Lighthouses of Haiti
Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola, with
the Dominican Republic occupying the rest of the island. A former
French colony, Haiti revolted against French rule and won its independence
in 1804. Sadly, it is one of the world's poorest nations, and for
many years it has been torn by insurrection and unrest. Its historic
lighthouses were built in the late 1800s or during the U.S. military
occupation between 1915 and 1934. Some of those that survive are
abandoned and deteriorating, like the Point Picolet lighthouse shown
It is difficult to obtain accurate reports from Haiti, and tourism
there is practically nonexistent. As a result, little is known about
some of these lighthouses, their condition, whether they are in operation,
or even whether they still exist. Any information would be welcome.
(Thanks to Michel Forand, who contributed much of the historical
information on this page from older light lists.)
On 12 January 2010, Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince
was essentially destroyed by a devastating earthquake.
Aids to navigation in Haiti are presumably the responsibility of the
Portuaire Nationale, or APN). The only active ports are Port-au-Prince
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 - Haiti
- Photos posted by Alexander Trabas; the Haiti photos are by Capt. Theo Hinrichs.
- World of Lighthouses- Haiti
- Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
- Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Pointe du Lamentin Light, Carrefour, February 2013
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission
- South Coast Lighthouses
- Île Vache (Île-à-Vaches)
- Date unknown (station established 1922). Active(?); focal plane
unknown; six quick white flashes followed by one long white flash
every 15 s. Described by NGA only as a "square white tower."
No photo available, but Google has a satellite
view suggesting a tower perhaps 15 m (49 ft) tall. This might
be the original lighthouse, which had a focal plane height of 10
m (33 ft). Île
Vache is an island about 13 km (8 mi) long lying off Haiti's
southwestern peninsula. The island has several resorts, among
the few in Haiti. Located at the eastern tip of the island. Site
status unknown. Admiralty J5370; NGA 14158.
- 1960s(?) (station established 1925). Inactive. White steel tower
with a red lantern, according to Lighthouse Explorer. No photo available, but Bing's satellite
view shows that a tower of some sort survives at this station. Located
at the southwestern tip of the Gravois peninsula in far southwestern
Haiti. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS-007.
Gulf of Gonâve Lighthouses
- Note: The Gulf of Gonâve is the large gulf indenting the west coat of Haiti. The capital, Port-au-Prince, is at the head of the gulf. The Île de la Gonâve is a large island in the center of the gulf; the island is 60 km (37 mi) long and 15 km (9 mi) wide.
- Grande Cayemite (Grande Île des Cayemites) (2?)
- Date unknown (station established 1925). Active(?); focal plane 16.5 m
(54 ft); very quick-flashing white light. 13 m (43 ft) square skeletal tower
with gallery and a small lantern. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red.
No photo available, but Google has a satellite
view of the station. The original lighthouse was described similarly but had a focal
plane height of only 13 m (43 ft). Grand Cayemite is an elliptical island,
about 13 by 5 km (8 by 3 mi) in dimensions, lying in the Gulf of Gonâve
off the north coast of Haiti's southwestern peninsula. Located at the
northern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown.
Admiralty J5380; NGA 14164.
- Pointe Ouest (2)
- Date unknown (station established 1925). Active(?); focal plane 85 m (279
ft); four white flashes every 15 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal
tower with gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. A view from the sea is available, and an indistinct Google satellite
view shows the station. An earlier lighthouse had a focal plane of 16
m (52 ft). This lighthouse warns ships approaching the Île de la
Gonâve. The island
is 60 km (37 mi) long and 15 km (9 mi) wide. Located on the western point
of Île de la Gonâve. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5382; NGA 14168.
- Pointe Fantasque
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (50
ft); six quick white flashes and one long white flash every 15 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal
tower with gallery and a small lantern. Entire lighthouse painted white.
Trabas has Capt. Hinrichs's view from the sea (also seen at right), and Google has a satellite
view. Located on the southeastern point
of Île de la Gonâve. Site status unknown. Accessible only by boat. . Admiralty J5384; NGA 14184.
- * Pointe du Lamentin
- Date unknown (station established 1864(?)). Active; focal plane 32 m (106
ft); white flash every 3 s. 29 m (95 ft) quadrupod cast iron tower
with lantern, gallery, and central cylinder, painted white; lantern dome painted green. A photo by Capt. Hinrichs is at the top of the page, and Google has
view. This is a historic lighthouse of architectural significance.
The lighthouse sustained some damage during the quake, but the damage has been repaired. Located on a peninsula
jutting into the Baie de Port-au-Prince at Carrefour, about 5 km (3 mi)
west of the city. Carrefour is a very poor neighborhood and casual travel
there is not advisable, but the lighthouse should be visible from ships
arriving in Port-au-Prince. Site status unknown. ARLHS HAI-001; Admiralty
J5390; NGA 14192.
Pointe Fantasque Light, Île de la Gonâve, February 2013
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission
- #Port-au-Prince Range Front
- Date unknown (station established 1917). Destroyed by the earthquake of
12 January 2010. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) cathedral tower with the light mounted
near the top. The cathedral was white; the dome of the tower was gold. The
light was attached to the cupola atop the north tower of the Cathédrale
de Port-au-Prince. Eric Tremblay has a 2005 photo of the cathedral, but Google's most recent satellite
view shows the devastation caused by the quake. Located in downtown
Port-au-Prince. Site and cathedral open, tower closed. ARLHS HAI-008; ex-Admiralty
J5396; ex-NGA 14196.
- Lafiteau Range Rear
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 25 m (82 ft); continuous red light. Light mounted on a tower rising from a large industrial building. Trabas has Capt. Hinrich's 2013 photo. Google's satellite view shows that this building collapsed in the earthquake, but it has been rebuilt. The front light is somewhere on the skeletal structure on the pier at left in the photo. Lafiteau is a town about 15 km (9 mi) north of Port-au-Prince. Located near the pier in Lafiteau. Site status unknown. Admiralty
J5399.1; NGA 14216.
- Les Arcadins
- 1882. Active; focal plane 12.5 m (41 ft); two white flashes every
5 s. 9 m (30 ft) cylindrical cast iron tower with lantern and gallery.
Lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is black. Lynette Behnke's
photo is at right, an April 2009 photo is
available, Trabas has a distant view by Capt. Hinrichs, and Bing has a satellite
view. This lighthouse is a typical 19th century French tourelle,
one of many installed all around the world. The three small islands
known as the Arcadins are hazards in the Canal de Saint-Marc (St.
Mark Channel), which separates the mainland from the Île
de Gonâve, about 30 km (19 mi) northwest of Port-au-Prince.
Located on the Île du Phare, the central and largest of
the three islands. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower
closed. ARLHS HAI-006; Admiralty J5402; NGA 14220.
- Pointe de Saint-Marc
- 1924. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); nine quick white flashes
every 15 s. Approx. 12 m (39 ft) skeletal tower, painted white.
The light is on the cape at the left edge of a panoramic view (click
on the photo for enlargement), and Google's satellite
view confirms a skeletal tower on a square concrete base. Bing also has a distant satellite view. This
light marks the entrance to the Canal de Saint-Marc (St. Mark Channel).
Probably accessible only by boat. Located on the point, about 20 km (13 mi) southwest of Saint-Marc.
Site status unknown. Admiralty J5404; NGA 14224.
- Pointe Lapierre (Gonaïves)
- 1928. Active(?); focal plane 97 m (318 ft); seven very quick white
flashes followed by one long white flash every 10 s. White square
stone tower, according to NGA. Google's satellite
view suggests a short square tower with a ruined keeper's house.
Located on a steep headland on the north side of the entrance
to the Baie de Gonaïves, about 15 km (9 mi) west of the city
Site status unknown. Admiralty J5406; NGA 14228.
Phare des Arcadins, January 2008
copyright Lynette Behnke; used by permission
North Coast Lighthouses
- Cap du Mole St. Nicolas (?)
- Date unknown (station established 1922). Active; white light occulting
every 3 s. NGA reports a "white tower" without specifying either the height
or the focal plane. The 1948 Admiralty list listed a 4 m (14 ft) "white
house, red lantern" with a focal plane height of 46.5 m (153 ft). A
view probably shows the station. One would expect a lighthouse
at this location, on the extreme northwestern tip of the island facing the
Windward Passage. ARLHS HAI-002; Admiralty J5408; NGA 14230.
de la Tortue Pointe Ouest (?)
- Date unknown (station established 1924). Active (?); focal plane 23.5 m (77 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) white skeletal tower on a triangular base. No photo available. The survival of this light is questionable, since it cannot be found in Bing's satellite view. The Île de al Tortue, also known by its Spanish name Tortuga, is a substantial island off the north coast of Haiti. It was a well-known base for pirates during the heyday of Caribbean piracy, roughly 1630-1680. Located at the western tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown, probably open. ARLHS HAI-005; Admiralty J5412; NGA 14234.
- Île de la Tortue (Pointe de l'Est)
- Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 23.5 m (77 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 14 m (46 ft) skeletal tower on a triangular base, according to the NGA List. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view of the station. This tower is probably a triangular skeletal mast. Located on the eastern tip of the Île de la Tortue. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown, probably open. Admiralty J5414; NGA 14232.
Picolet (Cap-Haïtien) (1)
- 1895. Inactive. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) cast iron quadrupod tower with lantern,
gallery, and enclosed watch room. Bob Roswell's photo of the abandoned and
rusting lighthouse is at right. Roswell also has a closeup and a photo taken inside the tower, the lighthouse is seen on the right in an aerial
photo of the cape, and Huelse has a historic postcard
view of the lighthouse. The light station is not easy to find
in a Google satellite
view of the cape; the shadow of the tower is barely visible in the
center of the view. Prefabricated in France, this lighthouse is (or was)
a remarkable architectural monument. The active lighthouse at Ruhnu,
Estonia, is the only other known surviving quadrupod tower. Located on
a promontory sheltering the harbor of Cap-Haïtien, on the north
coast of Haiti. Accessible only by boat. Site open; Roswell climbed part
way up the tower but found it too dangerous to continue. ARLHS HAI-004.
- Pointe Picolet (Cap-Haïtien) (2)
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown but probably at least 100 m (328
ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical white
concrete tower. The lighthouse is seen near the top of an aerial
photo of the cape. This light is apparently quite recent, since it
has only appeared recently in a Google satellite
view. According to NGA, it is a powerful light with a
range of 55 km (35 mi). Located high above the historic lighthouse. Accessible
only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5410; NGA 14231.
Pointe Picolet Light, Cap-Haïtien, January 2008
photo copyright Bob Roswell; used
Information available on lost (or at least inactive) lighthouses:
(1888-?). The lighthouse was on Fort Islet in Port-au-Prince harbor. A recent photo and Google's satellite
view show that this tower does not survive. ARLHS HAI-003.
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining pages: North: Turks and Caicos Islands |
East: Dominican Republic | West: Jamaica |
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Posted January 4, 2007. Checked and revised October 23, 2014.
Lighthouses: 16. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill.