traveling latin america
Travel and tourism throughout Latin America. La Parguera: Bioluminescent Bay

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Bioluminescence Around Swimmer
Tibes dwelling
Tibes Indigenous Center, Puerto Rico

Along Puerto Rico’s southwestern coast lies the Bioluminescent Bay, known for its plant life, which glows when disturbed.  I visited the bay with my father and my two young kids.

We’d never seen the bay, but my dad remembered seeing boats full of people headed for the Bioluminescent Bay leaving from the beach hotspot La Parguera, so we piled in the car and drove to La Parguera.  It turned out La Parguera was a farther drive than we had anticipated, and by the time we arrived it was after 10:00.  We parked our car and hurried over to the docks. The streets were lined with lively bars, with voices and laughter floating out into the night. I worried that the docks would be closed down, but no, they were still operating.  You see, the glowing plants are best seen at night, so much of the Bioluminescent Bay tourist traffic occurs after dark.

We purchased tickets for the next boat leaving, which was already docked and boarding.  As we approached the ticket taker, he advised us to buy some drinks before we boarded, assuring us that we had plenty of time.  We popped into the closest bar, and came out with a beer, coke, and a small but tasty piñacolada, which had all cost a total of $5.  

The boat was a large ferry, with open sides and benches for passenger seating.  We cruised out into the black night, first the music, then the bright lights of La Parguera fading away like smoke. 

When we reached the Bioluminescent Bay, the captain turned off the engine and the lights and the passengers all crowded at the railings.  Two wetsuit clad young men jumped off the side of the boat and swam around while an announcer explained what they were doing and gave information about the bay.  As the men moved, the pale green glow of the plants shone in the inky black water.  Beautiful and amazing.

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