Bioluminescent Bay Puerto Rico: a must-see for any Puerto Rican tourist

Touring a bioluminescent bay is one of the most incredible things to do in Puerto Rico because it is such a rare ecosystem.

There are many tourist attractions and activities on the island, but consider that touring a “biological bay”, as they are sometimes called, is something that is unique to the island and an environment that cannot be found anywhere.

For this reason, exploring the bioluminescent bay is consistently rated as one of the top tourist attractions on travel review sites. To give you a bit of background on why this is quite unique, let’s cover some science first.

Bioluminescence occurs in many species; think of the common firefly. It also occurs in aquatic animals such as cuttlefish and squid. A bioluminescent bay is an ideal habitat for microscopic dinoflagellate plankton to flourish, most of which emit a bluish light as a defense mechanism when shaken. These habitats can occur in different places at different times of the year, but very few places are ideal year-round habitats. The bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico are those places.


The bays of the bioluminescent dinoflagellate ecosystem are among the rarest and most fragile, the most famous being the Bioluminescent Bay in La Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico and Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and Las Heads of San Juan Reserva Natural Fajardo, Puerto Rico . There is a bioluminescent lagoon near Montego Bay, Jamaica.

So, visiting the island and not visiting the “Bio Bays” is a bit like going to Rome and missing the Colosseum. These are experiences to take advantage of while you are at your destination.

The best way to enjoy this unique experience is with an evening kayak tour. The island’s main biological bay is called Laguna Granda, which can be reached from Fajardo by paddling through a narrow channel lined with mangroves. There are usually two tours and while the latter offers a darker setting to view bioluminescent plankton, the former tour offers enough light to see the mangroves and enjoy the last light of sunset. Please note that swimming is not allowed to preserve the delicate chemical balance of the bay.

Although this phenomenon is a challenge to photograph and film, there is a video that represents the experience quite accurately. It covers the most popular kayak tour from Fajardo to Laguna Grande, and you can watch it here: Fajardo Bio Bay Tour Video. (less than five minutes)

If you plan to go to Puerto Rico, participating in a tour of the biological bay is a unique opportunity to observe this delicate ecosystem and a unique and unforgettable experience.