Our experience in the Bioluminescent Bay @ Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Have you ever heard about water that glows in the night on a new moon day when it is totally dark all around? Now that you have, are you not curious to know more? Well, if you are in Puerto Rico, you can actually see it too. Yes, it is a phenomenon called bioluminescence  which you can witness clearly in 6 places on this Earth and Puerto Rico is best known for being the brightest among them

It so happened that my husband's birthday in 2015 fell close to New Moon's Day, the time of the month when you can better experience the magic of the bioluminescence. Also, his US visa stamp on his passport expired, limiting our options to domestic travel. And my dear friend Pallavi who has visited Puerto Rico before confirmed that a trip to Puerto Rico and back is considered domestic travel for people living in the US and that she loved the rain forests there. It all seemed to come together and I could hear Puerto Rico calling. I am just so glad I listened. 

We landed in Puerto Rico on my husband's birthday and I booked a private kayaking tour of the Bio-bay with a local for that evening through our Airbnb host. I highly recommend booking a private kayak tour with a local in the Fajardo area. No, it is not any more expensive than booking a group tour and it is very personalized and moves at your own pace. We stayed at a walking distance from the 'Seven Seas' beach and reached the spot around sunset for our tour. We met with our tour guide, a young and energetic Puerto Rican who got an Italian name only because his mom thought it was fancy. After brief introductions, he showed us our kayaks and we slowly settled into them.

As the sun began to set, it started raining hard. I loved kayaking in the sea while it rained. After kayaking for about 15-20 minutes, we reached the mangroves. We had to pass through messy mangrove channels to enter the 'Laguna Grande' or the BioBay. It seemed like a back door entry, something that only locals do. We could see kayaking tour groups coming from the other direction at a distance. The two of us along with our guide kayaked in the area peacefully for a while and waited for it to get dark. As it got darker, we could see the water glowing. The glow followed our paddles and kayaks wherever we went. We splashed the water with our hands and marvelled at the natural phenomenon caused by micro-organisms, called “dinoflagellates”, that glow in the dark for a second when agitated. Though we could not capture the magic in our hands or our cameras, we captured it in our memories. My husband was super excited and I wished him a very happy birthday.

We got up early the next morning to catch our Ferry to the island of Culebra to spend a day at the world-famous Flamenco Beach. It did not disappoint. We had fun playing in the water, snorkeling and relaxing under the coconut trees sipping pina coladas. More about our day trip to Playa Flamenco here.

The next day was spent hiking to the top of El-Yunque rain forest. Now, Puerto Rico may have the world's best beaches or bio luminescent bays or World Heritage sites, but to me, this rain forest was a clear winner. I was on cloud 9 both physically and literally and can't recommend enough the El Yunque trail that takes you to the Peak of the rain forest. I absolutely loved it and it was the most rewarding hike I have been on. You can fall in love with it as I did while reading my blog post here.

Day 4 was spent on the island of Vieques, also known as the Paradise Island. We rented a scooter and explored the island, its unspoiled beaches, hidden spots and cute towns. It was here that my husband found his dream beach and I am sure you can find yours too.

The next day, we explored the historic town of San Juan with its World Heritage Sites, charming French balconies and cute cobbled streets. We even had a chance to enjoy their music festival and street food.

The day of our wedding anniversary was spent exploring the hidden beach and snorkeling in what felt like an other worldly place, followed by a dinner on the beach.

We enjoyed the unspoiled beauty and natural diversity offered by Puerto Rico for a week along with its food and charming historic cities. Hope you get a chance to explore the place soon.


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