortaleza, the state capital of Ceará, is the fifth largest city in Brazil, with a population of about 2.5 million.
* Mundaú (3)
Date unknown (station established 1923). Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 3 s. 7 m (23 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Sibling of Jericoacoara. Heraldo Medeiros has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located across the coastal road from the beach at Mundaú, about 150 km (90 mi) west of Fortaleza. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-159; BR-0868; Admiralty G0116; NGA 17764.
* Paracurú
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 80 m (252 ft); one long (1.2 s ) white flash every 10 s. 75 m (246 ft) square skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Google has a street view. The Google satellite view shows the lighthouse standing in an industrial compound of the Brazilian energy company Petrobras. Although it is not a traditional lighthouse, this is an exceptionally tall aid to navigation and a prominent landmark on the coast. Located on the Ponta Paracurú, a headland about 90 km (55 mi) west of Fortaleza. Site and tower closed, but clearly there are good views from outside the compound. ARLHS BRA-276; BR-0882; Admiralty G0117; NGA 17766.
* Pecém
Date unknown (probably recent). Active; focal plane 75 m (246 ft); flash every 10 s, two white flashes followed by one red flash. 30 m (98 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery, standing on a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands, equipment building painted white. Google has a good street view and a satellite view. Ponta Pecém is a sharp headland located about 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Fortaleza. A container ship terminal has been built off the point, with quays connected to shore by a long single-lane bridge. The lighthouse stands on heights just southwest of the terminal. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-285; BR-0884; Admiralty G0119; NGA 17766.5.
Mucuripe (2)
1958. Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 22 m (72 ft) round masonry tower with four ribs, lantern and gallery, attached to a small equipment building. The tower is wider at the top than at the bottom, but in closeup photos this makes the sides appear vertical in perspective. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands. The Ceará Port Captain's office has a page for the lighthouse, CAMR has a closeup photo, William Massari has a photo, Valcides Santana has an aerial photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on a ridge about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) south of the port in the Mucuripe district east of downtown Fortaleza. Site and tower closed. The tower can be seen from streets nearby, but the neighborhood of the lighthouse is described as "unfriendly." ARLHS BRA-261; BR-0936; Admiralty G0122; NGA 17768.
Mucuripe Light
1958 Mucuripe Light, Fortaleza, October 2009
Panoramio photo copyright Francisco Edson Mend..
permission requested
* Mucuripe (1) (Velho Farol de Fortaleza)
1846. Inactive since 1957. Baroque 2-story hexagonal masonry building with lantern centered on the roof. Lighthouse painted white with yellow trim. David Moraes de Andrade's photo is at right, Marco Pessoa has a photo, Christian Unger has a photo, a 2010 photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Endangered. Restored in 1981-82, the building was used first as a restaurant and then as a museum, the Museu do Farol. However, the museum closed in 2004, and the building is now abandoned and in need of maintenance. In the April 2006 photo at right the paint seems fresh but a lantern window is missing. The situation is more deteriorated in a 2009 photo by Robert English. This is one of the oldest buildings in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará. Located at the end of the Av. Vicente de Castro, near the base of the Titan Breakwater. Site open, tower closed. Owner: unknown. Owner/site manager: Prefeitura Municipal de Fortaleza. ARLHS BRA-262.
Titan Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 3 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal white fiberglass skeletal tower. Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main breakwater of Fortaleza. Site and tower closed. ARLHS BRA-275; BR-0924; Admiralty G0124; NGA 17772.
Praia do Futuro
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 10 s. 6 m (20 ft) square cylindrical brick tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. A distant view is available, Google has a very distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of a groin projecting eastward from the Ponta do Mucuripe. Site status unknown (it's not clear if the groin is walkable). BR-0932; Admiralty G0123; NGA 17780.

Aracati Area Lighthouses
* Morro Branco
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 107 m (351 ft); five white flashes every 60 s. 25 m (82 ft) square masonry tower, centered on a square 1-story concrete equipment building. Entire lighthouse painted white. A distant view is available, Cleiton da Silva Alves has a photo, Wikimedia has a nice view by Thiago Ogoshi, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse appears to be a sibling of the Farol de Camocim (above). Located atop well-known white bluffs (morro branco) about 80 km (50 mi) southeast of Fortaleza. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-260; BR-0938; Admiralty G0125.5; NGA 17802.
Velho Farol de Fortaleza
1846 Mucuripe Light, Fortaleza, April 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by David Moraes de Andrade
* Aracati (2)
1928 (station established 1873). Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); white flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) round masonry tower, painted red, with keeper's quarters. Luciano Troccoli has a 2009 photo, a view from the sea is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. This lighthouse appears to be endangered by beach erosion. Located above the beach in Aracati, on the north side of the entrance to the Rio Jaguaribe. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-006; BR-0940; Admiralty G0126; NGA 17804.
* Ponta dos Cajuais
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 64 m (210 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The tower is not conspicuous in Google's satellite view. Located about 4 km (2.5 mi) from the beach in Icapui, marking a prominent bulge in the coastline. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-072; BR-0944; Admiralty G0148; NGA 17808.

Lighthouses of Rio Grande do Norte

Note: Rio Grande do Norte occupies the northeastern corner of Brazil. Natal is the state capital, the largest city in the state, and the largest port. The name of the state, literally "Great River of the North," refers to the Rio Potengi, which enters the Atlantic at Natal. The islands of the Atol das Rocas are attached administratively to Rio Grande do Norte state; lighthouses of the atoll are listed on the page for Brazil's Atlantic Islands.
North Coast (Macau Area) Lighthouses
* [Pontal (Areia Branca)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 10 m (33 ft); white flash every 6 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower, colored with black and white horizontal bands. Carlos Cohab has a view from the sea, Wikimedia has a similar view by Allan Patrick, and Google has a satellite view. Areia Branca means "white sand," and the area is well known for its magnificent beaches. Located just off the beach on the east side of the entrance to Areia Branca. Site open, tower closed. BR-0946; Admiralty G0152.5; NGA 17810.
* Ponta do Mel
1898. Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); white light, on 3.5 s once every 30 s. 14 m (46 ft) cast iron skeletal tower with central cylinder, painted with black and white horizontal bands. The light station has a resident keeper. Kênia Castro's photo appears at right, an April 2007 photo and another photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Google's street view from the coastal road shows the tip of the tower high on the bluffs overlooking the beach. Located about 650 m (0.4 mi) back from the beach on a headland about 80 km (50 mi) east of Areia Branca in western Rio Grande do Norte. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-174; BR-0960; Admiralty G0154; NGA 17816.
* Macau
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower with gallery, carrying a round water tank and the lightbeacon on a post. The tower is white concrete; the tank is blue. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located at Macau. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-149; BR-0976; Admiralty G0156 NGA 17824.
Agulha
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 39 m (128 ft); two short flashes followed by one longer flash, every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available. The tower is mounted on the Petrobrás PAG-2 oil drilling platform. Located off the coast near the seaport of Guamaré. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS BRA-106; Admiralty G0154.5; NGA 17817.
* Galinhos
Date unknown (station established 1931). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 10 s. 13 m (43 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted with horizontal red and white bands. No lantern. Carla Salgueiro has a photo, Alex Uchôa has a photo, Wikimedia has Mariana Othon's photo, CAMR also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. This endangered lighthouse is in the water at high tide. Located on the beach on a sandy point north of Galinhos and about 25 km (15 mi) west of Caiçara. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-036; BR-0980; Admiralty G0158; NGA 17828.
* Santo Alberto (Caiçara)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 38 m (125 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. George Maia has a nice view of the lighthouse, a photo is available, Thomas Medeiros has a photo, Richardson Sant'Anna has a 2009 closeup, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse has a gallery but no lantern. Located on the beach at Caiçara, about 160 km (100 mi) northwest of Natal. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-189; BR-0984; Admiralty G0162; NGA 17832.
Farol do Mel
Ponta do Mel Light, Areia Branca, November 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Kênia Castro

Cabo de São Roque Lighthouses

Note: The Cabo de São Roque, the northeastern tip of South America, does not have a sharp point. It is instead a gentle curve about 25 km (15 mi) long starting north of Touros and extending south of Rio do Fogo. For Europeans, the cape was discovered by André Gonçalves and Amerigo Vespucci in 1501.
*** Calcanhar (Touros) (3)
1943 (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); white flash every 10 s. 62 m (203 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with four ribs and lantern, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Several 1-story keeper's houses; the light station has a resident keeper. A photo by Thyrone Domingos is at right, Vicki Harris also has a photo, Marcos Delmar has a 2010 photo, CAMR has a photo, Alex Uchoa has a portfolio of photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This great lighthouse deserves to be better known: it is Brazil's tallest traditional lighthouse and one of the tallest concrete lighthouses in the world. It marks a headland near the northern end of the great curve of the Cabo de São Roque, the northeastern shoulder of South America. The first lighthouse was replaced by a 52 m (171 ft) cast iron tower in 1927. Located on the beach of the Ponta de Calcanhar at Touros, 105 km (65 mi) north of Natal. Site open, tower open daily 9 am to 11 am. ARLHS BRA-258; BR-1100; Admiralty G0164; NGA 17836.
* [Punta Gameleira]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); flash every 6 s, white or red depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted black with one white horizontal band. Amateur radio operators have a photo and a second photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This light guides vessels entering the Canal (Channel) de São Roque, a channel around the cape protected by offshore reefs. Located about 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Touros. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-133; BR-1120; Admiralty G0166; NGA 17840.
Rio do Fogo (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1932). Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 6 s. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No lantern. Victor Azevedo has a photo, but the light is not seen in Google's distant satellite view. The stump of an older beacon is next to the present lighthouse. Located on a reef about 5 km (3 mi) off Rio do Fogo and about 15 km (10 mi) southeast of Touros. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-256; BR-1124; Admiralty G0168; NGA 17844.
Teresa Pança (Maracajaú)
1940. Active; focal plane 20 m (67 ft); white flash every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery but no lantern, painted with black and white horizontal bands. Felipe Venturini has a closeup photo, Thyrone Domingos has a view from the shore, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef 2 km (1.2 mi) offshore from Maracajaú at the southern end of the Canal (Channel) de São Roque. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS BRA-201; BR-1128; Admiralty G0170; NGA 17848.
Farol de Calcanhar
Calcanhar Light, Touros, March 2008
Wikipedia Creative Commons photo by Thyrone Domingos
* São Roque (2)
Date unknown (station established 1911). Active; focal plane 50 m (164 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 32 m (105 ft) square cylindrical concrete skeletal tower, lowest section enclosed, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No lantern. Marcos André Madeira has a closeup photo, Alex Gurgel also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a 12 m (39 ft) cast iron tower. Located at the southern end of the Cabo de São Roque about 30 km (20 mi) north of Natal. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-017; BR-1132; Admiralty G0172; NGA 17852.

East Coast (Natal Area) Lighthouses
[Pedra Baixinha]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); red flash every 6 s. 6 m (20 ft) concrete tripod tower. Entire tower is red. Wikimedia has two photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from the Newton Navarro Bridge. Located just off the end of the west breakwater to the Rio Potengi estuary, Natal's harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G0180; BR-1136; NGA 17864.
Recife de Natal
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower rising from a small 1-story concrete equipment room. Entire lighthouse painted green. Josias Menescal has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This light replaced a tower built on the ramparts of the nearby Forte dos Reis Magos in 1872. Located on a reef (recife) that serves as the natural east breakwater at the entrance to Natal's harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. BR-1178; Admiralty G0178; NGA 17860.
** Natal (Mãe Luíza)
1951. Active; focal plane 87 m (285 ft); five white flashes, separated by 2 s, every 25 s. 37 m (121 ft) round brick tower with lantern and double gallery; entire lighthouse painted white. Light station staffed by navy crews. A photo is at right, José Issamu Yamada has written a good page with many photos, Wikimedia has several photos, another good photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Mãe Luíza (Mother Louise) was a parteira (midwife) who ministered to the poor of Natal in the early 1900s. Her name was applied first to the neighborhood in which she lived, and then to the lighthouse in that neighborhood. Located on a bluff in the city of Natal, capital of Rio Grande do Norte. Site open, tower open Saturday and Sunday afternoons 2 pm to 5 pm. ARLHS BRA-161; BR-1176; Admiralty G0177; NGA 17856.
* Ponta da Tabatinga
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 96 m (315 ft); five white flashes every 60 s. 81 m (266 ft) round white concrete tower. Leonardo Vianna has a view from the sea, another distant view is available, and Google has a closeup street view and a satellite view. This interesting structure is Brazil's tallest light tower, but it appears to have been built primarily as a communications tower. Located atop dunes on a promontory about 35 km (22 mi) south of Natal. Site open, tower closed. BR-1190; Admiralty G0183; NGA 17882.
* Bacopari
Date unknown (station established 1919). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with gallery, painted in a black and white checkerboard pattern. Mauricio Alves has a photo, a closeup and a 2008 photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the beach of the Cabo de Bacopari in Baía Formosa, about 100 km (60 mi) south of Natal. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-014; BR-1192; Admiralty G0184; NGA 17884.
Farol de Natal
Mãe Luiza Light, Natal, May 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by homemadeluckyshots

Lighthouses of Paraíba

Note: Paraíba is named for the river of the same name, which means "hard to navigate" in the Tupi language. The state has only a short coastline north and south of the river.
Baía de Traição
1923. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal concrete tower. A closeup is available, F. Gomes has a fuzzy photo showing the situation of the lighthouse, Giovanna Gaspari has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view from the beach. Located on the reef that shelters the harbor of Baía de Traição. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-204; BR-1196; Admiralty G0186; NGA 17888.
Pedra Seca
1873. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal cast iron tower on a square concrete base. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a satellite view. The survival of this historic lighthouse is remarkable. Originally built on land some 400 m (1300 ft) from the water, the tower is now almost as far offshore. In 2003 the lighthouse was restored by the Paraíba Port Captain's office; Aluisio Trindade Filho has a photo of the restored tower. Located off the Ponta de Mato at the mouth of the Rio Paraíba, marking the entrance to the port of Cabedelo, about 32 km (20 mi) north of João Passoa. Accessible only by boat but easily visible from the beach. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-165; BR-1236; Admiralty G0188; NGA 17892.
* Cabo Branco
1972. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); one long (1.3 s) white flash every 10 s. 18 m (59 ft) triangular concrete tower with three pointed, wing-like projections about 3.5 m (12 ft) above the ground. No lantern. Lighthouse painted white with a horizontal black band just above the wings. A photo by Vinícius M. B. Rodrigues is at right, Cesar Edgley has a good photo, Erick Aniszewski has a photo, Wikimedia has several photos, and Google has a satellite view. This modern tower is as much sculpture as lighthouse; it was designed by Pedro Abraão Dieb to resemble a sisal plant, one of Paraíba's most important plants. Standing in longitude 34° 47' 38" W, it marks the easternmost point on the mainland of the Americas. The light is one of the best known tourist attractions of Paraíba, with parking and souvenir shops. Located atop a steep bluff on the Ponta de Seixas, the easternmost point of Cabo Branco, about 15 km (10 mi) east of João Pessoa, the capital of Paraíba. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-015; BR-1256; Admiralty G0190; NGA 17904.
Farol de Cabo Branco
Cabo Branco Light, João Pessoa, January 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Vinícius M. B. Rodrigues

Lighthouses of Pernambuco

Note: The coastline of Pernambuco is about 190 km (120 mi) in length, much of it being sandy beaches. Recife is the major port in the state. The islands of Fernando de Noronha and the St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks are also attached administratively to Pernambuco state; lighthouses of these islands are listed on the page for Brazil's Atlantic Islands.
** Olinda (2)
1941 (station established 1872). Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); two white flashes, separated by 7.5 s, every 35 s. 42 m (138 ft) round concrete tower buttressed with four ribs. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern is white. This lighthouse is one of the best known landmarks of Olinda and one of the few Brazilian lighthouses open to tourists. The city's photo appears at the top of this page, T. Cris Silva has a 2007 closeup, Dennis Knake has a photo, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's fuzzy photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original lighthouse was a 12.5 m (41 ft) wrought iron tower built in the fortress of São Francisco de Olinda. Located on a steep bluff north of the commercial center of Olinda, about 7 km (4.5 mi) north of Recife. Site open; tower open 2-5 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. ARLHS BRA-068; BR-1272; Admiralty G0202; NGA 17912.
Recife North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red light, 2 s on, 6 s off. 9 m (30 ft) round concrete tower, painted red. Henrique de Borba has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north breakwater of Recife harbor. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. BR-1296; Admiralty G0208; NGA 17944.
Recife South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green light, 2 s on, 6 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round concrete tower, painted green. A photo is available, Henrique de Borba has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Recife harbor, about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) north of the historic lighthouse (next entry). Site status unknown. BR-1300; Admiralty G0206; NGA 17948.
* Recife
1822. Reactivated (inactive 1931-32 and 1938-45); focal plane 20 m (66 ft); two flashes, one white and one red, every 12 s. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal castellated masonry tower on a square concrete base, upper half painted white and lower half red. Rodrigo Cantarelli's photo is at right, an excellent closeup is available, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, Getulio Bessoni has a photo, Wikipedia as a Portuguese page for the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was built on the ruins of a Portuguese fort built in the 1590s. The original light was deactivated in 1931 but reactivated the following year with a new lantern and lens. In 1938 the light was moved to the port captain's office, but it was returned to the historic tower in 1945. Located near the end of a natural breakwater on the north side of the city, close to a sculpture park; the reef is accessible from the city's waterfront by passenger ferry. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-087; BR-1304; Admiralty G0204; NGA 17920.
* [Cabo de Santo Agostinho (Nazaré) (1)]
1884. Inactive since the early 1940s. The lighthouse, a cast iron tripod tower similar to the surviving Faro Cabo San Antonio in Argentina, was demolished, but the ruined 2-story stone keeper's quarters is standing and has been identified as a priority site for conservation or restoration. A historic photo is available (2/3 of the way down the page). Located on the point of the cape near the town of Nazaré about 40 km (25 mi) south of Recife. Site appears open. ARLHS BRA-265.
* Cabo de Santo Agostinho (Nazaré) (2)
Early 1940s (station established 1884). Active; focal plane 91 m (299 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted white. Fernando Verçosa has a good photo, Pedro Valadares also has a photo, and Ricardo Tcheras has a closeup, but the tower is not very conspicuous in a Google satellite view. Located on the heights above the original light station, near the town of Nazaré about 40 km (25 mi) south of Recife. Site status unknown. ARLHS BRA-016; BR-1328; Admiralty G0212; NGA 17960.

Farol de Recife
Recife Light, Recife, February 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Rodrigo Cantarelli

* Tamandaré (Santo Inácio) (2)
Early 1930s (station established 1902). Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 22 m (72 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Renan Cavichi has a 2009 photo, a second photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse stands at the northeast corner of the historic Forte do Santo Inácio. The original lighthouse was a cast iron tower; a historic photo is available (halfway down the page). Located at Tamandaré, about 50 km (30 mi) southwest of Cabo de Santo Agostinho. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-102; BR-1348; Admiralty G0214; NGA 17964.

Lighthouses of Alagoas

Note: Alagoas is a relatively small state known for its fine beaches. Maceió, with a population nearing one million, is the largest city and the only major port.
* Porto de Pedras (2)
Date unknown (station established 1933). Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 36 m (118 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, buttressed with four ribs. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern is white. A good photo and a 2009 closeup are available, CAMR has a photo, Trabas has Captain Theo Hinrich's view from the sea, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Sibling of Farol Olinda (see above). Ruins of the base of the original lighthouse are at the foot of the tower. Located on a steep hill, back from the beach, in Porto de Pedras in northern Alagoas, about 65 miles northeast of Maceió. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-083; BR-1352; Admiralty G0218; NGA 17968.
* Ponta Verde
1949(?) (station established 1922). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); long (2 s) white flash every 10 s. 11 m (36 ft) round masonry tower with gallery but no lantern, mounted on a concrete base. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Walter Cunha has a good photo, Trabas has Rainer Arndt's photo, a distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. Ponta Verde is a point of land in the city of Maceió; the lighthouse is located in the surf off the point. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS BRA-178; BR-1360; Admiralty G0220; NGA 17972.
* Maceió (2)
1955 (station established 1857). Active; focal plane 68 m (223 ft); flash every 10 s, alternating red and white. 26 m (85 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, painted in a black and white diamond pattern; lantern painted black with a white roof. An excellent closeup is available, Wikimedia has a photo, Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs (also seen at right), CAMR has a photo, and Google has a good street view and a satellite view. A photo of the original lighthouse is available, and a second photo (4th row on the page) shows the old lighthouse after its height had been raised by 2 m (7 ft). Located on the Alta da Boa Vista, a prominent hill in Maceió, the capital of Alagoas. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-063; BR-1364; Admiralty G0222; NGA 17976.
* São Miguel (Praia do Gunga)
1936. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) tower: square steel skeletal tower atop a square pyramidal concrete tower with gallery, mounted on a square concrete base. Tower painted white; square base painted red. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located off the Praia do Gunga, a beach south the mouth of the Rio São Miguel about 8 km (5 mi) south of Barra da São Miguel. Site status unknown. ARLHS BRA-193; BR-1392; Admiralty G0224; NGA 17992.
* Coruripe
1948. Active; focal plane 66 ft; two whte flashes every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower mounted on a square concrete base. The lighthouse, painted with black and white horizontal bands, has a gallery but no lantern. This light is typical of many small, modern Brazilian lighthouses. José Luna has a photo, Tito Garcez also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the beach at Ponta Coruripe, about 50 miles southwest of Maceió near the town of Coruripe (sometimes spelled Coruípe). ARLHS BRA-030; BR-1396; Admiralty G0226; NGA 17996.
Maceió Light
Maceió Light, Maceió
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission
* Peba (São Francisco do Norte) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 141 ft; white light, 2 s on, 13 s off. 40 m (131 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white with a red horizontal band. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Peba is a well-known protected natural area, with a magnificent beach and an extensive dune system, on the north side of the entrance to the Rio São Francisco southeast of Piaçabuçu at the southern edge of Alagoas. Site probably open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-254; BR-1399.4; Admiralty G0227; NGA 18000.

Lighthouses of Sergipe

Note: Sergipe is the smallest state in the Brazilian union. Its capital Aracaju is also the largest city and only major port in the state.
Peba (São Francisco do Norte, Cabeço) (1)
1856. Inactive. 16 m (52 ft) octagonal tower with lantern and gallery. Gravely endangered: this lighthouse has gone to sea. As of December 2004 it was leaning and about to fall, as seen in Alberto Gambardella's photo. It was still standing in a January 2006 photo and in a December 2010 photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was built in the village of Cabeço on the south (Sergipe) side of the Rio São Francisco. Rapid beach erosion, probably accelerated by the construction of dams on the upper course of the river, destroyed the village in the late 1990s and put the lighthouse in the water. Accessible only by boat, if it still stands. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-255.
Santa Izabel
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); flash every 10 s, two white flashes followed by one red flash. 31 m (102 ft) round concrete tower carrying a yellow daymark. No lantern; the light is displayed from a short tripod structure atop the building. Google has a satellite view The building is part of an industrial complex of unknown type, and the light guides ships arriving at a long wharf that extends from in front of the building. The surrounding area of Santa Izabel, near the northern border of Sergipe, is a biological reserve. Site status unknown. ARLHS BRA-240; BR-1402; Admiralty G0229; NGA 18004.
* Aracaju (Sergipe) (1) (Farol Velho)
1861(?). Inactive. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) octagonal pyramidal cast iron skeletal tower with central cylinder, lantern, enclosed watchroom, and gallery, incorporating 2-story keeper's quarters. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands. A photo is at right, Tadeu Cordeiro has a 2009 photo, Paulo Noronha has a good photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Long inactive, this historic lighthouse became gravely endangered. Rodrigo Brito Soares has a March 2005 photo showing advanced deterioration, and Tiago Melo's February 2006 photo shows rusting of the central structure. However, in September 2007 the city of Aracaju and state of Sergipe agreed on a restoration plan, and the work was carried out during 2008-09. Located in a traffic roundabout in the Farolândia district of Aracaju, the capital of Sergipe, about 3 km (1.8 mi) west of the new lighthouse (next entry). Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-282.

Older Aracaju Light
Original Sergipe Light, Aracaju, January 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Lowfill Tarmak

* Aracaju (Sergipe, Coroa do Meio) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1861). Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white light, on 30 s, then five long (2.4 s) flashes at intervals of 6 s. 40 m (131 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower mounted on 2-story square concrete base. Tower painted with black and white horizontal bands. Henrique Vicente's photo is at right, Paula Barros has a good photo, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located facing the beach on the Av. Santos Dumont in Coroa de Meio, the seaside district of Aracaju. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-090; BR-1428; Admiralty G0230; NGA 18010.
* São Cristóvão
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); white light, 2 s on, 18 s off. 40 m (131 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower, painted with white with two narrow red horizontal bands. Paulo Noronha has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. São Cristóvão is a port about 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Aracaju, at the mouth of the Rio Vasa Barris. Located at the end of the beachfront road on the north side of the harbor entrance; this road was closed for several years due to beach erosion, but it appears to have reopened with a crooked detour. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS BRA-266; BR-1438; Admiralty G0233; NGA 18011.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Natal (Rio Grande do Norte, Forte dos Reis Magos) (1872-1951). This was the original light at Natal, a beacon placed on the wall of the Forte dos Reis Magos, the fortress on the south side of the harbor entrance. A postcard view shows that the tower was extended by adding a skeletal tower at the top. During World War II, the beacon helped guide seaplanes landing in Natal for refueling before or after crossing the Atlantic. The tower was removed, but a plaque marks its location on the wall of the fortress.
  • Olinda (Forte São Francisco) (1872-1941). The original wrought iron lighthouse may have been replaced in 1900; it was described in 1906 as an octagonal red tower.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Newer Aracaju Light
Newer Sergipe Light, Aracaju, October 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Henrique Vicente

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Brazil | East: Brazil's Atlantic Islands | South: Bahia

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Posted February 16, 2004. Checked and revised March 22, 2014. Lighthouses: 48. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.