Bioluminescent Bay is one of the most fascinating attractions in Puerto Rico. Found off the southern coast of Vieques, this bay is full of dinoflagellates, or pyrodiniums, as they are also known. When these tiny bioluminescent organisms are disturbed, they produce neon blue bursts of light. This phenomenon is known as phosphorescence. The spectacle is best enjoyed on cloudy, moonless nights, and is something that no witness is likely to ever forget.
Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bay goes by a few different names. The other names include Mosquito Bay, Phosphorescent Bay, and Bio Bay. Whatever you call it, the bay is special. There are experts who believe that it is home the world’s highest concentration of bioluminescent organisms, and the Guinness Book of World Records hailed it as the brightest bay of its kind on the planet in 2008. Put it all together, and it is little wonder that Bioluminescent Bay tours are popular among Puerto Rico visitors.
Some further explanation can help when it comes to understanding the phenomenon that is Bio Bay Puerto Rico. The fact that the bay is small and shallow lends to the high concentration of dinoflagellates. According to at least one account, a gallon of Bioluminescent Bay water can have upwards of three-quarters of a million dinoflagellates. Also significant is the fact that the mouth of the bay is so small. The bioluminescent organisms are essentially trapped and have nowhere else to go.
It is interesting to consider what explorers from Spain thought about Bioluminescent Bay when they arrived in Puerto Rico hundreds of years ago. They were inclined to believe that it was the work of the Devil. As a result of this belief, they tried to block the entrance to Bio Bay with huge boulders. This only served to preserve the luminescence even more, so the move backfired.
As for other interesting features about Bioluminescent Bay, the dinoflagellates that call it home primarily feed off the dead leaves of mangrove trees. Also, when they are disturbed, they are known to flee, thus leaving phosphorescent trails that are quite magical in nature. It is quite a sight to see. Some even refer to the viewer experience as being of the psychedelic variety, and there are tours that allow their guests to actually swim among the bioluminescent creatures. Those who are hoping to add such a swimming experience to their Puerto Rico vacation plans should know that bug repellents that contain deet are harmful to the dinoflagellates. As such, these kinds of repellents should not be applied before getting in the water.