Puerto Rico has three Bioluminescent Bays (bio-bays): ‘La Parguera’ on the southwest coast, ‘Mosquito Bay’ on the island of Vieques and ‘La Laguna Grande’ in Fajardo. For visitors to San Juan, the closest and easiest to get to is the La Laguna Grande (Fajardo Bio-Bay).
From San Juan, you can reach the Fajardo Bio-Bay in about 60-90 minutes depending on traffic, making this a great evening trip, provided that the moon phase is OK for the night you choose to go.
Note: Some tour operators will offer transportation if there are enough requests for the night of your tour, so contact them in advance, if you would prefer not to have to drive.
What is a Bioluminescent Bays?
It is a bay that contains millions of micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) that when agitated glow. The glow of the Bio-bay is best seen when the night sky is moonless or there is very little moonlight and most tour operators will not offer tours when the moon is not favorable.
How to Visit the Fajardo Bio-Bay
Currently swimming is NOT ALLOWED at the Fajardo Bio-Bay (if this is important to you, then you need to visit the Vieques Bio-Bay) and up until recently the main option for touring the Bio-Bay was by Kayak. There is now a second option which allows you to visit the Fajardo Bio-Bay and remain on land; the La Cabezas Reserve now offers walking tours of the Bio-Bay. So if you are unsure about a kayak trip, this is an option worth checking out.
For the kayak tours, all tour operators meet at the Las Croabas boat ramp and most offer 2 trips during the evening. Times of these tours will depend on the time of year, but the first tour usually starts around 6 to 6:30pm, lasting about 2 hours. The second tour will start around 8 to 8:30pm.
You will need to contact the tour operator to check for age restrictions but it seems in general to be available for ages 6 and up. Operators will provide a life vest as well as lights snacks and refreshments. Tour guides are bi-lingual and are very knowledgeable about the Bio-Bay and the areas wildlife.
As you will be in kayaks, there is a good chance that you might get a little wet, so plan your clothing accordingly and wear some quick drying clothes or have a change of clothes ready in your car.
Most tour operators will only tour the Bio-Bay when the moon phase is good for viewing and most (but not all) will only tour Mondays – Saturdays (Sunday is a day off to give the Bio-Bay a rest from people).
Price will vary depending on tour operator and transportation requirements.
Selection of Tour Operators
Las Tortugas Adventures – 787-809-0253 or 787-637-8356
Kayaking Puerto Rico – 787-435-1665 or 787-564-5629
Eco Xcursion Aquatica – 787-888-2887 or 787-550-4630
Akuadventures – 787-685-9522 use clear bottom kayaks.
Encantos Ecotours – 787-272-0005
AdvenTours – 787-889-0251 or 787-530-8311
Enchanted Island Eco Tours – 787-657-8714 or 787-550-4630
Note: If the walking tour of the Fajardo Bio-Bay interests you, then check out the Las Cabezas Nature Reserve night tour
If swimming is essential, then head over to Vieques for Mosquito Bay. Either spend the night on Vieques and tour the Bio-Bay or take an evening cruise from Fajardo with East Wind Catermeran.
What: Fajardo Bio-Bay (La Laguna Grande)
When: All year (moon phase permitting)
How: Kayak or walking tour
Duration: About 2 hours
Directions: From San Juan, take Hwy 26 (past San Juan airport), join Route 66 (toll road), follow Route 3 towards Fajardo. Take Rd 194 (left) and then Rd 987 (left) to Las Croabas boat ramp
Photo Resource: Kayaks @ Las Croabas by adigupta