Lighthouses of Mexico: Southern Gulf Coast

This page includes lighthouses of the Mexican states of Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatán. Tabasco is located on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, while Campeche and Yucatán are located on the Yucatán Peninsula. All three states face the Gulf of Mexico and its southern embayment known as as the Bay of Campeche. Campeche city and Progreso are the major ports.

Some of Mexico's most impressive and historic lighthouses are located on this coast. While the U.S. Coast Guard is rapidly pulling out of the lighthouse business, in Mexico lighthouses still play an important role in coastal navigation, and new towers are still being built from time to time.

More information and photos are needed for many of lighthouses on this page. If you can add to our online knowledge, please let me know.

Mexican lighthouses are managed by the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, the cabinet agency that also manages the country's airports and seaports. Many of the larger light stations are staffed by resident civilian keepers.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. Light List numbers are from NGA Publication 110 for Caribbean lights and Publication 111 for Pacific lights.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Mexico
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Farosmex - Lighthouses of Mexico
A large portfolio of photos of Mexican lighthouses posted on Photobucket.com.
Leuchttürme in Mexiko
Photos by Andreas Köhler.
Lighthouses in Mexico
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
Cuaderno de Faros
The Mexican light list can be downloaded in two volumes, Atlantic and Pacific.

El Palmar
Punta Palmas Light (El Palmar), Celestún, May 2004
Panoramio photo copyright Xixim; permission requested

Lighthouses of Tabasco

Paraíso Lighthouses
Tupilco (3)
About 1974 (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 23 m (75 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Farosmex has a closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. The original lighthouse, a 20 m (66 ft) masonry tower, was replaced before 1953 by a skeletal tower having the same height. That lighthouse was undermined and toppled by Hurricane Brenda in 1973. The new tower was built farther inland, but recently it has also been threatened by beach erosion. The lighthouse marks a lagoon entrance west of Paraíso. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-135; CF-30-085; Admiralty J4352; NGA 15496.
Chiltepec (Puerto Chiltepec)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower with double gallery, attached to one end of a 1-story keeper's house. Entire light station is white. Farosmex has a closeup photo, a sunset view across the estuary is available, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is positioned so that from the sea it appears in the center of the entrance to the Río Chiltepec. Located on the southwest side of the river entrance on the east side of Puerto Chiltepec. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-172; CF-30-090; Admiralty J4353; NGA 15500.

Centla Lighthouse
Frontera (Río Grijalva, Tabasco River)
1882. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 6 s. 29 m (95 ft) octagonal cylindrical skeletal tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story octagonal cylindrical concrete base. Access to the lantern is by an exposed spiral staircase. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. An excellent photo is available, Farosmex has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the entrance to the Río Grijalva, a major river that has created a small delta called Punta Frontera. The historic tower is similar in design to the 1879 lighthouse at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Its focal plane was listed as 77 ft (23.5 m) as late as 1920, so apparently the tower was raised onto the concrete base in the 1920s. Located on the east side of the entrance, about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of the city of Frontera. Site status unknown, possibly open. ARLHS MEX-173; CF-30-005; Admiralty J4354; NGA 15504.

Lighthouses of Campeche

Ciudad del Carmen Area Lighthouses
* Xicalango (Jicalongo) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white light, 1 s on, 2 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the beach 185 m (600 ft) north of the lighthouse (next entry). Site open, tower closed. CF-04-235.1; Admiralty J4372; NGA 15512.
* Xicalango (Jicalongo) (Range Rear) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1853). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 6 s. 28 m (92 ft) round tower with lantern and gallery painted with red and white horizontal bands, attached to a 1-story red-roofed keeper's house. Fernando Yates has a 2013 photo, 2010 photo and a 2007 photo are available, Jorge Baños Hdez has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The range guides vessels into the western entrance to the Laguna de Terminos west of Ciudad del Carmen. The front light is on a 12 m (39 ft) skeletal tower at the beach due north of the lighthouse. Located beside highway 180 about 6 km (3.5 mi) west of the bridge crossing the inlet from Ciudad del Carmen. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-138; CF-04-235; Admiralty J4372.1; NGA 15516.
* Punta Atalaya (Ciudad del Carmen) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); three flashes, alternating white and red, every 12 s. 21 m (66 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with one very narrow black horizontal band. A 2007 photo and another recent photo are available, and Google has a satellite view. Michel Forand contributed a postcard image of the original lighthouse to Lighthouse Explorer, and Huelse has an older postcard view. Located on the west end of Isla del Cármen, marking the east side of the western entrance to the Laguna de Términos, west of Ciudad del Cármen. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-010; CF-04-100; Admiralty J4374; NGA 15520.
*** Isla Aguada (Punta del Tigre, Faro del Tigre) (1)
1908. Inactive (a decorative light is displayed). 20 m (66 ft) square concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, rising from one corner of a 2-story concrete keeper's house. Entire lighthouse is white. A photo is at right, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The lighthouse was long abandoned, but in 2010 the state port authority restored it thoroughly and opened a museum in the light station. This is the first of several tourist developments planned for the state's lighthouses. The town of Isla Aguada, on the east side of the northeastern entrance to the Laguna de Términos, is about 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Ciudad del Cármen. Located on the main street of Isla Aguada, two blocks north of the former ferry terminal and one block east of highway 180. Site and museum open, tower status unknown.
*** Punta del Tigre (Faro del Tigre, Isla Aguada) (2) (Range Rear)
Date unknown (station established 1908). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); four white flashes every 15 s. 20 m (66 ft) slender round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, although it was formerly painted with narrow red and white horizontal bands. A tourist site has a photo showing the red bands, a more recent photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located about 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Ciudad del Cármen. Site and museum open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-174; CF-04-085.1; Admiralty J4384.1; NGA 15540.
Faro de Isla Aguada
1908 Isla Aguada Light, November 2010
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Bea Lozano
#Sabancuy (1)
Date unknown. Inactive. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The light is displayed from the top of a square skeletal mast placed on top of the lighthouse. Manuel Palomo has a photo, Köhler has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. However, Bing's satellite view shows that the lighthouse has been removed. Located on the east side of the dredged channel through the barrier beach at Sabancuy. Site open, tower closed.
* Sabancuy (2)
Date unknown (around 2009). Active; focal plane 21 m (62 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Köhler has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the dredged channel through the barrier beach at Sabancuy. Site open, tower closed. CF-04-070; Admiralty J4386; NGA 15544.

Champotón Lighthouse
* Champotón (Río Champotón) (3)
Date unknown (station established 1897). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with gallery; the light is displayed in a small lantern on a short mast. Lighthouse painted white, gallery black, lantern red. Trabas has a photo by Arno Siering, Köhler has a photo, Vladimir Herman Miguel has a 2007 photo, and a closeup is available, but the tower is hard to find in Google's satellite view. The lighthouse marks the river entrance in Champotón about 60 km (40 mi) south southwest of Campeche. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-093; CF-04-065; Admiralty J4388; NGA 15548.

Ciudad de San Francisco de Campeche Lighthouses
Punta Morro
1896. Active; focal plane 54 m (177 ft); three white flashes every 6 s. 16 m (52 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. 2-story keeper's house. A 2004 photo and a 2012 closeup photo of the tower are available, Rodolfo Israel has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse marks a steep headland about 30 km (20 mi) southwest of Campeche. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-090; CF-04-060; Admiralty J4392; NGA 15552.
Cerro de San Bartolo (San Bartolo Hill, Faro de San Miguel)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 78 m (256 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a square keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white. Köhler's photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. The scarcity of photos of this prominent lighthouse is surprising. Located atop a high hill just off the Avenida Escénica about 3 km (2 mi) southwest of downtown Campeche. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-094; CF-04-010; Admiralty J4400; NGA 15564.
San Bartolo Light
Cerro de San Bartolo Light, Campeche, March 2010
photo copyright Andreas Köhler; used by permission
* Campeche (Templo de San José)
1865. Inactive. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical tower with octagonal gallery and watch room. The lighthouse is one of the two steeples of an 18th century church, the Templo de San José, converted to a light tower. Köhler has a photo, a good closeupand another closeup are available, and Google has a satellite view. The building has not been used as a church since 1914; in 1934 it became the city's archaeological museum, and today it serves as a cultural center. The lighthouse was deactivated in favor of the San Bartolo lighthouse (previous entry). Tower painted white, lantern roof black. Located in the center of the city. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-105.

Calkiní Lighthouse
* Isla Arena
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flashes every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with three ribs, lantern and gallery, painted white. A closeup photo is available, Moises Rebolledo has a view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. The island is being developed as a tourist attraction, and in 2011 the Campeche port authority opened a visitor center at the lighthouse. Located at the southern tip of an island (really a long spit) just offshore near Calkiní, about 25 km (15 mi) south of Celestún. The island is accessible by bridge. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-107; CF-04-005; Admiralty J4403; NGA 15584.

Offshore Lighthouses of the Bay of Campeche
Cayos Arcas Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); white light, 1 s on, 2 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, and the tower makes only a spot in Google's satellite view. Located on the beach 80 m (260 ft) west of the lighthouse (next entry). Site open, tower closed. CF-04-055; Admiralty J4358; NGA 15571.
Cayos Arcas (Range Rear) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1898). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) round concrete tower with gallery and a small lantern. Lighthouse painted white. 1-story keeper's house and other station buildings. A closeup photo is available, the lighthouse is seen in Joaquin Perez Mata's aerial photos of the cays, and Google has a satellite view. The Cayos Arcas reef is located in the Bay of Campeche about 130 km (80 mi) west of Campeche city; it is administered under the municipality of Champotón. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-025; CF-04-055.1; Admiralty J4358.1; NGA 15572.
Isla de Triángulos (West Triangle Reef)
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 22 m (72 ft) rectangular cylindrical tower, painted red. Trabas has a good photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs (also seen at right), but the cay is only a blur in Google's satellite view. This is a supposed to be a staffed station, but when Dick Wedge visited this site on 23 January 2001, he found the lighthouse operating but unmanned and "damaged." The reef is located in the Bay of Campeche about 190 km (120 mi) west of Celestún. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-079; CF-04-050; Admiralty J4364; NGA 15576.
Cayo Arenas (2)
Date unknown (station established 1903). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); white light, 2 s on, 10 s off. 20 m (66 ft) square concrete tower with double gallery. Lighthouse painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo Hinrichs's photo, an excellent closeup and an aerial photo are available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The cay is far out in the Gulf about 200 km (125 mi) northwest of El Palmar, the northwesternmost point of the Yucatán Peninsula. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-004; CF-04-045; Admiralty J4368; NGA 15580.
Faro Triángulo Oeste
Isla de Triángulos (West Triangle Reef) Light
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission

Lighthouses of Yucatán


Western Coast (Litoral Poniente) Lighthouses
* Celestún Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light, 1 s on, 2 s off. 13 m (43 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This is the entrance range for Celestún's small boat harbor. Located on the south side of the entrance. Site open, tower closed. CF-031-315; Admiralty J4404.2; NGA 15588.3.
* Celestún Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 17 m (56 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located about 275 m (900 ft) east southeast of the front light. Site open, tower closed. CF-031-315.1; Admiralty J4404.3; NGA 15588.4.
* Celestún (2? 3?)
Date unknown (station established 1880). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 12 m (40 ft) cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern roof is black. A photo is at right, Jeremy Brett has a good photo, Köhler has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The photos also show a square stone tower, leaning precariously. This is perhaps an older, abandoned lighthouse, but light lists do not mention any such tower. A cast iron skeletal tower was built here in 1905. Located on the beach in the center of Celestún, which is accessible by a paved road (RF 281) from Mérida. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS MEX-007; CF-031-0310; Admiralty J4404; NGA 15588.
Punta Palmas ("El Palmar")
Date unknown (around 1950?). Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 39 m (128 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from 1-story keeper's house. The photo at the top of this page was taken by staff of Eco Paraíso, a nearby resort. Edgardo Gutierrez has a photo, a closeup and an aerial view are available, and Google has a satellite view. This is Mexico's tallest traditional lighthouse (the modern Gran Puerto de Cancún tower is taller). In fact, it is the tallest lighthouse of Middle America, so it deserves much better recognition; its remote location has kept it relatively unknown. It is generally known by its nickname, El Palmar. Located at the end of federal highway 281, near the northwestern corner of the peninsula, north of Celestún. Accessible by boat or by 4WD vehicle over dirt roads from Celestún. Site and tower open. ARLHS MEX-125; CF-031-305; Admiralty J4406; NGA 15592.

Celestún Light, Celestún, July 2003
Flickr Creative Commons photo by NCReedplayer

Progreso Metropolitan Region Lighthouses
Sisal
Date unknown (station established 1852). Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on the walls of a colonial fort, the Fuerte de Sisal. Tower painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern painted black. Köhler has a photo, Wikimedia has a photo, F. Robles also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. NGA has lowered the focal plane of this light from 22 m, so the light may have been relocated to a lower tower. More information is needed on this site. Located in Sisal, the historic seaport of the Yucatán, about 40 km (25 mi) northwest of Mérida. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-019; CF-031-290; Admiralty J4409; NGA 15604.
Isla Pérez (Scorpion Reef) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1901). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); two white flashes every 8 s. 18 m (59 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Several 1-story keeper's houses. This is a staffed station. A photo is at right, Desiderio Caamal Hoyos has a fine closeup and a more distant view, Trabas has Capt. Theo Hinrichs's view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. In Felipe Concha-Alonzo's 2004 photo the lighthouse is painted all red, but it is red and white in a 2007 photo. The original lighthouse was one of nine cast iron towers given to Mexico by the British government and built by the British firm Chance Brothers. The original wood keeper's house survives in poor condition; there is interest in Progreso in restoring it. The cay, at the south end of the Arrecife Alacrán (Scorpion Reef) is in the Gulf about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Progreso. Accessible only by boat; transportation from Progreso can be hired. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-085; CF-031-265; Admiralty J4414; NGA 15596.
Faro Isla Pérez
Isla Pérez Light, August 2007
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Yodigo
* Yucalpetén (Yukalpetén) Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white light, 1 s on, 2 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery. The front of the tower is covered with a red slatted daymark. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This is the entrance range for Progreso's harbor and the Laguna de Yucalpetén. Located on the docks on the west side of the harbor. Site open, tower closed. CF-031-175; Admiralty J4411; NGA 15617.
Yucalpetén (Yukalpetén) Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal steel skeletal tower with gallery. The front of the tower is covered with a red slatted daymark. Ricardo Villanueva has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located in a drydock area 195 m (640 ft) south of the front light. Site status unknown. CF-031-175.1; Admiralty J4411.1; NGA 15617.1.
** Progreso (2)
1893 (station established 1874). Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); white flash every 6 s. 33 m (108 ft) tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern roof is black. A photo by Pedro Sanchez appears at right, Köhler has a nice closeup, Michael Vinson has a 2007 closeup, Jon Lebkowski has a 2009 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Progreso is the modern seaport of the Yucatán, about 32 km (20 mi) north of Mérida. Located in the downtown section of the city, two blocks from the ocean. Site open, tower open with keeper's permission. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-086; CF-031-160; Admiralty J4416; NGA 15620.

Central Coast (Litoral Centro) Lighthouses
* Telchac
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three white flashes every 8 s. 12 m (39 ft) concrete tower with four ribs, lantern and gallery. Köhler has a photo, a 2008 closeup and a sunset view are available, and Tim Sexton also has a photo, but the tower is hard to spot in Google's satellite view. Located just off the beach at Telchac Puerto about 55 km (33 mi) east of Progreso. Site open. ARLHS MEX-150; CF-031-140; Admiralty J4418; NGA 15632.
* Dzilám de Bravo (2)
Date unknown (station established 1960s?). Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern, gallery, and four ribs. A 2008 photo is available, Wikimedia has a photo, the Mexican ecological protection agency Conobio also has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located about 700 m (0.4 mi) west of the harbor entrance at Dzilám de Bravo, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Telchac. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-150; CF-031-120; Admiralty J4419; NGA 15636.
Progreso Lighthouse
Progreso Light, Progreso, July 2006
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Pedro Sanchez

Eastern Coast (Litoral Orente) Lighthouses
Yalkubul (2)
Date unknown (station established 1909). Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); four white flashes every 16 s. 20 m (66 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Two 1-story keeper's houses. The shadow of the lighthouse is conspicuous in a Google satellite view. The lighthouse is gravely endangered by beach erosion, and the government announced a beach stabilization project designed to protect it. Apparently, this project was carried out by the U.S.-based Reef Ball Foundation, which has several photos of the effort. However, as of May 2009 the lighthouse was still standing in the surf. The light station is located in a nature reserve, the Parque Natural San Felipe. Located on the beach about 120 km (75 mi) east of Progreso and 15 mi (25 km) west of Río Lagartos. The station is probably accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS MEX-092; CF-031-115; Admiralty J4420; NGA 15640.
* Río Lagartos
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Keeper's house. A photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, Rodney Shupe has a photo, Luis Arceo has a 2010 closeup, Köhler has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the tip of a peninsula in Río Lagartos. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS MEX-129; CF-031-034; Admiralty J4421; NGA 15644.
*** El Cuyo (Monte de Cuyo) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1907). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); three white flashes every 12 s. Approx. 12 m (40 ft) cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands, built atop a Mayan ruin. Köhler has a photo, Martin Hunter has a 2008 photo, another closeup is available, the Villa Xamen-nah resort has additional photos (halfway down the page), and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was repaired after being damaged by Hurricane Wilma in October 2005. Located on the main street in El Cuyo, a beach town about 30 miles west of Cabo Catoche. Site open; keys to the lighthouse are available from the port captain's office. ARLHS MEX-116; CF-031-005; Admiralty J4422; NGA 15648.
Faro Río Lagartos
Río Lagartos Light, Río Lagartos, April 2008
Panoramio photo copyright markusz; permission requested

Information available on lost lighthouses

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: Northwest: Veracruz | East: Mexico Caribbean Coast

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Posted December 2004. Checked and revised August 25, 2013. Lighthouses: 33. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.