Puerto Rico is home to three out of five bioluminescent bays in the world. They are located in Vieques, Lajas and Fajardo. It is honestly one of the most beautiful things one can experience in a lifetime. The main focus of this article, however, is the magical bio-bay in Fajardo .
Fajardo is known to be the hub of much of the recreational boating in Puerto Rico and a popular launching port to Culebra, Vieques, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. It was founded in 1760 and it was a scene of fighting during the Spanish-American War in 1898. In Fajardo, the main products that are manufactured are cigars, furniture, and metal and electronic components.
The bio-bay in Fajardo is called The Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Bay and has been described as an absolute must for adventurous travellers who are visiting Puerto Rico. The waters are lit up by tons of tiny organisms called dinoflagellates who light up and cause the water to sparkle when disturbed. Kayaking through here is a recommended way to behold this beauty and give you the chance to really appreciate its brilliance.
The History and Characteristics of Bio Bay in Fajardo
Out of the three bio bays in Puerto Rico, Laguna Grande is the only one that is technically more of a long and narrow canal that leads to the sparkling neon waters. As such, it is considered as a lagoon.
Laguna Grande Bio Bay has a very high concentration of “Dinoflagellate” plankton. When you move the water in the bay, these plankton emit light, giving the appearance of glowing water. It is inside the Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve and it’s surrounded by a red mangrove forest. It is an hour away from San Juan and 55 minutes from the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.
The Laguna Grande is surrounded by a red mangrove forest that you need to kayak through before getting to the magical waters.
The best time to visit this place is during a new moon night when the bay will be most active. At this time, you will be able to see the brightest colours coursing through the water. A good idea would be to travel there during the dry season which is from December to mid April. This is because heavy rainfall may cloud the water and make it a little more difficult to see the glow.
How to Visit Bio Bay by Kayak
To visit Laguna Grande and enjoy a kayak tour you will have to book a tour. There are many touring companies that can be found online that provide this service. Tickets may cost about $55, although this price may be subject to change. Search through the tour companies that provide this service and see which one is the best fit for you after going through all their policies, service packages, and prices.
During the tour, you can expect to be greeted by staff upon arrival and go through a quick check in where you will be fitted with a life jacket and be taken through a safety briefing. Your journey may start with a quick paddle across as Croabas Bay, after which you will be taken to the entrance of the Cape San Juan Nature Reserve where you will navigate the channel leading to the bioluminescent world of Laguna Grande.
At the bay, you will be given an explanation as to why the waters glow, as well as the natural history of the Nature reserve. Additionally, you will be allowed some time to play with the waters before heading back to the beginning where you may be provided with some snacks and water.
Things to do During the Kayak Tour of the Bio Bay in Fajardo
The kayak tour of Laguna Grande allows you to paddle through Fajardo’s mangroves peacefully until you get to the bio bay. It is wheelchair accessible and you will be given live commentary and interpretations about the ecosystem in English or Spanish. You will not be allowed to swim at Laguna Grande.
To enjoy the most of the tour, make sure you come along with a picture or video taking device that has low flash and will allow you to take the best pictures and videos. It is a good idea to go on this tour during the evening, when it is dark and there is little to no moonlight. This will allow the waters to shine brighter. A change of clothes may be convenient to bring as you may get wet from the waist down. Make sure to keep your phone and other gadgets safe as waterproof pouches will not be provided to you.
As the health and well-being of the dinoflagellates is most important, it is advised that you avoid the use of bug repellents or lotions, or any creams that may cause harm to the micro-organisms. It is an absolute must that you do not litter and disrupt the ecosystem or do any other thing that may be considered harmful.
Kayaks are usually built to carry at least two people with a weight limit of 250 Ibs. per person. You can go along with your loved ones or friends and even the elderly. Children who are to participate must be at least seven years or older.
Most importantly, just have fun! You can laugh and sing along to your favourite tunes as you paddle along the course of the lagoon whilst enjoying the educative and interesting commentary about Laguna Grande.
Other Natural Attractions in Fajardo to Visit
There are a ton of other natural attractions in Fajardo that you can visit. Puerto Rico is a treasure trove of natural beauties and so you will never be short of things to do.
Here is a list of a few of them:
- The other bio bays in Vieques and Lajas
- Luis Munoz Marin Park- found in San Juan and is an urban park filled with fun activities.
- Condado Beach- a gorgeous place to visit which is only a few minutes away from Old San Juan.
- Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico- a beautiful museum located in a historic building that has 18 exhibition halls
- El Yunque National Forest, and many others.
So, come and enjoy the wonders of the gorgeous bioluminescent bay in Fajardo and have your dreams come to life as you paddle through the glowing waters in a kayak.