Puerto Rico’s attractions include three bioluminescent bays. These waterways feature dinoflagellates, a class of microorganisms that emit varicolored lights. Cloudy or moonless nights provide prime viewing opportunities for this display provided by nature. Kayak trips to the island’s bio bays are an intimate experience that puts you close to the dinoflagellates below the surface of the water. Their glowing also intensifies as a natural response to your paddle disturbing their environment. Arrange your trip through professional tour operators who guide you safely through the dark mangrove channels that lead to the bio bays.
Get closer to bio bay organisms in a kayak.
The largest and most accessible of the bio bays is off the shores of Vieques Island, near the capital, San Juan. Laguna Grande at Fajardo on Puerto Rico’s east coast is the second most accessible bio bay. The small fishing town of La Parguera is a satellite of the city of Lajas on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast. It provides an alternative to the larger, more heavily trafficked bio bays, but its inhabitants do not emit as much light as those in Puerto Rico’s other two bio bays, according to the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the island’s official tourism website.
Vieques Island Mosquito Bay
Abe’s Snorkeling & Bio Bay Tours (abessnorkeling.com) leave from Ezperanza or the Sun Bay beach. The company transports you to a kayak launch site for trips to the bio bay at Vieques Island. You paddle through mangrove swamps to reach the bay in two-person kayaks. These two-hour trips start at sunset. The Aqua Frenzy (aquafrenzy.com) tour company has one-hour trips to Vieques Island’s Mosquito Bay in sit-on-top, two-person kayaks. This company also offers a four-hour combination trip that includes an eco-tour of the mangroves, a beach buffet and party, followed by the kayak excursion to the bay at dark.
Farjardo Laguna Grande
Island Kayaking Adventure (ikapr.com) provides kayak tours of the Laguna Grande bio bay near Fajardo. Its two-hour trips leave from Las Croabas Park. You share a kayak during this tour. The tours have a six-person minimum and a maximum of 30 people per trip. The company will arrange transportation to the launch site from nearby hotels. Akuadventures (biobaypr.com) uses glass-bottom kayaks for its Laguna Grande bio bay trips. Its excursions require 30 minutes of paddling to reach the bay. The total tour time is an hour and a half minimum.
La Parguera La Bahía Fosforescente
La Parguera La Bahía Fosforescente is actually two bays, according to Lonely Planet. Bahia Monsio Jose and Bahía La Parguera are both east of La Parguera. Like other bio bays in Puerto Rico, you paddle through the mangroves to reach these bays. Aleli Tours and Kayak Rental (alelitours.com), on the town’s docks, offers private and groups excursions to the bio bays and rents kayaks. La Parquera’s bio bay has fewer official kayak tour operators than the two larger bays. As an alternative to kayak tours, Fondo de Cristal (fondodecristal.com), formerly Cancel Boats, runs tours from the town docks using small boats that hold six people or less.
- Puerto Rico Tourism Company: Step Into the Light — A Look at Puerto Rico’s Bio Bays
- Abe’s Snorkeling & Bio Bay Tours: Bioluminescent Bay Tour
- Aqua Frenzy: Vieques Bio Bay Tours
- Island Kayaking Adventure: Glowing Bay Adventure
- Akuadventures: Products and Service
- Lonely Planet: Bahía de Fosforescente
- WWW.AleliTours.com: Our Services
- Fondo de Cristal III: Bioluminescent Bay
- Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images