Bioluminescent Bays

Imagine the blackness of the sea on a moonless night. Now watch it sparkle with the darting lights of a million fireflies. Nature lovers will not want to miss the phenomenal experience of visiting a tropical phosphorescent bay!

The phosphorescence is actually bioluminescence generated by microscopic organisms in the water. It is believed to be part of a natural defense system triggered by the movement of predators. Many scientists believe the tiny organisms light up so their predators can see more desirable prey – and thus leave them alone.

The phenomenon occurs sporadically in warm seas around the world, but Puerto Rico is one of the only places on the planet where you can depend on it every evening at two different protected bays and a lagoon. The best known is at La Parguera, between Mayagez and Ponce in the southwest of the island. A cottage industry in the village is based on showing the bay to visitors.

The more spectacular phosphorescent bay is Mosquito Bay in Vieques, the island municipality off of the main island’s northeastern shore. The experience of seeing-and being surrounded by-this eerie light is nothing less than magical!


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