Lighthouses of El Salvador

The smallest country of Central America, El Salvador faces south on the Pacific and borders Guatemala on the west and Honduras on the north. Its ports include Acajutla, in the west of the country, and La Unión on the Gulf of Fonseca in the east.

Aids to navigation in El Salvador are maintained by the respective port authorities in Acajutla and La Unión. The Spanish word for a lighthouse is faro. In Spanish-speaking America, this word is used generally for all navigational lights, large and small, although smaller lights are also called balizas (beacons).

Almost nothing is known about the history or current status of Salvadoran lights, so additional information from visitors to any of these lighthouses would be very welcome.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume G of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. Light List numbers are from Publication 111.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - El Salvador
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
World of Lighthouses - El Salvador
Photos by various photographers posted by Lightphotos.net.

Faro de Punta Amapala
Distant view of Punta Amapala Light, El Jaguey, December 2008
Panoramio photo copyright zipote; used by permission

La Unión Department Lighthouses
Isla Zacatillo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 17 m (56 ft) aluminum skeletal tower mounted on a concrete base. No photo available, but Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located on the northwestern point of Isla Zacatillo, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) northeast of Punta Chiquirin. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown, possibly open. Owner/site manager: Puerto La Unión. Admiralty G3367; NGA 15388.
Punta Chiquirin (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 21 m (69 ft); white flash every 5 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower, painted white and mounted on a square 1-story concrete base. Erik Rivas has a distant view of this beautiful site, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Michel Forand has a historic photo of the original lighthouse, which must have been at a different location. This light is on the western side of the Golfo de Fonseca, guiding vessels to El Salvador's port of La Unión. Located on the cape, at the southeastern end of El Salvador, about 8 km (5 mi) southeast of La Unión. Site status unknown, possibly open. Owner/site manager: Puerto La Unión. ARLHS ELS-002; Admiralty G3366; NGA 15384.
Punta Amapala (2)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); one long (1.5 s) white flash every 15 s. 25 m (82 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. A distant photo is at the top of this page, and Bing has a good satellite view. This lights marks the west side of the entrance to the Gulf of Fonseca. There is a reference to repairs made to a lighthouse here in 1938. Located on the point of the cape in El Jaguey. Site status unknown. Owner/site manager: Puerto La Unión. Admiralty G3362; NGA 15394.

Sonsonate Department (Acajutla Area) Lighthouses
Punta Remedios (2)
Date unknown (station established 1905). Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white light, 2 s on, 18 s off. 12 m (39 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. The light station was established after a 1902 hurricane wrecked numerous ships in the area. Trabas has a view from the sea by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, and Google has a satellite view. It's possible that the small building seen in Hinrich's photo and the satellite view is the keeper's cottage of the original lighthouse. Located on the cape at Los Cóbanos, southeast of Acajutla. Site open, but some local knowledge is needed to find it; tower closed. Owner/site manager: Puerto de Acajutla. ARLHS ELS-001; Admiralty G3378; NGA 15372.
[Acajutla National Pier]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); continuous red light. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) skeletal mast. Trabas has a closeup photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs (also seen at right), a distant view by W. Santaliz shows the light at the end of the pier, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the main pier at Acajutla. Site status unknown. Owner/site manager: Puerto de Acajutla. Admiralty G3382; NGA 15368.
Acajutla (2)
Date unknown (station established 1872). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 6 s on, 6 s off. 7 m (23 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. There appears to be an enclosed equipment shelter in the base of the tower. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs. The original light was on a mole that no longer exists. Located on the Acajutla waterfront. Site status unknown. Owner/site manager: Puerto de Acajutla. Admiralty G3380; NGA 15364.
Acajutla National Pier Light
National Pier Light, Acajutla, 2010
photo copyright Capt. Theo Hinrichs; used by permission

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Guatemala Pacific | South: Nicaragua

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Posted July 14, 2010. Checked and revised August 9, 2014. Lighthouses: 5. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.