Exploring Puerto Ricos Bioluminescent Bays
For a surreal, eco-friendly experience, include a bioluminescent bay on your trip to Puerto Rico. But what is a bioluminescent bay or bio bay?
These rare ecosystems happen when microscopic, single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates grow in quantities big enough to produce a glow-in-the-dark effect when stimulated by movement. When you paddle or splash the water, these organisms light up in a neon blue-green color, and so does everything they come in contact with, giving a star-like reflection to the water.
Dinoflagellates can be found throughout the ocean however, it is very rare for them to be in concentrations high enough to be noticeable. To put this in perspective, there must be thousands and thousands of dinoflagellates to make a gallon of water light up. There are only five ecosystems in the world where the concentration of these planktons is high enough to be considered bioluminescent bays, and Puerto Rico is home to three of them.
Did you know that Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico is the brightest bio bay around the world? This recognition was awarded by Guinness World Records in 2006.
Should You Take A Kayak Or Boat Tour
- Kayaking tours are the most popular way of touring the bioluminescent bays and lagoon of Puerto Rico. Kayaks allow a more interactive experience with the water, and the flora along the mangrove channels can be more appreciated. The waters are calm along the bay under normal weather conditions requiring average physical ability.
- Various tour guides offer tours by small boat. Families with small children should consider a boat tour for the safest conditions. Boat tours are recommended in Lajas since they allow swimming for the ultimate experience. .
Experience The Magic Of Mosquito Baythe Brightest Bioluminescent Bay In The World
Puerto Mosquito is located on the southern shore of the island of Vieques, one of the islands of Puerto Rico. This bay is often referred to as magical, those blessed with the opportunity to experience it always agree. The bioluminescent bay in Vieques was officially declared the brightest in the world by Guinness Book of World Records in 2008. Hurricane Maria caused much destruction on the island, it sadly disrupted the delicate balance of the bay, the beloved Mosquito Bay went dark. To everyones surprise the bioluminescent bay not only recovered, but it is also brighter than it ever was in the past.
Dont leave Isla de Vieques without taking a tour of this magnificent and magical natural wonder. It will be a magical, priceless memory to remember for a lifetime. The bio bay is best experienced during a New Moon phase, so weve included an interactive moon phase calendar below to help you plan your trip accordingly. In the waters of Mosquito Bay, there are organisms named Pyrodinium bahamense, Dinoflagellates . These dinos are responsible for this amazing natural phenomenon. When the dinos come into contact with another organism or shaken they produce a bright burst of blue light.
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Bioluminescence Is Surprisingly Common
Much like fireflies do on land, single-celled, water surfacedwelling organisms called dinoflagellates, a type of plankton, can emit light underwater. They arent the only marine organisms that glow. Some 1,500 species of fish are known to luminesce, as well as certain types of squid, jellyfish, worms, and crustaceans. Many use bioluminescence as lures for food or mates, or to confuse predators.
Although dinoflagellates are microscopic, they often form large colonies. The human eye doesnt detect the bioluminescence when a water body is still. But when disturbed, such as by wind that ripples the surface or the slicing of a boat hull through the water, our eyes translate the light wavelengths into glow-in-the-dark sparkles and zigzags of green or blue-green.
La Parguera Bio Bay Tour From San Juan
Do you want to go to the bio bay from San Juan but dont want to drive 5 hours round trip?
Then a tour from San Juan to La Parguera is suitable for you.
These tours take care of everything. They will pick you up at your hotel and drive you to La Parguera. Once you arrive, you will get appetizers.
You will then board a private boat that will take you to see the floating homes and the mangrove keys at La Parguera.
After sunset, they will take you to the bio bay.
You will get bottles of water and local beers on the boat. On the bioluminescent bay, you will be allowed to swim, and as you agitate the water, it will start to glow.
After you have experienced the bio bay, they will take you back to your hotel in San Juan.
For more information, check out Bespoke Lifestyle Management.
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Lets Have A Bio Bay Tour In La Parguera
Another great option to enjoy dinoflagellates in Puerto Rico is a bio bay tour in La Parguera. They are usually not the first choice but they also present some great advantages too: they are cheaper, there is no need to paddle and last but not least, swimming in this bio bay is possible! Prices start at around 30$ for an average duration tour of one hour. La Parguera area is also well known to be a spot where you can discover plenty of other great things: Isla Mata la Gata, floating houses on the waterfront, Playita Rosada
Lets Enjoy A Bioluminescent Bay Tour In Vieques
You want the maximum of chances by your side and have decided to go for a bio bay tour in Vieques. And hopefully, the most glowing bio bay on earth will offer you its natural beauty one more time. Easier to access the tour operators in Vieques will give you a meeting spot and then drive you from there. Because of this easy access, tours in Mosquito bay last 2 hours maximum. Starting at 60$ some operators have a special offer for kids between 5 and 12 years old.
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Tip #2 If You Can Choose Mosquito Bio Bay
If your Puerto Rico itinerary allows it, choose Mosquito Bay for your visit. Mosquito Bay water holds a high concentration of dinoflagellates, which makes it the brightest bio bay in the world according to the Guinness World Records book.
The shallow and small entrance of the bay and the mangrove trees in Puerto Mosquito keep these microscopic organisms trapped inside the bay, leaving greenish blue trails every time you move the water.
Glass Bottom Catamaran Tour
As the name says, this is a catamaran with a glass bottom.
On this tour, you dont get to swim in the bioluminescent bay.
When you arrive at the bioluminescent bay, the captain briefly explains the bio bay. Then, they collect a bucket of water, and you can agitate the water with your hands to activate the bioluminescent organisms.
After that, they send some crew members to swim under the catamaran. As the crew members agitate their arms and legs, you can see how the water starts to illuminate through the glass bottom.
This tour is excellent and inexpensive, perfect for the elderly and younger family members.
You can book this tour with the Fondo de Cristal Tour.
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Experience Puerto Ricos Bioluminescent Bay In Lajas
Your visit to Puerto Rico isnt complete until you discover the natural wonders of one of our bioluminescent bays. Join us on an unforgettable tour to see this unique phenomenon.
La Parguera Reserve, set aside by the Department for Natural and Environmental Resources, is recognized as a world-class treasure. Within it is found one of the worlds few bio bays, where there are sufficient microscopic bioluminescent organisms to produce light visible to plain eyesight. Just jump in to activate the show.
We start our journey with a pick-up at your hotel lobby. Its a two-hour scenic drive from San Juan to Lajas. The highway cuts through the mountains north to south and vice versa. Immerse yourself in the perspective of the south side of Puerto Rico. Once in Lajas, we embark with our captain just in time to watch the sunset over the horizon.
After dusk, our captain enters the bio bay and provides the scientific reasons for the effect. Then you can enter the water to swim and frolic about .
Life vests, bottled water, and beer are provided.
We drop you off at your hotel around 11 p.m.
See Bioluminescence On A La Parguera Boat Tour
We offer nightly excursions aboard the powered double pontoon boat through the amazing glowing waters of La Parguera in Lajas.
Once we arrive at this fisherman village that has become very popular during the past years, we will stop for an appetizer.
We then head out on the boat where we will cruise around floating homes and make an initial stop to visit a cay. Here you will have the opportunity to swim in its pristine waters and watch the sunset.
Once it gets dark, we will move to another area where you will be able to experience the bioluminescence first hand. Our bilingual guides will explain the fragile ecology of the plants and animals of the bay, give interpretive star lectures, and then park the boat in an area of high bioluminescent concentration, giving visitors the chance to view the millions of glowing creatures.
We are going to have time to swim in the bio bay too!
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Enchanted Island Eco Tours
Nature Lovers kayak AdventureThis is a 3 hour kayak trip into the Las Croabas Bay. The tour will allow you to experience the bay during the day and to explore the areas local wildlife. Tour guides give commentary on the local ecosystem.
Bio Bay TourThe Bio Bay tour starts at sunset at Las Croabas where you will take a 20-25 minute kayak through the Las Croabas channel into the Laguna Grande Bio bay. Tour guides will give a commentary on the bio bay and the areas wildlife. Kayaking will last approximately 2 hours.
Full Moon Eco Kayak AdvetureThis is the same tour as the Bio bay Tour but takes place when the moon is full. This is when viewing the Bio Bay is not recommended and so this tour is an alternative option to see the Laguna Grande bay under full moonlight.
See site for more detailsOr call 787-888-2887
Island Kayaking Adventures was founded in 1998
Bio Bay TourKayak tours of the Laguna Grande Bio bay. Tours start at Las Croabas and last approximately 2 hours. Tour guides provide information on the areas ecosystem and local sites such as the Fajardo LighthouseTour Times 6:30pm to 8:30pm and 8:30pm to 10:30pm
Kayaking and Snorkeling TourThis is a half day tour starting at Seven Seas Beach. During the tour your guide will take you along the shoreline of fajardo giving you the chance to explore some of the local reefs as well as a visit to a local secluded beach for snacks and the chance to soak up the sunTour Times: 9:00am-12:00pm or 1:00pm-4:00pm
Nightime Bio Bay Kayak Tour
If you like kayaking, this is the tour for you.
On this tour, they take you to the bioluminescent area on one of the companys vessels, towing the kayaks with their boat.
The tour operators will provide you with a life vest, a glow stick, and a sound device.
You will be allowed to go in the water and swim in the bioluminescent bay. These tours take two hours from start to finish.
Large families or groups should call in advance for scheduling purposes.
To book this tour, go to the Parguera Water Sports website.
Do you want to experience La Pargueras bio bay more intimately?
In that case, this tour is the right one for you.
This tour has a six-passenger maximum. The tour operator will take you to bio bay in a 19-foot boat. You are allowed to swim so you can experience it firsthand.
Tours use a skiff which is a shallow, flat-bottomed open boat with a sharp bow and square stern.
The US Coast Guard regulates all marine vessels, and they have the following regulations:
The maximum weight the boat can carry is 1,400 pounds. The ladder to get in and out of the boat might not hold more than 250 lbs.
For more information about booking this more intimate tour, contact Alelí Tours.
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Keep Your Expectations In Check
Nature is fickle, and an evening of 100 percent glow might be followed by one of less than 30 percent. To make matters worse, all promotional images of bio bay tours are Photoshopped. While it is a breathtaking sight, you will not be engulfed in a happy blue halo, nor will the water light up on its own. What youll see is more akin to an underwater shower of glitter every time you or your tour mates dip an oar or hand into the bay.
Luminous One Puerto Rico: Bio Bay Boat Ride With Swimming
Touted by most as an indescribable experience, watch the water sparkle and dance as it’s disturbed. Immerse yourself in nature under a beautiful sky far away from the city. No LED’s or man made effects, just the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence in the calm waters of this protected habitat. Without the ability of cameras to capture the effect, this is truly a must see event!!
For A More Casual And Less Physically Active Experience Visit This Bio Bay On A Boat
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Puerto Rico Has Three Bioluminescent Bays
The planet currently has five ecosystems where dinoflagellate concentrations are high enough to consistently cause this bioluminescent phenomenon. Puerto Rico claims three of them.
In Fajardo, along the east coast of the main island, Laguna Grande is the most trafficked of the trio. Its not as bright as the others, but at only an hour by car from San Juan, its the easiest to get to. This also makes it the most touristy of the bunch.
A few of the better-known Laguna Grande tour operators include:
In Lajas, on the opposite corner of the main island, La Parguera is the least visited of the three bays. At about 2.5 hours from San Juan, its a much longer drive than Laguna Grande, but a worthwhile stop if youre visiting the western side of Puerto Rico.
Some tours allow swimming in La Parguera. Because chemicals in bug repellents, sunscreens, and body lotions can kill the phytoplankton, youll need to shower before joining a tour that includes swimming or diving through the bio bay.
Try one of these La Parguera tour operators:
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