What to Know Before Visiting Bioluminescent Bay – Puerto Rico

Given its stunning beaches, natural wonders, and rich culture, Puerto Rico is one of the most popular tourist spots in the world; particularly among those in the United States. Since this Caribbean island is a US territory, people from the US can visit this gorgeous place, visa-free and passport-free. 

The Island of Enchantment may have suffered from devastating hurricanes in the past years. But it continuously attracts a record-breaking number of 3.7 million tourists in 2019. From among the many attractions in Puerto Rico, bioluminescent bays shine above the rest, literally! 

If you have plans to visit a bioluminescent bay Puerto Rico best time to go is when the night sky has little to no moonlight. Here are some practical tips to help you better enjoy the experience. 

What is a Bioluminescent Bay?

A bioluminescent bay is a natural phenomenon wherein the bay water appears to be glowing because of the chemical reaction set off by microorganisms known as dinoflagellates. When these organisms are disturbed, either by human movement or fish passing by, they act defensively by releasing luciferin. Luciferin is an organic substance that emits light when combined with oxygen. 

Hundreds of thousands of dinoflagellates are usually present in every liter of water in the bay. This is why they cause a magical spectacle as soon as they undergo a chemical reaction.

What is the Best Bioluminescent Bay in the World?

There are seven bioluminescent bays in the world. They are the Halong Bay in Vietnam, the Luminous Lagoon in the island country of Jamaica, reefs on Isla Múcura in Colombia, the bay in Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, and the Laguna Grande, La Parguera, and Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico.

If you want the best bioluminescence experience, you will make the right choice if you decide to visit Puerto Rico. Head off to Vieques Island to see the Mosquito Bay; which is officially recognized as the ‘Brightest Bioluminescent Bay’ by the Guinness Book of World Records.  The island of Vieques offers the best place for dinoflagellates to thrive. That is why there are about 7,00,000 of these microorganisms in every gallon of water in the bay, displaying a blue-green light practically all-year-round.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Bioluminescent Bay?

If you are thinking about visiting a bioluminescent bay, Puerto Rico, the best time to go depends on the cycle of the moon. Note that the amount of light you will see flashing from underneath the water depends mainly on the moonlight. When the moon illuminates the night sky, it is difficult to spot the greenish-blue magic produced by the dinoflagellates.

The best time to go is when there is no moon present so that the night sky is almost pitch-black. You can check the lunar calendar so that you can visit during the new moon when the brightness or glow level is at seventy percent or more. 

How Can You Ensure the Best Bioluminescent Bay Experience?

It is important to remember that the glowing light you are going to see from underneath the water is natural. Several factors can affect the glow percentage, such as the phase of the moon and water current, among others. Nonetheless, make sure to do the following to ensure the best experience:

  1. Call the tour company to check the status of the bioluminescent bay. Had it been glowing brightly lately, or will it be glowing during the night of your visit? The people in the tour company know better if it is the right time to visit. Make sure to follow their advice.
  1. Choose the least busy time slot. If you visit during the time when there are practically no visitors around, you will most likely have a magical experience.

Seeing the captivating sight of the bioluminescent bay up close is a worthwhile addition to your bucket list. Consider the information above and make sure to choose a reputable tour company when planning your trip so that you can have a truly memorable and satisfying bio bay experience. 


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