A Bioluminescent Experience in Puerto Rico

Bio Bay Fajardo

‘La Laguna Grande’  in Fajardo literally glows when you touch it. It is magnificent, romantic, and breath-taking and I had never seen anything like it in my entire life.

After about a ten minute boat ride through dense trees and darkness, my motorboat pulled into a huge bay lit only by the light of the moon. The wide open area was magnificent and beautiful, even though there was not much to see other than a the moon reflecting off of the water.The driver of the boat instructed everyone to dip their paddles into the water. Once we did, an explosion of blue lit up the water and was gone in an instant. With every paddle stroke, the blue reappeared. I stuck my hand in and the blur appeared again and quickly disappeared. It was truly an experience I will never forget and something I highly recommend doing while in Puerto Rico.

What is a Bio (Luminescent) Bay?

According to Puerto Rico Day Trips, a bioluminescent bay is a “body of water that contains millions of micro-organisms, called “dinoflagellates”, that glow in the dark for a second when agitated. It is a rare, natural wonder.”

What is the Best Time to Go?

Check the Bioluminescent Bay Moon Phase Calendar from Discovering Puerto Rico.

Getting there (Driving from San Juan):

Take Hwy 26 (past San Juan airport), join Route 66 (toll road), follow Route 3 towards Fajardo. Take Rd 194 (left) and then Rd 987 (left) to Las Croabas boat ramp. (Discovering Puerto Rico)

Do Other Bio Bays Exists?

There are a small number of bioluminescent bays in the world. Out of the small number, Puerto Rico has three of them. The Puerto Rican bay with the highest amount of luminescence can be found in Vieques, although Fajardo is also a popular destination.

Kayak vs. Boat

Individuals must be on a tour when entering the bioluminescent bay. You can tour the bay in three ways: by motorboat, by kayak, or by waterboard.  I highly recommend the motorboat option (unless you are looking to exert a good amount of energy kayaking or waterboarding). I took the motorboat and I found it to be not only convenient, but also informative as my tour guide was a wealth of information.

If you decide to kayak, it gets very dark on the way from where you board the kayak through the mangrove and into the bay. It is a great price option, but boats constantly are bumping into each other in the dark, getting tangled in the trees, and constantly having to clear the way for the motorboats passing through. I heard a lot of grumbling by kayakers as I passed them in my motorboat.

Anette G. (Trip Advisor) said “I sooooo looked forward to this excursion and was soooooo disappointed. The sheer volume of people going into and coming out of the bay made the experience anything but magical. There were 18 kayaks in our group and surely that many in at least 3 other groups going in and that doesn’t include the groups coming out of the narrow tunnel like access channel. It was mayhem as we dodged mangrove trees in the dark, yelling directions back and forth from one kayak to the next, crashing and bumping into boats from both our own tour and other groups. Throw the larger electric boats into the mix and at times it went from nearly frustrating to dangerous.”

However, if you are up for a challenge, take the kayak.

Booking a Tour

There are a number of companies operating at the bay. You can book in advance (like I did), or you can negotiate for a low rate among the companies once you arrive at the bay. Below is a list of companies worth checking out.

  • Encantos Ecotours
  • Las Tortugas Adventures
  • Kayaking Puerto Rico
  • Eco Xcursion Aquatica (787 888 2887)
  • Akuadventures
  • AdvenTours
  • Enchanted Eco Tours
By | 2017-07-30T01:10:16+00:00 January 14th, 2013|Puerto Rico|0 Comments

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