How to Visit a Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico


You’ll glide across the water as day turns to night and surround yourself with the quiet glow of nature’s phosphorescent organisms living in the water, best experienced on a moonless night. Puerto Rico has bragging rights to being home of “Brightest Bio Bay in the World” by Guiness World Record located on our beautiful little island of Vieques. Mosquito Bay on the southern shore of the island of Vieques boasts the highest concentration of dinoflagellates that produce the glow. There are from 1 to 2 million of them in just a gallon of water. The Guinness World Records called it the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world in 2006.

I have seen glow worms all over New Zealand including a waterfall 15 minutes from my front door. Also, I have seen it off boats both on the water and in a nearby marina. It’s pretty amazing when you can see a trail of where you’ve sailed on a new moon night. I’ve only seen it before on some YouTube videos but I had no idea there were so many places around the world where you can see bioluminescence. And I definitely didn’t think you would be able to experience it in Europe! They say at that location bioluminescence can be seen May through November and the Comb Jellyfish, which also flow can be seen in the winter months.

Many operators will not even conduct tours on less-than-optimal nights. In any case, the biobay is best experienced on a cloudy or moonless night. While we can’t predict if there will be clouds, we can do a pretty good job of predicting the phase of the moon and the time the moon rises and is overhead.

It’s a 25 minute flight on a small propeller plane out of San Juan International Airport and if you book far enough in advance the prices are very reasonable, usually less than $50 each way. You can visit it during the day, but you won’t see it light up. The second brightest is Laguna Grande located on the northeastern part of Puerto Rico, in Fajardo.

The darker the environment the better so you will want to get away from sources of light pollution. I was so unprepared that I did not have the proper camera equipment to capture this beautiful phenomenon. But the feeling of being THAT present in THAT moment is a memory bora bora vs fiji vs maldives that I will always treasure. Bioluminescence tours in Bocas del Toro aren’t an activity that is widely promoted. I only saw them offered one place and thought it sounded pretty sketchy at first, but tried it anyway and it turned out to be totally worth it.

This is emitted from the millions of dinoflagellates that live in the lagoon, that glow when disturbed. The tour starts around 5 pm and will take you all around a canal system naturally created by the thick mangroves, where you can admire many different kinds of birds and fishes. The guide will explain how many fish species chose the lagoon to breed, as they find protection from predators within the roots of the mangroves. Ultimately, this list of bioluminescent locations is on the personal side and focuses on the individual experience these places can give you. After all, that is way more important than the popularity of the location.

It’s a type of dinoflagellate and phytoplankton, which, when agitated, produces bioluminescence which looks like blue light. One of the most stunning natural wonders of the Caribbean, when it comes to seeing bioluminescence, Puerto Rico has some of the best spots anywhere in the world for seeing this natural phenomenon. Highly rated tours are run by experienced guide Gary Horne, certified dive master and Coast Guard veteran.

Therefore, the shape or phase of the moon depends on where it is on its orbit around earth. Use a tripod, and allow it time to settle if you’re on soft sand. When still, the water at the Vieques’s Bay was pitch dark with barely any light. But, as we sailed away from the shore, the wake behind our kayak started to sparkle.

For those reasons, the bio bay in Lajas is the least bright of the three and may not even glow for much longer. Here’s everything you need to know to visit Vieques’ bioluminescent bay. This means you’ll need to stay at least one night in Vieques since ferries or planes won’t be running by the time you’re finished. A quick google image search of “Bio Bay” will turn up heavily photoshopped depictions of the glowing phenomenon. Not because the bay doesn’t glow, but because most cameras are not capable of capturing it.

Any chemicals you apply to your skin such as bug repellent, lotions, etc. could cause harm to the delicate balance of the bio bay. Combine several of Puerto Rico’s top natural attractions on an activity-packed day trip to El Yunque National Park from San Juan. You’ll enjoy a mix of guided sightseeing in the rainforest and free time to relax on Luquillo Beach or at a waterfall, plus time for lunch and shopping.