Bio lagoon puerto rico: La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay | Discover Puerto Rico

11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Taking A Bioluminescent Bay Tour In Puerto Rico

I sat silently in my kayak, one hand swirling the water outside the boat. With each gentle swish, a miniature constellation of underwater “stars” twinkled around my fingers. In the kayak beside me, a woman spun her paddle in the water and gasped at the tiny explosion of light. Ahead of me, the comet-like streak of green in the water indicated a fish swimming near the surface.

I’d come to Isla de Vieques, off Puerto Rico’s main island, to kayak its world-famous bioluminescent bay. The experience was everything I’d hoped for — a stroke of luck, given how poorly I’d arranged my trip. Getting the most out of a bio bay tour requires a lot of advance planning, and, in the case of Vieques, more cash than you might expect.

Here’s what I wish I knew before making the trip.

1. Bioluminescence Is Surprisingly Common

Much like fireflies do on land, single-celled, water surface–dwelling organisms called dinoflagellates, a type of plankton, can emit light underwater. They aren’t the only marine organisms that glow. Some 1,500 species of fish are known to luminesce, as well as certain types of squid, jellyfish, worms, and crustaceans. Many use bioluminescence as lures for food or mates, or to confuse predators.

Although dinoflagellates are microscopic, they often form large colonies. The human eye doesn’t detect the bioluminescence when a water body is still. But when disturbed, such as by wind that ripples the surface or the slicing of a boat hull through the water, our eyes translate the light wavelengths into glow-in-the-dark sparkles and zigzags of green or blue-green.

Choose a reputable tour operator to make the most of your bioluminescent bay kayaking experience.

Photo credit: Discover Puerto Rico

2. Puerto Rico Has Three Bioluminescent Bays

The planet currently has five ecosystems where dinoflagellate concentrations are high enough to consistently cause this bioluminescent phenomenon. Puerto Rico claims three of them.

In Fajardo, along the east coast of the main island, Laguna Grande is the most trafficked of the trio. It’s not as bright as the others, but at only an hour by car from San Juan, it’s the easiest to get to. This also makes it the most touristy of the bunch.

A few of the better-known Laguna Grande tour operators include:

  • Eco Adventures
  • Kayaking Puerto Rico
  • Yokahú Kayak Trips
  • Puerto Rico Bio Bay Tours

In Lajas, on the opposite corner of the main island, La Parguera is the least visited of the three bays. At about 2.5 hours from San Juan, it’s a much longer drive than Laguna Grande, but a worthwhile stop if you’re visiting the western side of Puerto Rico.

Some tours allow swimming in La Parguera. Because chemicals in bug repellents, sunscreens, and body lotions can kill the phytoplankton, you’ll need to shower before joining a tour that includes swimming or diving through the bio bay.

Try one of these La Parguera tour operators:

  • Parguera Eco Tours
  • Bio Bay Tours
  • Kayaking Parguera
  • Alelí Tours

The granddaddy of all bioluminescent bays, and the brightest in the world, is Mosquito Bay in Vieques. Although Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017, Mosquito Bay’s dinoflagellate population has, miraculously, doubled since then. On a dark night, you’re almost guaranteed to see something spectacular.   

Tour operators on Vieques include:

  • Abe’s Snorkeling
  • Black Beard Sports
  • Vieques Kayaks Bio Bay
  • Jak Water Sports

3. Booking A Tour Can Lead To Unexpected Expenses

You can rent a car and drive to Laguna Grande or La Parguera. Mosquito Bay isn’t connected to the main island, so you’ll need to take a ferry (about $40 per person) or small plane (about $120 per person) from Ceiba, or fly directly from San Juan (about $130 per person), to get there. Depending on the time of year, ferry and flight service may or may not be available after 7 p.m. Residents are given preference on the ferry, which means you could get bumped from an especially full voyage.

In addition, many bio bay kayaking tour operators require an address where you’ll be staying on the island in order to complete booking. Since cars aren’t allowed on the ferry to Vieques, you must rent a car or line up a taxi ride once on the island.

The short story: It’s best to plan an overnight stay on the island.

Between our flights, taxi, accommodations in the least expensive Airbnb we could find, and the tour itself, my husband and I spent about $450 on this portion of our trip.  

We chose Abe’s Snorkeling for our excursion. The experience was very good overall, although the tour operator, like an airline, oversold their 7 p.m. tour. About a dozen of us were bumped, with no notice, to the 9 p.m. slot. For our trouble, our guide offered each pairing of people a refund on one ticket.

Although you won’t be alone on the water, you might feel like you have the bay all to yourself.

Photo credit: Discover Puerto Rico

4. Almost Anyone Can Do It

Bio bay kayaking is appropriate for most levels of ability. The water is usually calm, and paddling is done at a laid-back pace, mostly in two-person boats. Because you’re kayaking in the dark, it’s important to follow your guide’s instructions and stick close to your tour group. This could be tricky for travelers with vision or hearing impairments. If you’ve got grandkids in tow, ask about age restrictions.

5. Know Your Moon Cycles, And Book In Advance

You might be able to book a tour on the fly, but I wouldn’t risk it. Most fill up several months in advance, especially during the high season.

Although Puerto Rico’s bays luminesce year round, you’ll have the best experience on a dark night. Kayaking during a new moon is preferable because the glow percentage is usually higher. Using a moon phases calendar will help you chart out the best time to go.

Most operators don’t even run tours 3 days before or after a full moon. We didn’t realize this when we booked our Puerto Rican vacation. Fortunately, the final night was just beyond the full-moon window.  

The day before or the morning of your excursion, call your tour operator to check on the bay’s brightness; it should be a minimum of 30 percent. In addition to the moon, tides and water temperature affect how much color you see.

Some tour companies offer clear-bottomed boats, which allow for a unique look at the bioluminescence directly underneath you. This isn’t the default option, so be sure to ask if it’s important to you.

7. Dress To Get Wet

Wear comfortable clothing, such as shorts and a T-shirt, preferably made of tech or quick-drying fabrics; some splashing is normal during any kayaking outing. Pants and shorts with zipper pockets are useful for storing a credit card, in case you want to stop at a restaurant or bar on the way back to your hotel or Airbnb (no need to take a full wallet or cash). Sturdy walking sandals, knit sneakers, or aqua shoes are all good choices for footwear.

Don’t count on being able to stash extra clothing or shoes with the tour operator; take only what you need.

8. Skip The Sunscreens And Skin Lotions

Wash your hands and feet before the trip, and don’t apply any moisturizer, serums, or lotions. You’ll be allowed to dip toes and fingers in the water, but chemicals from common skin products can kill the dinoflagellates.

9. It’s Okay To Take Your Phone

Most bio bay operators will tell you to leave your cell phone behind, ostensibly because its camera won’t be able to capture the glow. This may be true, or it may be an effort to reduce the sharing of images, which might, in turn, lead to a reduction in tour purchases. I regretted listening to this advice. I think I could have used my cell phone camera in manual mode and gotten sufficiently long exposures to photograph some of the luminescence.

Bottom line: There’s no harm in taking your phone, as long as you seal it in a floating dry bag, and wear it on a lanyard around your neck. Just be aware that if you accidentally overturn your kayak, you might have trouble retrieving the phone in the dark. And don’t spend all your time taking pictures. The best part of the experience is staying in the moment and enjoying the display.

10. Be Prepared For A Wild Ride

The drive out to the bio bay is a bit like riding a roller coaster without a seat belt. Our bus driver clearly had been making this drive for years, and he knew every pothole and curve in the road — and took most of them at a robust clip. In the dark. I had to pry my fingers out of the seat upholstery after he swerved through small herds of the island’s free-roaming horses. Fortunately, he didn’t hit any.

Pro Tip: About those Viequense horses: They’re not wild, even if tourism brochures and resorts market them as such. All are owned by residents and are set free to browse the island’s grasses when not being used as transportation. Sadly, these beautiful animals are frequently killed in road accidents. If you rent a car, drive slowly and cautiously.

The glow of the phytoplankton is usually enhanced in photos, as you see here. Still, the experience of kayaking a biobay on a dark, clear night is nothing short of magical.

Photo credit: Discover Puerto Rico

11. Keep Your Expectations In Check

Nature is fickle, and an evening of 100 percent glow might be followed by one of less than 30 percent. To make matters worse, all promotional images of bio bay tours are Photoshopped. While it is a breathtaking sight, you will not be engulfed in a happy blue halo, nor will the water light up on its own. What you’ll see is more akin to an underwater shower of glitter every time you or your tour mates dip an oar or hand into the bay.  

That’s a big yes. Although I can’t speak for Laguna Grande or La Parguera, kayaking Mosquito Bay was as close to magical as an outdoor experience can get. The bay is wide open and hushed, and even with other groups of kayakers out on the water, it felt like we were the only ones. Paddling was relaxed over the hour and a half we spent out on the water.

Because I’d read up in advance and scaled my expectations, I wasn’t disappointed. The bioluminescent glow was actually more pronounced than I figured it would be, with miniature fireworks going off each time a boat pushed through the water. It wasn’t the neon blue radiance shown on tour websites, but it still felt otherworldly, like holding a galaxy of tiny stars in my palms.

Discovering bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico

There are few places in the world where you can see the ocean glow. There are just five ecosystems in the world in fact, where you can visit a bioluminescent bay, and Puerto Rico is home to three of them.

Tiny organisms cause the bays in Puerto Rico to sparkle like a starry night sky. You can go snorkeling, kayaking, and even swimming among the bioluminescence here. It’s an experience not to be forgotten.

Discover Puerto Rico

Mosquito Bay, Vieques

The Natural Reserve of Mosquito Bay provides the perfect setting for bioluminescence. The mangrove swamps feed the organisms with decaying organic matter, creating the perfect habitat.

The lack of light pollution from any nearby settlements also helps to make this one of the most clear spots to see this natural wonder in its full glory.

Mosquito Bay was recognized in 2006 by the Guinness World Records as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Stay overnight in Vieques to make the most out of this once in a lifetime experience.

Book a clear-bottomed kayak trip in Mosquito Bay

Discover Puerto Rico

Laguna Grande

Laguna Grande is actually more of a lagoon than a bay, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.

It’s the most popular of the three bioluminescent bays as it’s the closest to San Juan. It’s part of the Cabeza de San Juan Nature Reserve in the town of Fajardo. Located about 45 minutes from San Juan or 30 minutes from the resorts in Rio Grande.

Tours are often combined with El Yunque National Forest, a great way to save money on your trip to Puerto Rico. But day tours can get busy and are best booked in advance.

Book a kayak tour through the mangrove forest and see the glowing waters as you get closer to the lagoon.

La Parguera, Lajas

La Parguera is located in Lajas at the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico. Known by locals as the “Phosphorescent Bay”, it’s much quieter than the other options as you will need to do a day trip or stay in the area overnight to visit.

The major benefit to visiting the bioluminescence at La Parguera is that tours are a lot less crowded. Tours are also cheaper in Lajas than the more famous Mosquito Bay.

La Parguera is the only one of the bioluminescent bays where swimming is allowed. Motorboats can come in and out so take care if swimming here.

Visit: Take a sunset tour of the bay or visit on a day trip from San Juan.

Tips for visiting bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico

  • Book a tour and call a day or two in advance to confirm that the bay’s brightness has been above 30% in the days before.

  • Visit in dry weather (most likely December-April), when there is little or no moonlight. Even sea temperatures can have an effect on the brightness levels and it’s best to choose the optimal time to avoid disappointment.

  • To keep this spectacle alive for future generations, try to avoid using hand creams, sun spray, bug repellent, and any other lotions that can harm the organisms.

Bioluminescent tours and activities in Puerto Rico

Most tours of the bioluminescent bays are by kayak or boat. La Parguera is the only bio bay in Puerto Rico where swimming is allowed.

Kayaking

Whilst kayaking offers a more interactive and peaceful experience, boat tours are better suited to families and the less mobile.

Kayak tours cost anywhere between $45 and $60 for around 2 hours, they run at sunset (usually around 7:30pm).

Boat tours

Electric boat tours in La Fajardo cost $52 and last 1hr 15, whereas in La Parguera bigger boats cost $12 for around 2 hours.

You can also take glass bottom boats here to see the ocean glow without even getting your feet wet.

When is the best time to see bioluminescence in Puerto Rico?

The best time of year to see the bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico is during the dry season from December to April.

The rainy season, from June to November, can disrupt the water with heavy rainfall making it hard to see the blue-green glow.

The weather in Puerto Rico is perfect in the dry season but it can get busy. Avoid mid-March if possible, which is when a lot of families with children and college students travel for Spring Break. This makes the bays pretty busy and prices are at a premium.

The lunar cycle also has an effect on the visibility, if you visit during a new moon the bays will appear much brighter due to the darker skies.

What causes bioluminescence?

The type of bioluminescence you can see in these bays is caused by millions of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates.

Similar to fireflies, these creatures emit a blue-green light when stirred by movement.

They are found just about everywhere in the ocean, but it’s only when they gather in huge numbers that you can see the starry glow that can be seen in abundance here in Puerto Rico.

In this article

Colonial Puerto Rico (part 2) — Farther away from the capital

Waking up in such a beautiful house in the San Sebastian area, I enjoy the sunrise. Since Puerto Rico is very close to the equator, sunrise and sunset are very fast here. It feels like you just turn on a light bulb and for some 30 minutes it’s completely light out of the darkness.

That is why it was so important for me, as a photographer, not to miss this golden regime time and to have time to arrive at the next shooting location before it became too light. I had to get up in the dark and immediately rush. Fortunately, there was a food truck right next to the house where I spent the night. Having bought local fast food, I go to a place called Gozalandia to look at the waterfall.

In the outback, far from the capital, the choice of gasoline is small, or rather, there is none at all. I must say that the road to it, as in many places in Puerto Rico, as soon as you leave the highway, is very narrow. Often it is not even possible for two cars to pass each other. Therefore, it is considered good form to honk before each turn, so that the driver driving towards you knows about you and slows down.

But finally the waterfall! Since I arrive there at 7 in the morning, there is not a single living soul around, although I am sure that during the day it should be full of people.

Surprisingly, the water here is very warm and I dive to wash my sleep off completely.

And of course, why not jump from such a beautiful springboard!

In addition to the waterfall, this is a great place to walk through the rainforest along the river.

Taking advantage of the fact that there is no one else in the forest besides me, I make my way watching around.

While I was quietly photographing the landscape, another hunter landed nearby in the hope of catching breakfast.

Hiding its entire neck, it is almost invisible, but when the prey is visible, then it shows itself

One deft move and we have a shrimp in our mouth!

After a little more walking in the woods, I drive further towards Rincon, where I arranged to meet my friends who, by sheer chance, flew to rest in Puerto Rico on the same plane as me!

At the entrance to the city, I meet a lot of people, like at a festival. Apparently some local holiday.

If you rank animals in Puerto Rico, after cats and chickens, the third place is definitely given to horses. There are a lot of them here.

And although you can often see how they move around, many people keep them just to be

Like pets, because what would it be like without a horse?

Rincón greets me with the heat of the rising sun and magnificent but again surprisingly deserted beaches.

Tourists are not visible at all, so only the local population. They do exercises in the morning, swim.

This type of natural large pool at your side, nothing surprising

You understand that for this country to have such beaches is not exotic, but a common thing.

I soon meet with friends who are also not difficult to find an absolutely empty and comfortable recreation beach

SUCH COSKS

and Rincon Quite a tourist place, you can feel it. Excuse me, I’m driving down the coast to the southwesternmost part of the island, to Cabo Rojo (Red Coat)

Along the way you come across these places with mailboxes. Unusually, because in the United States itself, there is usually a mailbox at each house separately, but here there is one place for the whole village so that the postman does not run back and forth.

Before reaching this peninsula, red bays can be seen along the way. Red salt is evaporated and mined here

The concentration of salt in the water is huge

You just need to scoop up and you already have a whole handful

Naturally, in such an environment, nothing grows in the area

I pass this small isthmus and find myself on the peninsula.

Los Morrillos lighthouse is located there

The Cabo Rojo lighthouse, which dates back to 1881, is called Faro Los Morrillos in Spanish and is still in use. Like the lighthouse of Punta Higuero, it helps ships through the Isla de Mona Passage

But what impresses me most of all is the hefty cliff and the view from it, on which the lighthouse 9 is located0004

If you walk along an inconspicuous path to the right of the lighthouse, you can get to Puente de Piedra — Stone Bridge

as soon as you see the sign No passage — congratulations, you’re on target!

After a short rest in this quiet bay, I return back to the car to drive on.

My next host is waiting for me in La Parguera. In the same place, judging by the reviews, there are places for diving, as well as a bio lagoon, which I really want to visit

Stopping in a small rural shop, you see such a rarity

And an old jukebox with records

no pop, only salsa, only hardcore!

There is a cozy bar nearby

The locals are in no hurry and they don’t need anything. And this is one of the big problems of colonial Puerto Rico, which I emphasized in the first report. As a US colony, residents receive all the benefits and unemployment benefits of US citizens. Naturally, for such a poor country, the sums are sufficient not to invent anything, but simply to live for oneself and be happy. Hence the almost complete absence of small and medium-sized businesses.

When I was in other poor countries, for example, in Peru, Ecuador, Jamaica, even in Egypt — everyone there is trying to do something, sell, earn. From here, everywhere there are shops, cafes, souvenirs, in general, a variety. In Puerto Rico you can drive for an hour and not see anything along the road, only occasionally fruit sellers trade from farms, but this is also a rarity.

And this is sad. It feels like the whole country has been turned into a resort town for US residents, while completely preventing it from developing and living independently. Only tourists and most Americans who have bought real estate and moved from the mainland to where the sea is warmer live well here.

Well, maybe even cows

However, almost every average wealthy family has its own yacht or small boat here.

It’s like owning a car in the US, a must

Families have a massive picnic on the water and the archipelago of islands around Puerto Rico for the weekend.

Arriving in La Parguera, I find the right guys and we go snorkeling and looking at corals and local marine life

dive videos

Having switched and again conducting a sunset by the sea, we are waiting for the time to go to the bio lagoon, where the water shines from touch

I have already been in a similar place on Yamaika — you have to compare!

With a group of guys from Europe, we arrive at the place. Unfortunately, that night there was a very bright moon and its light interrupted the light of the water

But if you wish, diving deep under the water, you can see this beauty.

Still, if you want real beauty, go to Vieques Island — according to reviews, it is much cooler there!

And when I get back to the city, I meet Franky, my new host, and we go to the bar with his friends to have a fun chat for the rest of the evening

Such an interesting wall where everyone can leave a message on the tile, or a wish

Franky’s friend says that she knows all his secrets, because he constantly comes to her, and the job of a bartender is to be able to listen! I have only mineral water on the menu for the evening.

But posing with rum is always welcome! By the way DonQ is the best local rum!

It remains to fall asleep quickly again in order to leave again from morning before sunrise. I will talk about scuba diving, the highest point in the mountains of Puerto Rico and much more!

Read more — Part 3

Previous part: Part 1

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Ivan Calderon — Puerto Rican professional boxer

Puerto Rican professional boxer

Name: Ivan
Surname: Calderon
Date of birth: 01/07/1975
Citizenship: USA

As an amateur, Calderón represented Puerto Rico in international competitions and participated in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

On May 3, 2003, he won the World Boxing Organization’s strawweight title by defeating Eduardo Marquez by decision.

He successfully defended his title 11 times and was recognized as ‘Super Champion’ by WBO.

On August 25, 2007, he defeated Hugo Cázares in the flyweight division for the title. Subsequently, Calderon successfully defended this title, speaking against Juan Esquer (Juan Esquer), Nelson Dieppa (Nelson Dieppa), Rodel Mayol (Rodel Mayol), Jesus Iribe (Jesús Iribe) and Casares. Calderon is also a former ‘The Ring’ super flyweight champion.

Ivan Calderón was born on January 7, 1975 in the municipality of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and currently lives in the city of Bayamon, in an area called Las Americas. The future ring star had a turbulent childhood, growing up in an atmosphere of violence and problems, which, according to him, helped him develop patience, which helped him a lot in life. Calderon attended the José Nevárez Landrón School in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

His first wife was Wilma Laguna, with whom Calderón had two children, Wilvani and Ivan Jr. (Iván). In an interview with ‘El Nuevo Día’, Calderón revealed that they got engaged to Laguna on August 29, 1997, after celebrating the quinceañera, the fifteenth anniversary of girls in Latin America, when a girl from a teenager turns into an adult girl. On February 5, 1999, they got married. Interestingly, not everything went smoothly for Calderon and Laguna from the very beginning — the boxer later said that from the moment they met, he felt the arrogance of his future wife. Nevertheless, he decided to propose to her, and after four months the young people began to live together.

In January 2009, it became known that Calderón and Laguna filed for divorce.

The money that Calderon earns in the ring, he invests

in real estate. In addition, he is associated with the activities of a company specializing in satellite tracking of vehicles. He is affiliated with the Department of Sports and Recreation of the City of Guaynabo and has been involved in several charity events in his native Puerto Rico aimed at young people, including speaking at schools and funding gifts at the Three Kings festival in Loíza ) in early 2006.

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