jamaica bioluminescent bay with fish
The bay is glowing.
Eat & Play

Splashing Around in Jamaica’s Bioluminescent Bay

By: Jesse Scott - May 17, 2024

I’ll never forget that ooey-gooey feeling in Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon. Its floor was a squishy and thick cloudlike mud. Perhaps in a normal circumstance, it would have grossed me out. But recently it was part of something special.

It was my first bioluminescent bay experience.

And, probably like most folks, I’d heard about bioluminescent bays but didn’t really understand what they were beyond rare places that you could frolic around in at night and have the waters light up around you.

Between my tour guide duo and some on-the-spot Googling about what in the heck was physically occurring around me in the water, I learned a lot that night. First, bioluminescent bays are super-rare – in fact, there are only five in the world and three of them are in Puerto Rico. Second, I learned about what caused the shine around me – millions upon millions of harmless microorganisms known as dinoflagellates radiating an aqua blue when disturbed.

It was a seamless journey to get to Luminous Lagoon from my resort, Excellence Oyster Bay, which is tucked on a private peninsula about 45 minutes east of Montego Bay. In addition to poolside blackjack, on-site cooking lessons and other beach-y experiences, the resort coordinated a local boat to come pick up our group.

It took about five minutes from Excellence Oyster Bay’s shores to coast to the middle of the lagoon. Upon arrival, you could tell we were not alone. Other boat charters – most with less than 10 passengers – were looming quietly in the waters until their respective passengers hopped in the water and started making a splash. Leaders in the charter space include Island Routes and Glistening Waters.

The whole phenomenon does seem a little bit weird and creepy, but the fun is in underwater wading and seeing the water light up in blue around you. It’s not something you can particularly see very well from the boat or photograph with an iPhone for that matter.

If you have a professional camera, you’ll want to bring it. Otherwise, as in our case, there may be a dude with a digital camera on your boat that will e-mail some to you afterward for a premium.

Regardless, this is one of those experiences that photos just don’t do justice. Beyond the sounds of splashes, hopefully it’ll be quiet and dark as it was for me.

It was one of those quiet moments that really make you marvel at the beauty of this wild — and sometimes squishy — earth we inhabit.

Popular Posts cape santa maria

The Best Caribbean Beach Resort You’ve Never Heard of 

There’s a boat just offshore called “Escape.”  It’s bobbing in some of the most brilliant, dynamic turquoise water I’ve ever seen, a few meters from a stretch of sand so bright and so white you have to squint to look […]


Marriott Is Opening Its New St Regis Resort In Aruba 

aruba st regis inside the restaurant with chairs

It was more than a decade ago that Marriott opened its first-ever Ritz-Carlton resort in the Dutch Caribbean: the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, which at the time was the island’s first true five-star resort.  Fast forward to 2024, and Marriott is set […]


A Tiny New Boutique Hotel Just Opened on a Pink Sand Beach in The Bahamas 

potlatch club pink sand with blue water

The pink sand, the historic cottages, the chic beach bars and luxe villas. You may be thinking of Harbour Island.  But this is another increasingly hip destination in The Bahamas: Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera, which just welcomed a brand-new boutique hotel.  […]


Related Posts negril jamaica caribbean photo

Caribbean Photo of the Week: Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica

The latest Caribbean Photo comes from Caribbean Journal reader Jennifer Vaandering, who sent in this beautiful shot of Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica. Have you taken a great photo in the Caribbean? Send it to news@caribjournal.com with CPOTW in […]


Rum Journal: From Jamaica, a Legendary Brand Grows Up

man opening barrel with rum

“We have Myers’s.” If you were a rum enthusiast a few decades ago, you’d know this common refrain.  You’d walk into a decent-looking bar in the United States, scour the back shelf, ask for an aged rum, and get that […]


Wyndham Just Added New All-Inclusive Resorts in Jamaica

beach with palm trees at new wyndham

Marriott. Hyatt. Hilton. The biggest names in travel have all been making major moves in the all-inclusive space in the Caribbean, as travelers continue to demand the concept in their vacations.  You can add Wyndham to that list.  The travel […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You