Lighthouses of Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an island nation, formerly a British colony, located north of Venezuela's Orinoco Delta. The country has been independent since 1962. Although often considered part of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago is actually on the South American continental shelf. Trinidad is much the larger of the two main islands and lies just off the Venezuelan coast; the smaller Tobago is about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Trinidad. Port-of-Spain, on the west coast of Trinidad, is the capital and major port.

Only four of Trinidad and Tobago's traditional lighthouses survive. None of them are particularly well known, so we are in debt to Sharon Burford and Rory and Bunty O'Connor for providing several photos on this page. The active lighthouses are presumably managed by the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

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 numbers are from Publication 110.

General Sources
Online List of Lights - Trinidad and Tobago
Photos by various photographers posted by Alex Trabas.
Lighthouses in the Caribbean
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Lighthouses in Trinidad and Tobago
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Trinidad and Tobago
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme Mittelamerikas und der Karibik auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard views posted by Klaus Huelse.

Scarborough Light
Scarborough Light, Tobago, May 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Susan Hunt

Tobago Lighthouses

* Scarborough (Fort King George) (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1842). Active; focal plane 141 m (463 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 7m (23 ft) pentagonal cylindrical concrete tower with round lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 1-story concrete keeper's quarters; a 2nd order Fresnel lens is in use. Lighthouse painted white; the lantern roof and keeper's quarters roof are red. Susan Hunt's photo is above, Keith Rock has a 2005 closeup, an excellent closeup photo is available, another photo gives an impression of the spectacular site, Trabas has Douglas Cameron's distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse has been restored and appears to be in very good condition. The lighthouse is located within the grounds of Fort King George, built in the 1770s; the fort is one of the best known historic sites of Tobago. Research by Michel Forand indicates that the original lighthouse was a pentagonal tower with a much lower focal plane of 39 m (128 ft), and that in the mid 20th century the lighthouse was square rather than pentagonal. The fort and lighthouse are built on a hill commanding Bacolet Bay, the harbor of Scarborough, near the southwestern tip of Tobago. Site open (free), tower closed. Site manager: Government of Trinidad and Tobago. ARLHS TRI-003;
Crown Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 26 m (85 ft) skeletal tower, probably a communications tower. No photo available, but a Google satellite view probably shows the shadow of the tower. Located at the southwestern tip of the island, adjacent to the runway of the international airport. Site and tower closed. ARLHS TRI-007; Admiralty J5841.5; NGA 15200.

Trinidad Lighthouses

Port-of-Spain City Lighthouse
Sea Lots Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white light, 7 s on, 3 s off; also a continuous red light. Approx. 24 m (79 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. The tower also carries a vertical daymark painted orange. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs showing both range lights, but but the tower has not been found in Bing's satellite view. Located on the waterfront on the south side of Port-of-Spain. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5882; NGA 16197.
Sea Lots Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 2 s; also a continuous red light. Approx. 39 m (118 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. The tower also carries a vertical daymark painted orange. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs showing both range lights, and Bing has a satellite view. Located beside the Beetham Highway on the south side of Port-of-Spain. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5882.1; NGA 16197.1.
* Grier Channel Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white light occulting once every 4 s seen along the range; also a continuous green light. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. The tower also carries a rectangular daymark painted in a red and white checkered pattern. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Port-of-Spain's modern harbor, about 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of the historic lighthouse. Site presumably open, tower closed. Admiralty J5884.24; NGA 16190.
* Grier Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane approx. 50 m (164 ft); red light, 2 s on, 2 s off; also a continuous white light. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery. The tower also carries a rectangular daymark painted orange. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, and Google has a satellite view. Capt. Hinrichs found that this light has been relocated recently and light list descriptions are incorrect. Located about 400 m (1/4 mi) northeast of the front light. Site presumably open, tower closed. Admiralty J5884.25; NGA 16190.1.
* Port-of-Spain (St. Vincent Jetty Range Rear) (2)
1880s (station established 1841). Inactive. 19.5 m (64 ft) hexagonal tower with a small lantern at the top and a gallery in the middle, painted white with red and black trim. Sharon Burford's 2008 photo is at right, a June 2009 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. According to Findlay's 1879 list, the original lighthouse was also hexagonal, but only 13 m (43 ft) tall. The lighthouse was built at the base of the St. Vincent Jetty, but since then the shoreline has been extended and the original purpose of the light has been lost. Huelse has a historic postcard view of the lighthouse in its original context. At some point (perhaps in the 1980s?) some restoration work was done on the tower, but by 2004 it was in poor condition, with a lean of about 5°. In late 2005, the lighthouse was repainted in a wildly colorful pattern honoring Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup soccer team, and in late 2006 it was painted again to publicize the Cricket World Cup played in Trinidad in 2007. Located on South Quay Drive in downtown Port-of-Spain, the capital of the country. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Government of Trinidad and Tobago. ARLHS TRI-008.
Port of Spain Light
Port of Spain Light, Port of Spain, September 2008
photo copyright Sharon Burford; used by permission

Diego Martín Region (Dragon's Mouth Area) Lighthouses
Note: The Dragon's Mouth (Bocas del Dragón) is the strait separating the northwestern corner of Trinidad from the tip of Venezuela's Paria Peninsula. The ridge of the peninsula continues across the strait to form the ridge along the north coast of Trinidad. There are several islands in the strait, representing summits of the ridge.
* Crew's Inn Marina
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained and unofficial). Approx. 20 m (66 ft) hexagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery centered on the roof a 1-story marina building. Tower painted white with narrow red spiral bands; lantern and gallery painted black. A 2010 photo is available, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. The lighthouse was built by Colin Barcant to help guide yachts into the docking area of Chaguaramas Bay, a very popular sheltered anchorage at the northwestern corner of Trinidad. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Crew's Inn Hotel and Yachting Centre.
[Point Baleine (Espalon Point)]
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (42 ft); white flash every 4 s. 11 m (36 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. No lantern. The tower is not visible in a Google satellite view of the point. Located on the southwest point of Gaspar Grande Island, just off Chaguaramas Bay. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago. ARLHS TRI-009; Admiralty J5856; NGA 16236.
* Chacachacare
1897. Active; focal plane 251 m (825 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round tower with lantern and gallery, painted white, lantern red. The original Fresnel lens, removed in 2007, was unfortunately broken while being transported to Port-of-Spain. A photo by Rory and Bunty O'Connor is at right, another good photo and a 2008 photo are available, Trabas has a distant view by Capt. Peter Mosselberger, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse, one of the highest in the Americas, is built atop a steep mountain with a spectacular view of the Dragon's Mouth. The island, site of a leper colony from 1922 to 1948, is now uninhabited except for periodic visits from the lighthouse service staff. Located on the island of Chacachacare on the east side of the Dragon's Mouth strait, off the northwesternmost tip of Trinidad. Accessible only by boat; tours available from Chaguaramas. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the keepers. Owner: Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Site manager: Chaguaramas National Park. ARLHS TRI-002; Admiralty J5846; NGA 16256.

San Juan-Laventille Region (North Coast) Lighthouse
Chupara Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 99 m (325 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. Skeletal tower, probably at least 25 m (82 ft) in height, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a prominent headland on the north coast of Trinidad, about 7 km (4 mi) northeast of Las Cuevas. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5843; NGA 16264.7.
Chacachacare
Chacachacare Light, Dragon's Mouth, May 2007
photo copyright Rory and Bunty O' Connor
used by permission

Sangre Grande Region (Northeastern Trinidad) Lighthouses
** Galera Point (Toco)
1897. Active; focal plane 43 m (141 ft); white light, 6 s on, 4 s off. Approx. 12 m (40 ft) masonry tower with gallery; the lantern has been removed and replaced with a square skeletal tower raising the total height to 23 m (75 ft). Lighthouse painted white with red trim; the skeletal tower is painted with red and white horizontal bands. The University of the West Indies maintains weather and air monitoring equipment also mounted on the skeletal tower. Sharon Arrindell's photo is at right, Othmar Raoul Traninger has another good 2007 photo, Lightphotos.net has a good photo, Wikimedia has a 2009 photo, a 2008 photo is available, Trabas has a distant view by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, and Google has a satellite view. Formerly neglected, the lighthouse was restored and repainted in 2006-07. In 2011 there was additional restoration, a parking lot for visitors was completed, and the lighthouse was staffed by security guards to protect visitors and prevent vandalism. Located at the northeastern tip of Trinidad, east of Toco. Site open, tower open by arrangement with the staff. Owner/site manager: Government of Trinidad and Tobago. ARLHS TRI-004; Admiralty J5842; NGA 16266.
* Brigand Hill
1958. Active; focal plane 217 m (712 ft); three white flashes every 30 s, in an unusual pattern: first two flashes separated by 3 s, second and third by 12 s. 11 m (36 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with lantern, gallery, and enclosed watch room. Lighthouse painted white. Anne Acosta has a good photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse shares the site with a large TV/radio transmission facility. The view from the gallery is said to be spectacular. Located on a ridgetop on the east side of Trinidad, overlooking the Atlantic. Site and tower open. Owner/site manager: Government of Trinidad and Tobago. ARLHS TRI-001; Admiralty J5915; NGA 16108.

Río Claro-Mayaro Region (Southeastern Trinidad) Lighthouse
Galeota Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 87 m (285 ft); white flash every 5 s. 9 m (30 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. A photo of the north side of the hill shows some of the neighboring petroleum facilities. Located on a high headland at the southeastern tip of Trinidad. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5914; NGA 16109.

Siparia Region (Southwestern Trinidad) Lighthouses
Note: The 60 km (37 mi) long Siparia peninsula frames the south end of the Gulf of Paria. At its end, the 16 km (10 mi) wide strait of the Serpent's Mouth separates Trinidad from the Orinoco delta region of Venezuela.
Taparo Point
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 69 m (226 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. NGA has no description of this light, and no photo is available, but Google's satellite view suggests a square skeletal tower. Located on a headland on the south side of the Siparia peninsula, near San Francique. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5913.4; NGA 16111.
Galera Point Light
Galera Point Light, Toco, May 2007
photo copyright Sharon Burford
used by permission
Punta del Arenal (Icacos Point) (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1870). Active; focal plane 22 m (72 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. Approx. 18 m (56 ft) skeletal tower, painted white. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse guides vessels through the Serpent's Mouth strait. The original light was shown from a mast at a focal plane of 12 m (39 ft). Located at the tip of the Cedros Peninsula, which is the extreme southwestern tip of Trinidad. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5912; NGA 16116.

Couva-Tabaquita-Talparo Region (Gulf of Paria) Lighthouses
Savonetta Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); white flash every 2 s, synchronized with the rear light. Approx. 27 m (89 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery, painted black. The tower is not clearly visible in Google's satellite view. Savonetta is an industrial port on the central west coast of Trinidad, facing the Gulf of Paria. Located close to the waterfront at Savonetta. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5891; NGA 16180.
Savonetta Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); white flash every 2 s, synchronized with the front light. Approx. 35 m (115 ft) triangular skeletal tower with gallery. The tower is not clearly visible in Google's satellite view. Located within the industrial area 700 m (0.44 mi) northeast of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty J5891.1; NGA 16184.

Adjoining pages: North: St. Vincent and the Grenadines | West: Eastern Venezuela

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Posted March 31, 2005. Checked and revised February 4, 2014. Lighthouses: 17. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.