Lighthouses of Ecuador: Galápagos

The Galápagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands stretched along the Equator in the easternmost Pacific Ocean, about 750 km (475 mi) due west of the mainland of Ecuador. The archipelago was annexed by Ecuador in 1832, and the first settlements were made in that year. In 1959 the islands were made a national park. Famous for exotic scenery and even more exotic wildlife, the islands quickly became a popular tourist destination. In order to support this tourism, the permanent population has increased to about 25,000.

The islands have been officially renamed the Archipiélago de Colón (Columbus Islands), although this name is rarely used outside the country.

There are no historic lighthouses in the Galápagos, but in recent years several small lights have been built. Additional information and photos of these lights would be welcome.

Aids to navigation in Ecuador are owned by the Navy (Armada del Ecuador) and maintained by the Departamento de Ayudas a Navegación of the Navy's Instituto Oceanográfico. The Spanish word for a lighthouse is faro.

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
Online List of Lights - Archipiélago de Colón
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas. Most of the Galápagos photos are by Arno Siering.
Phares d'Amérique
From their Phares du Monde web site, Alain Guyomard and Robert Carceller have photos of four lights in the Galápagos.
World of Lighthouses - Equador
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.

Playaman Light
Playaman Light, Isla San Cristóbal, August 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Iris Diensthuber

Isla San Cristóbal Lighthouses
Note: San Cristóbal is the easternmost of the islands, and geologically the oldest; Cerro San Joaquin, the extinct volcano that formed the island, rises to a height of 730 m (2395 ft). Puerto Barquerizo Moreno, on the southwestern coast of the island, is the administrative center of the archipelago; it has a population of about 5600.
Colorado Mountain (Cerro San Joaquin)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 199 m (653 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) round concrete tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. This is the landfall light for the islands, guiding vessels arriving from Ecuador. Located on the eastern slope of Cerro San Joaquin. Site status unknown. ARLHS GAL-001; Admiralty G3104; NGA 0333.
* Patricio Hill (San Cristóbal)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); red light, 2 s on, 8 s off. 4 m (13 ft) square pyramidal metal tower mounted atop a 2-story building. Tower painted red with a white band at the base. Located on a hill above the harbor of Puerto Barquerizo Moreno. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GAL-006; Admiralty G3102; NGA 0331.
* Playa Man (Playaman, San Cristóbal) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 8 m (26 ft); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow with red trim and a red band around the gallery. Iris Diensthuber's photo is at the top of this page, Pat Young has a photo, a panoramic view of the lighthouse and harbor is also available, and Google has a satellite view. NGA formerly listed a very small light at this location. Located on a rocky point north of Puerto Barquerizo Moreno near the southwestern tip of the island. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GAL-007; Admiralty G3101.5; NGA 0329.
* Punta Lido (Playa Carola)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); one long (1.5 s) white flash every 10 s. 7 m (23 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted red with one white horizontal band. Paul Rollins has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory at the northern entrance to the bay of Puerto Barquerizo Moreno, the principal settlement on the island. Accessible by a short hike from the town. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS GAL-011; Admiralty G3101; NGA 0328.

Isla Española Lighthouse
Note: Española is a small, uninhabited island about 55 km (35 mi) south of San Cristóbal.
Punta Suarez (Española) (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 12 m (39 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round hourglass-shaped metal tower, painted with black and yellow horizontal bands. Brian Chow's photo is at right, Richard Gleick has a photo, Fritz Stugren has another photo, a sunset view taken from the sea is also available, and Bing has a distant satellite view. NGA lists a much smaller fiberglass light with a focal plane of 6 m (20 ft) at this location. Located at the western tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3105; NGA 0370.2.
Punta Suarez Light
Punta Suarez Light, Isla Española, November 2010
Flickr photo copyright Brian Chow; used by permission

Isla Baltra and Isla Santa Cruz Lighthouses
Note: Santa Cruz is an elliptical island at the center of the archipelago; Cerro Crocker, the dormant volcano that formed the island, rises to a height of 864 m (2835 ft). Puerto Ayora, on the southern coast of the island, is the largest settlement of the archipelago; it has a population of about 12,000. Baltra is a smaller, relatively flat island just off the north coast of Santa Cruz. The U.S. established an airbase on Baltra during World War II, and this airport remains one of the two airports of the islands.
Aeolian (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 30 m (98 ft); two long (1.5 s) white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 27 m (89 ft) triangular steel skeletal tower, painted red. The top of the tower carries a daymark in the form of five red horizontal bars. Trabas has Arno Siering's photo (also seen at right), and Bing has a distant satellite view. NGA lists an 8 m (26 ft) fiberglass tower at this location. Located on a cape on the northwestern coast of Baltra. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3108; NGA 0356.
* Puerto Ayora (3)
2010. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); two yellow flashes every 10 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) triangular steel skeletal tower, painted red. The top of the tower carries a daymark in the form of four red horizontal bars. Trabas has Arno Siering's photo, the light is on the right in a view from the sea, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. NGA formerly listed a 12 m (39 ft) concrete tower here, and before that it listed a "metal structure." Puerto Ayora, on the southern side of the Isla de Santa Cruz, is the largest settlement in the Galápagos. Located on Punta Estrada, a rocky point on the west side of the harbor. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3107; NGA 0360.
* Puerto Ayora Water Tower
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); one long (1.5 s) yellow flash every 10 s. 24 m (79 ft) concrete column supporting a drum-shaped water tank. Tank painted red. Trabas has Arno Siering's photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the western edge of Puerto Ayora. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3107.1; NGA 0362.

Isla Santiago Lighthouses
Note: Santiago is an uninhabited island northwest of Isla Santa Cruz.
Isla Santiago (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 16 m (52 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) round hourglass-shaped metal tower, painted with black and yellow horizontal bands. Trabas has Arno Siering's photo, and a 2007 photo is available, but the light is probably too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Both the Admiralty and NGA list a much smaller light for this location. Located near the western tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3111.5; NGA 0369.
Aeolian Light
Aeolian Light, Isla Baltra
photo copyright Arno Siering; used by permission

Isla Isabela Lighthouse
Note: Isabela is an the largest island of the Galápagos, located near the western end of the group. Most of the island is rugged and deserted. Puerto Villamil, at the southern end of the island, is the third largest town of the archipelago with a population of about 2000.
* Puerto General Villamil
2010. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) (?) triangular skeletal tower, painted red and carrying a daymark of four horizontal bars. A 2011 photo is available, but the light is too new to appear in Bing's satellite view. NGA has the tower height as 9 m (30 ft), and the photo suggests that the actual height is between the heights listed by the two light lists. Located just off the beach on the west side of Puerto Villamil. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty G3113; NGA 0364.

Notable faux lighthouse:

Adjoining page: East: Ecuador

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Posted October 22, 2012. Checked and revised July 9, 2014. Lighthouses: 10. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.