Lighthouses of Chile: Pacific Islands
Chile administers three groups of small islands in the
eastern South Pacific Ocean, including several of the most remote and least well
known islands of the world. This pages lists the lighthouses built on
those islands. The only inhabited islands are Easter Island (Isla de Pascua), the easternmost inhabited island of Polynesia, and the Isla Robinson Crusoe in the Juan Fernández Islands.
There are no traditional lighthouses on these islands, but there are some interesting minor aids to navigation. This page includes several of these lightbeacons.
The Spanish word for a lighthouse is faro. Lighthouses
in Chile are owned by the navy and maintained by the Chilean
Maritime Signaling Service (Servizio de Señalizacíon
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume
G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers
are from Publication 111.
- General Sources
- Lighthouses in Chile
- Photos available from Wikimedia.
Sala y Gómez Light, January 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Eduardo Sorensen
Easter Island Lighthouses
- Note: Easter Island (also known as Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua) is a volcanic island isolated 3510 km (2180 mi) west of the coast of central Chile. The island is triangular in shape, 24.6 km (15.3 mi) long by 12.3 km (7.6 mi) wide. Settled a thousand years ago by a Polynesian people, it has a permanent population of about 5800. Tourists are attracted to the island to see its famous monolithic statues, known as moai. The island is accessible by air from Chile, Peru, or Tahiti.
- * [Hanga Roa]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 6 m (20 ft); red flash every 5 s. 3.5 m (11 ft) fiberglass post with daymark panels, colored white with a red horizontal band. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at Hanga Roa, the principal settlement on the island, near the west end. Site open, tower closed. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G1992; NGA 1152.5.
- * [La Pérouse]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); white flash every 5 s. 3.5 m (11 ft) fiberglass post with daymark panels, colored white with a red horizontal band. Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at a tiny settlement on the north coast of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G1993; NGA 1152.6.
- * [Hotuiti]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); white flash every 10 s. 3.5 m (11 ft) fiberglass post with daymark panels, colored white with a red horizontal band. Carlos María Silvano's photo is at right, and Bing has a distant satellite view. Located at a landing near the east end of the island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G1994.5; NGA 1154.
- * [Vaihu]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); white
flash every 12 s. 5.5 m (18 ft) fiberglass post with daymark panels, colored white with a red horizontal band. A photo is available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. The light marks a beach suitable for landing small craft. Located on the southwest side of Easter Island. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G1995; NGA 1155.
Hotuiti Light (with line of moai in left background), Easter Island, April 2013
photo copyright Carlos María Silvano; used by permission
Sala y Gómez Lighthouse
- [Sala y Gómez (Salas y Gómez)]
- 1994. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 12 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical fiberglass tower, colored white with one red horizontal band. Eduardo Sorensen's photo is above, National Geographic has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Sala y Gómez (named for two Spanish sailors) is a tiny island 390 km (242 mi) east northeast of Easter Island. The islanders call it Motu Motiro Hiva, and that is also the name of the marine reserve created by Chile in 2010 to protect the island and its surrounding waters. The light is at the southern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open with proper permits, tower closed. Admiralty G1990.
Archipiélago Juan Fernández Lighthouses
- Note: The three Juan Fernández Islands are located about 600 km (375 mi) off the coast of central Chile. They are named for the Spanish navigator who discovered them in 1574. The Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was stranded on the largest island for four and a half years (1704-09), an adventure that may have inspired Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. In 1966, the island where Selkirk was stranded was renamed Isla Robinson Crusoe, and one of the other islands was named for Selkirk. Today Isla Robinson Crusoe has an airstrip and a permanent population of about 850.
- * [Punta San Carlos]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 6 m (20
ft); white flash every 12 s. 3.5 m (11 ft) round fiberglass tower, painted
white with one red horizontal band. Cristian Moya Huerta's closeup photo is at right, and another photo is available, but a cloud blocks Google's satellite view. Located on a promontory on the north side of Isla Robinson Crusoe, marking the entrance to the Bahía Cumberland. Site open,
tower closed. Admiralty G1855; NGA 1328.
Islas de los Desventurados Lighthouses
- Note: The Islas de los Desventurados (Unfortunate Islands) are four small islands located 850 km (530 mi) off the coast of northern Chile. There is no permanent population, but the Chilean Navy maintains an airfield and a base on one of the islands, the Isla San Félix.
- [Isla San Félix]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 195 m (640 ft); flash every 12
s. 4 m (13 ft) round fiberglass tower, painted
white with one red horizontal band. A closeup photo is available, and a tiny black spot locates the lighthouse in Google's satellite view. Located
on a peak at the western tip of the island.
Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G1937; NGA 1129.
Punta San Carlos Light, Isla Robinson Crusoe, September 2009
Flickr photo copyright Cristian Moya Huerta; permission requested
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining page: West: Northeastern Brazil
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Created October 5, 2012. Lighthouses: 0. Site copyright 2012 Russ Rowlett and the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.