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Kayaking Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

If visiting bioluminescent water isn’t on your bucket list, you need to add it! It is a truly unforgettable experience! Kayaking Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques Island is particularly special because this bay has the highest density of biolumnescent organisms in the world! In this post I will discuss:

  • What a bioluminescent bay is
  • What to expect when kayaking bioluminescent bay
  • Kayaking tours information

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

What is a Bioluminescent Bay?

The “bioluminescent bay” in Vieques island is actually called Mosquito Bay. It is nicknamed bioluminescent bay (or bio bay) because of the special organisms that live in the bay. These single-celled organisms are called Dinoflagellates. They live in many bodies of water, but you can only see them in certain waters. You can only see these organisms light up if there is a high enough density of them in the water. The organisms produce a light when they are stressed, which is why you see them light up with movement. Sitting by the bay you won’t see any light, but putting your hand in the water will cause enough movement! This is why kayaking the bay is so amazing!

What to Expect When Kayaking Bioluminescent Bay

The best kayaking experiences happen at night so you can really see the Dinoflagellates light up! Because it’s in the evening, I recommend wearing long sleeves and pants you don’t mind getting wet. When I kayaked the bay in January I wore leggings and a light jacket which was perfect.

The light of the moon can make it difficult to see the full effect of the bioluminescents. Because of this, I recommend going during a new moon or on a cloudy day. That being said, I kayaked during a full moon and I could still easily see the lights. Our guide knew the moon would be bright, so he brought a tarp big enough to fit all the kayaks. The tarp blocked the moonlight and let the bioluminescents really shine! As we kayaked back we could see the wakes from our kayaks light up and every paddle of the oars created a light stream.

Side note: getting photos of the bioluminescents is VERY difficult! I did not end up getting a good photo myself. For this reason, I would keep the cameras away and enjoy the moment!

Mosquito Bay Kayaking Tours

Kayaking tours occur at night so visitors can see the bioluminescents clearly. It is also the only real way to experience this bay as swimming is not allowed in bio bays. These tours are also great because the guides they will make sure you have the best experience possible (even if that means holding up a tarp to block the moonlight). They were also very informative and could answer just about any question you had about the bio bay. I would encourage anyone visiting Puerto Rico to spend a night on this excursion! You can find the tour I went on here!

If you like kayaking, you may also be interested in visiting Oahu, Hawaii or Navini Island, Fiji!

Anna’s Pick of the Week:

These water shoes are great for any water activity, but especially kayaking! When you get into your kayak you have to step into the water on rocks and other rough surfaces, so this added protection will save you from having sore feet later!

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