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. Aids to navigation are presumably maintained by the two port authorities.
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.
Distant view of Punta Amapala Light,
El Jaguey, December 2008
Panoramio photo copyright
zipote; used by permission
- La Unión Department
- ** La Unión Parque de la Familia
- 2014. Active (may be unofficial); focal plane about 20 m (66 ft); red light, characteristic unknown. Approx. 16 m (52 ft) hexagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim. César Aguilar has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse is part of a major waterfront redevelopment effort. Located on a quay on the downtown La Unión waterfront. Site open, and visitors can climb to the gallery of the tower.
- 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 Google 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
is at the top of this page, and Google has a 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
- 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
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
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, and Google has a satellite view. 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.
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 July 14, 2016.
Lighthouses: 6. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.