Lighthouses of Southern Panamá

This page includes lighthouses of Panamá's southern (Pacific) coast. There is another page for lighthouses of the Caribbean coast, including Gatún Lake.

As one might expect, many of the lighthouses of Panamá are associated with passage through the Panama Canal. The Canal opened on 15 August 1914, after ten years of U.S. construction following earlier work by a French company.

In 1903, shortly after winning its independence from Colombia, Panama granted the U.S. extraterritorial jurisdiction over the Canal Zone. The Zone remained under exclusive U.S. control until the Panama Canal Treaty, ratified in 1978, provided for its restoration to Panama. Under the treaty, Panama assumed full operation of the Canal at the end of 1999. The U.S. Panama Canal Commission, which operated the canal until the reversion, is now the Autoridad del Canal de Panamá (Panama Canal Authority).

Some 35 range lighthouses were constructed initially to help guide ships through the Canal, and many of these lighthouses are reported still in service. However, no list of the lighthouses is available, and not all of them are listed here. Further information would certainly be very welcome.

The Authority is doubling the capacity of the Canal by constructing a two new flights of locks and widening and deepening the entire route. However, the original locks will not be removed; to maximize capacity both sets of locks will be operated. Groundbreaking for this enormous project was held in September 2007, and the new locks began operating in June 2016. Fortunately, it appears that it will not be necessary to remove any of the historic lighthouses to construct the new locks and channels.

A note is on order on geography. The Isthmus of Panama runs east to west, and the Atlantic (Caribbean) coast lies north of the Pacific coast. Accordingly, northbound on the Canal means toward the Atlantic, and southbound is toward the Pacific.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals for the Atlantic coast and from volume G for the Pacific coast. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 110 for the Atlantic coast and from Publication 111 for the Pacific coast. The lights of the Panamá Canal itself are not listed by the Admiralty or by NGA.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Panama (Pacific)
Photos by Capts. Peter Mosselberger and Theo Hinrichs, posted by Alexander Trabas.
Panama Canal Range Lights
(652 kB pdf document) This report by Jan Rommers is a careful study of the lighthouses seen on a passage northward through the Canal on 29 January 2009. Photos are included for all the lighthouses seen.
Panamá Canal Lights - Page 2
Photos contributed by Jim and Hilari Seeri following an April 2010 passage through the Canal.
Panama Canal Lighthouses
Flickr album of photos taken by Larry Myhre in May 2012.
World of Lighthouses - Panama
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses of Panama
Photos from around 2000 posted by Snow W. Frost.
Lighthouses in Panama
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Royal Geographical Society Map - Panama Canal 1914
This historic map shows the locations of the original range lights around Gatún Lake.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karabik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.
Miraflores Range Front Light
 Balboa Northbound Front Light, Miraflores, May 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre

Eastern Gulf of Panamá Lighthouses

Darién Province Lighthouses
Punta Cocalito
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white flash every 10 s. 12 m (40 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a promontory at the mouth of the Río Cocal, about 13 km (8 mi) northwest of the Colombian border. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3153.5; NGA 111-0170.
Punta Piña
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (40 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory at the entrance to the bay of Puerto Piña, about 10 km (6 mi) northwest of Jaqué and 50 km (30 mi) northwest of the Colombian border. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3154; NGA 111-0168.

Panamá Province: Pearl Islands Lighthouse
Isla Galera
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 61 m (200 ft); one long white flash every 15 s. 12 m (40 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. This light is on the southeasternmost island of the Pearl Islands, a large archipelago in the eastern Gulf of Panamá. Located at the highest point of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-004; Admiralty G3187; NGA 111-0157.

Panamá Province: Panamá Canal Lighthouses

Miraflores Area Lighthouses
* Balboa (Miraflores) Northbound Front
1914. Active; continuous green light. Roughly 9 m (30 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white on the front (south-facing) side and black on the rear. Myhre's 2012 photo is at the top of this page, a fine 2013 photo is available, Lightphotos.net has a closeup, the Rommers report has nighttime and daytime photos (page 1), and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse faces northbound (Atlantic-bound) ships approaching the Miraflores locks from the Pacific on the Balboa Reach. The new locks are being built west of the old ones, which will not disturb the historic lighthouses. Located on the east side of the Canal just south of the Miraflores Locks. Site open, and the view from ships passing through the locks is excellent; tower closed. ARLHS PAN-033.
* Balboa (Miraflores) Northbound Rear
1914. Active; occulting green light. Roughly 15 m (50 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Elisabeth D'Orcy has a closeup photo, a 2013 photo is available, the Rommers report has a photo (page 1), and Bing has a satellite view. Myhre's May 2012 photo shows the lighthouse freshly repainted. The lighthouse is located about 500 m (0.3 mi) east of the Miraflores Locks beside the Avenida Omar Torrijos, the main road paralleling the canal. Site open; tower closed. ARLHS PAN-030.

Balboa Area Lighthouses
Pacific Entrance Range Rear (1)
1914. Inactive since 1962(?). Roughly 25 m (82 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted black. Myhre's photo is at right, the Seerys have a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Huelse has a postcard view of the original front light in which the original rear light is visible in the distance (lower right). This lighthouse is similar to the well-known Gatún Northbound Rear Light (see the Atlantic Panamá page), but it is abandoned, forgotten, and clearly endangered. Located about 1.6 km (1 mi) southwest of the Miraflores Locks. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-031.
#Pacific Entrance Range Rear (2)
1962(?) (station established 1914). Demolished in 2010-11. This was a 30.5 m (100 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo of the light, and the Seerys have a 2010 photo of all three range lights, but Google's satellite view no longer shows a tower. Located about 1000 m (0.6 mi) west of the Canal in the area of the former U.S. Navy Depot. Site status unknown.
#Pacific Entrance Range Middle
1962(?). Demolished in 2010-11. This was an approx. 20 m (66 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a large white daymark facing the range line. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Peter Mosselberger, the Seerys have a photo of all three lights of this range, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Canal north of the present range lights.
Pacific Entrance Range Rear Light
1914 Pacific Entrance Range Rear Light, Balboa, May 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre
Pacific Entrance Range Rear (3)
2010-11. Active; focal plane about 45 m (148 ft); green light occulting every 3.5 s (white light occulting every 3.5 s during the day). Approx. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying rectangular white daymark panels. Myhre has a 2012 photo, and this is the taller tower in James Smith's photo at right. Located to the north of the 1914 front range light (next entry). Site status unknown. Admiralty G3200.1; NGA 111-0108.
Pacific Entrance Range Front (1)
1914. Inactive since 1962(?). 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted black. The Seerys have a photo, Myhre has a 2012 photo, the lighthouse is seen in James Smith's photo at right, and Google has a satellite view. The abandoned lighthouse is clearly endangered. Located on the west bank of the Canal about 2 km (1.25 mi) north of the Bridge of the Americas. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-032.
Pacific Entrance Range Front (3)
2010-11 (station established 1914). Active; focal plane about 25 m (82 ft); continuous green light. Approx. 13 m (46 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying rectangular white daymark panels. Myhre has a 2012 photo, and the tower is at the left in James Smith's photo at right. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo of the 1962 light, the Seerys have a photo of all three lights of this range as they appeared in 2010, and Google has a satellite view. It appears that the original range lights were replaced with taller towers when the Bridge of the Americas was built (1959-62), in order to maintain visibility of the lights against the competing lights of the bridge. Located on the west side of the Canal north of the Bridge of the Americas in Balboa. Site status unknown, possibly open; tower closed. Admiralty G3200; NGA 111-0104.
Pacific Entrance Range Lights
Pacific Entrance Range Lights, Balboa, 2011
photo copyright James Smith; used by permission
Balboa Southbound Front (2)
1962(?). Active; occulting green light. Roughly 9 m (30 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a rectangular white daymark, mounted on a square concrete platform supported by piles. A photo of the old and new front lighthouses is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located about 150 m (165 yd) northwest of the historic lighthouse (next entry). Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed.
Balboa Southbound Front (1)
1914. Inactive, probably since 1962. Roughly 9 m (30 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted black, mounted on a square concrete pier. A 2005 photo is available, Lightphotos.net has a photo, there is a photo of the old and new front lighthouses, and Google has a satellite view. This range guided ships leaving the Miraflores Locks and departing the Canal. The range was probably deactivated around 1962, when the Bridge of the Americas was completed, requiring a small adjustment in the line of the range. The light was moved to a short skeletal tower (previous entry). Located on the west side of the Canal channel just north of the bridge in Balboa. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS PAN-038.
Balboa Southbound Rear (1)
1914. Inactive, probably since 1962. Roughly 13 m (43 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted black. Peter Reinhold has a 2013 closeup photo, Magda Camff has a view from the canal, the Seerys have a photo, Myhre has a 2012 photo of both southbound rear lights, and Google has a satellite view. This light is located perhaps 100 m (330 ft) south of the Pacific Entrance Range Front Light. Located on the west side of the Canal just south of the Bridge of the Americas in Balboa. Site status unknown, possibly open; tower closed. ARLHS PAN-039.
Balboa Southbound Rear (2)
1962(?). Active; occulting green light. Roughly 13 m (43 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower carrying a large white daymark facing the range line. The Seerys have a photo, Myhre has a 2012 photo of both southbound rear lights, and Google has a satellite view. Located a few feet northwest of the original lighthouse. Site status unknown, possibly open; tower closed.
Flamenco Island (Pacific Signal Station)
1920s. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); alternating white and red lights, occulting every 5 s. No tower: lantern mounted directly on the face of a steep bluff. Trabas has Capt. Peter's photo (also seen at right), Myhre has a 2012 view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Located on an island about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of the Canal entrance. The island, site of a popular restaurant and marina, is connected to the mainland by the Amador Causeway, but we don't know if there is any public access to the signal station area. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-024; Admiralty G3198; NGA 111-0096.
Flamenco Island Light
Flamenco Island Light, Balboa, December 2013
photo copyright Capt. Peter Mosselberger; used by permission

Western Gulf of Panamá Lighthouses

Panamá Oeste Province Lighthouses
Peñon Limoncillo (Isla Chama)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 2 s on, 13 s off. Approx. 14 m (46 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo Hinrich's distant photo, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located atop a huge rock off the northern tip of Isla Chama, about 20 km (13 mi) south of the Canal entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3216; NGA 111-0060.
Isla Boná
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 54 m (173 ft); white light, 3 s on, 10 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo Hinrich's distant photo, but the tower is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view. Located atop a huge rock off the southern tip of Isla Boná, about 30 km (19 mi) south of the Canal entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-001; Admiralty G3222; NGA 111-0052.

Los Santos Province Lighthouses
Isla Villa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); white light, 1.8 s on, 16.2 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white. The light is just barely visible in Rubén Castillo's distant view of the island (click on the photo for enlargement), and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located atop a huge rock about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) off the west coast of the Gulf near Chitré. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3240; NGA 111-0046.
Isla Iguana
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 13 s. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo Hinrich's photo, René de Léon has a view of the lighthouse, a distant view is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the east side of the island, about 18 km (11 mi) north of Punta Mala. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-005; Admiralty G3243; NGA 111-0047.
Punta Mala (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1914). Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white light, 5 s on, 15 s off. 33 m (108 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower mounted on a square cylindrical concrete skeletal base. The pyramidal portion of the tower is enclosed on at least 3 sides by a slatted daymark. Entire lighthouse is white. Trabas has Capt. Theo Hinrich's photo (also seen at right), and Bing has a satellite view. The Smithsonian Institution has a 1948 photo showing an earlier skeletal tower at this station. Note: Lighthouse Explorer has a page with a photo by Nancy Rau of a concrete lighthouse; this is in fact a photo of the original Balboa Southbound Rear Light (see above). Another photo (next to last photo on the page) claimed to be of Punta Mala also shows the Balboa Southbound Rear Light. There was never a concrete lighthouse at Punta Mala. Located atop the headland at Punta Mala. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-013; Admiralty G3242; NGA 111-0048.
Punta Mala Light
Punta Mala Light, Pedasi
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission

Western Pacific Coast Lighthouses

Los Santos Province Lighthouses
Frailes del Sur
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); red flash every 4 s. 12 m (40 ft) pyramidal concrete tower, painted white. Darién Montañez posted the photo at right, and Bing has a satellite view. The ruined doorway at left may be from a former keeper's house. Located on a rocky islet about 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Punta Mala. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-025; Admiralty G3246; NGA 111-0044.
Morro de Puercos
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 84 m (276 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 15 m (49 ft) square cylindrical 2-stage skeletal tower, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo's view from the sea, Anel Gòmez also has a view from the sea (the light is near the bottom of this giant cliff; click on the photo for enlargement), and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a promontory of the Azuero Peninsula near the southernmost point of Panamá. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3250; NGA 111-0040.

Veraguas Province Lighthouses
Punta Mariato
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 102 m (335 ft); white flash every 30 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo's view from the sea, but the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located on the cape at the southwestern corner of the Azuero Peninsula. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3252; NGA 111-0038.
Isla Jicarita
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 102 m (335 ft); white flash every 15 s. 15 m (49 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo's view from the sea, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the southern tip of Isla Jicarita, an island south of Isla Coiba, the largest island of Central America. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Site manager: Isla Coiba National Park. ARLHS PAN-007; Admiralty G3262; NGA 111-0028.

Chiriquí Province Lighthouses
Isla Ensillada
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 62 m (203 ft); white flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a distant satellite view. Located on a small island in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3269; NGA 111-0022.

Frailes del Sur Light, Las Tablas, July 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Darién Montañez
Isla Montuosa
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white light, 2 s on, 5 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo of the island, but trees hide the lighthouse, and it has not seen in Google's satellite view of the island. Located on a remote island in the mouth of the Gulf of Chiriquí. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3264; NGA 111-0020.
Isla Ladrones
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); white light, 3 s on, 6 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the island. Located on a remote island about 55 km (35 mi) northwest of Isla Montuosa and a similar distance east southeast of Isla Burica. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty G3266; NGA 111-0012.
Isla Burica
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (111 ft); white flash every 10 s. 10 m (33 ft) fiberglass tower. No photo avalable, but Bing has a distant satellite view. The Burica Peninsula, about 35 km (22 mi) long, extends southward into the Pacific on the border between Panamá and Costa Rica. About 2/3 of the peninsula lies in Panamá, including Punta Burica at the end. The lighthouse is at the highest point of an island just off Punta Burica. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAN-002; Admiralty G3280; NGA 111-0004.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Panamá | South: Western Colombia | West: Costa Rica

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Posted April 2001. Checked and revised July 2, 2016. Lighthouses: 29. Site copyright 2015 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.