Lighthouses of Curaçao

Curaçao is an island off the coast of Venezuela in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is the central and largest of the so-called ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). The island is about 65 km (40 mi) long but only 5-13 km (3-8 mi) in width; it has a permanent population of about 140,000. Curaçao changed hands several times during the early colonial period but was confirmed as a Dutch colony in 1815. For many years it was the capital of the Netherlands Antilles, a federation of the Dutch colonies in the West Indies. However, the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in October 2010, and Curaçao is now a separate country under the Dutch crown.

Curaçao is a very popular tourist destinations, but not much information is available online about its lighthouses. Additional reports and photos from lighthouse visitors would be very welcome!

Aids to navigation in Curaçao are presumably maintained by the Curaçao Ports Authority. In 2008, Tideland Signal Corporation installed new MaxLED-200 optics in Curaçao's navigational aids. According to Tideland, all the lights had been out of service for several years prior to these renovations.

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 List numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - South Caribbean
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Curaçao Lights
Photos contributed by Willy Maal, a resident of Curaçao.
World of Lighthouses - Curaçao
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in Curaçao
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.

Klein Curaçao Light
Klein Curaçao Light, March 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Mingo Hagen

Lighthouses
Klein Curaçao (Little Curaçao)
1850 (rebuilt in 1879 and again in 1913). Reactivated; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 20 m (66 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, connected to two ruined 2-story keepers houses. The lighthouse is white with a red lantern; the keeper's houses are red. Mingo Hagen's 2008 photo is above, Gordon Crago has an August 2004 photo, Trabas has Captain Theo Hinrichs's photo, Wikimedia has a photo, Confluence.org has a good view of the island and lighthouse, and Google has a good satellite view. Previously abandoned and still endangered, this historic lighthouse was nonetheless reactivated with a solar-powered LED beacon in the restoration of Curaçao's aids to navigation. Recent photos show the keeper's houses to be crumbling rapidly. The barren island of Klein Curaçao (Little Curaçao) is located 11 km (7 mi) off the southeastern tip of Curaçao. Located at the center of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open; the tower was open prior to reactivation but may be closed now. ARLHS NEA-006; Admiralty J6399;
Punt Kanon (Oostpunt)
Date unknown. Reactivated; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. Trabas has Captain Theo Hinrich's view from the sea, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the southeastern tip of Curaçao. Site and tower closed (private property, trespassers prosecuted). ARLHS NEA-009; Admiralty J6396; NGA 16053.
* Riffort (Rif Fort, Willemstad)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (83 ft); white light, 3 s on, 2 s off. Square lantern, painted white with a red roof, mounted on a building in the Riffort, an 1828 fort on the north side of the harbor entrance of Willemstad. The lantern can be seen in John Robertson's April 2007 photo of the fort, and Google has a satellite view. The fort is now a shopping center, and the building with the lantern is a restaurant. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Bistro le Clochard. ARLHS NEA-010; Admiralty J6378; NGA 16012.
Kaap Sint Marie (Bullenbaai)
Date unknown. Reactivated; focal plane 12.5 m (41 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 6.5 m (21 ft) (?) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted red. The tower appears taller than its listed height. Bing has a satellite view. Ad. Hovestadt visited this site in December 2006 and found the light vandalized; the solar panels had been stolen. Bullenbaai is the location of the island's oil tank farm. Located on the west side of the island about 8 miles northwest of Willemstad. Site and tower closed (private property). ARLHS NEA-004; Admiralty J6376; NGA 15968.
* Noordpunt (2)
Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with a frame gallery but no lantern, centered in an unroofed concrete enclosure. Tower and enclosure painted white. Maal's photo is at right, and Trabas has Rainer Arndt's distant view, Google has a satellite view. Located at the northwestern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS NEA-008; Admiralty J6372; NGA 15964.
Noordpunt Light
Noordpunt Light, May 2002
photo copyright Willy Maal; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Bonaire | South: Eastern Venezuela | West: Aruba

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Posted April 21, 2006. Checked and revised December 23, 2013. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.