What Is Bioluminescent Kayaking (13 Interesting Facts To Know Today)

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: December 7, 2022
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Bioluminescent kayaking is a type of kayaking where participants paddle through waters that are home to bioluminescent organisms. These are tiny marine life forms that are capable of producing light through a chemical reaction, often in response to movement or stress.

What Is Bioluminescent Kayaking?

Although it’s a one-time season, summer is the moment you are supposed to enjoy it to the fullest. It’s that one chance your bucket list should have all the fun activities that you love or have always admired to do. And if it’s still empty, then bioluminescent kayaking can cover it all. 

As magical as it may sound, the activity is fun, connecting, and surely health-building. Different from ordinary canoeing, kayaking in the bioluminescent waters adds zest to your family or romantic vacation. In every stroke of your paddle, the water around glows and sparkles as flying blue comets. 

Even so, this bioluminescence is a unique phenomenon and it’s only available in select water bodies. As such, various crucial aspects are worth considering as you book your tour to avoid unnecessary disappointments.


In this post, we’ll be looking at some of these things, including where and when you can enjoy the brightest glowing.

Facts You Must Know About Bioluminescent Kayaking

On Which Beach Can I Have A Bioluminescent Tour?

Well, that depends on which part of the world you’re desperate to visit this time. There are various places around the globe where you can enjoy the aquatic glow, with some in the ocean and others in the rivers.

A few of these locations include Mudhdhoo island [Puerto Rico], Gippsland Lakes [Australia], Luminous Island [Jamaica], Mission Bay, and Torrey Pines Beach [San Diego].

Where Can You See Bioluminescence In Florida?

The Sunshine State, as some vacationers call it, has so many to enjoy, including the renowned Disney World, Universal Studios, and other theme parks. Even so, the majority appreciate its sandy beaches and the amazing bioluminescence along the Indian River Lagoon.

The lagoon system is quite large as it is the source of other glowing waters such as Banana River, Mosquito Lagoon, and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

Is It True There’s Still Bioluminescence In January? 

Simply saying, the glowing effect is a natural occurrence from algae and organisms living in the water. As such, it’s usually there throughout the year. However, the warmer months of the year are usually the best as they attract the bioluminescent plankton, which comes in blooms.

For colder months like January and February, though, the glowing is weak as it’s largely from cold jellies. Sadly, these marine species tend to feed on their offspring blooms to survive the harsh winter season. Thereby, leaving only a few jellies to illuminate the water.

I Would Like To Bring My Kids To See it As Well. Can The Water Be Glowing At 6 pm?

Overall, the most favorable time for bioluminescent displays is during the darker hours of the nighttime, after sunset. At the time, the visibility is pretty clear as the responsible organisms, phytoplankton, lit it up in a blue-green color.

It’s therefore, difficult to enjoy the magic glow at around 6 pm since the beaches are still bright from the setting sun. Nonetheless, you can still kayak and have the opportunity to see ocean wildlife like roseate spoonbill and bottlenose dolphin. 

Do I Need An Extra Kayak Or We Can Ride With My Two Kids (6 & 7 years old) Together?

That depends on the tour you have booked or the equipment you have rented. There’s a wide selection of kayaks in the market, with different designs and capacities. If solo, you can go with the single models, which are quite many.

The majority of the tour companies, nonetheless, rent tandem kayaks that can comfortably fit two adults or one adult and two little kids.

Can I Wear Jeans While Kayaking?

Of course, you can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Just like any other outdoor activity, canoeing requires you to be comfortable as you move and with your safety precaution. So, the crucial clothing you can have during your kayaking tour is a wetsuit/ drysuit and a personal flotation device.

Although optional, you can consider paddling booties and gloves, plus a hat or beanie to protect you from cold. 

Is It True I Can Swim In The Bioluminescent Bay In Puerto Rico?

Absolutely! You just have to make sure you have your flotation device [like a life jacket] and you know how to strike the water. This is a big advantage as most beaches prohibit taking a dip since the chemicals we wear can be disastrous to the luminous organisms.

So, even when La Parguera bay allows it, swimming is unethical if genuinely you want your grandchildren to also enjoy the experience.

Do I Have To Book A Tour To Have The Benefit Of The Bioluminescent Bay?

No, it’s not a must you hire a tour. The majority of these beaches are public, which means you can even drive yourself there. Nonetheless, it’s not a great idea as you don’t know what can happen out there. 

Also, the best time for bio bay is when it’s dark during the night. At the time, it’s very easy to get lost or “misplace” your car if you’re not familiar with the environment.

Are There Any Clear Bottom Kayak Tours For A Person Who Weighs 275 Pounds?

As we have just said, there is a vast range of kayaks that you can use on your bioluminescent tour. They not only come with different capacities but also different designs. The glass bottom models can help add to your experience with extra pleasure as you can see the underwater ecosystem up close.

Even so, these kayaks have a lower weight capacity limit, with the best having a total weight limit of up to 420 lbs. Still, these providers require individuals over 250lbs to consult with them first due to some safety guideline measures.

Any Possible Dangers That I Should Be Aware Of? 

For the better, bioluminescent kayaking is a charming activity that you will always miss redoing every time on the beach. There is no real danger unless you are afraid of the darkness and the waves crashing on the shores.
Even so, it’s not very safe to go alone or swim. For instance, some waves might catch you off-guard and tip you over into the waters. 

Also, luminous organisms light up after a physical disturbance, like that of moving paddles, boats, or waves. Most of them do this as a response to an attack. So, in the process of glowing, they may release other toxins that can affect your skin or body. 

With That, Is It Advisable To Go on This Bioluminescent Tour If You Cannot Swim?

Yes, but with a reputable tour company and with your personal floatation device [PFD] on. With the tour company, you will have a guarantee of a good guide who can be assisting you any time you need help. The floatation device, on the other hand, is just a safety precautionary to ensure you don’t drown in the event of capsizing. 

Is It A Must I Kayak To The Bioluminescent Bay Or One Can Get A Boat?

As we mentioned in the intro, Kayaking can be great for health-boosting as it involves paddling, which can build muscle strength. However, those with physical disabilities or pregnant moms can also relish the magical moment by renting a small boat. 

The experience won’t be as exciting as when paddling, but still, you will enjoy it since you will have a guide [the captain]. Surprisingly, you might even rescue one or two kayakers who got tired or lost in the waters.

I Want To Have Some Pictures For Memories. Is This Possible?

Yes, it’s possible to snap the bioluminescent algal blooms, but not simple. Just like with the aurora, meteor, and other incredible natural phenomena, it’s hard to predict when it’s about to happen. 

It’s trickier to capture as bioluminescence requires darkness, but photographing requires lighting. With a cool camera and good knowledge of low-light photography, however, you can shoot fanciful pictures that everyone will want.

Which Insect Repellant Would You Recommend For Dusk Kayaking?

Even if it’s not, Mosquito bay and Mosquito Lagoon have a reason for their naming. And as you indulge in the beautiful sceneries, someone else is also happy she will have her feast. 

Therefore, do carry some natural repellent, such that Citronella, to protect you from vicious insects without harming the bioluminescent microorganisms. 

Please note, synthetic repellants are highly discouraged. Some tours might actually dismiss you if they notice, and that’s why it’s crucial to confirm before trip day. 

What’s Next?

Although the majority of people take to the beaches during the day, the nights are as fun and exciting. The spooky type might develop a fear of darkness, for sure. But with good company, your bioluminescence tour might be more marveling than speed-boating or lying on the sand.

You can even carry with you a net and jar to catch your comb-jelly as SpongeBob and Patrick does in their famous sequel. You only have to make sure you release the animal back into the water after having a short time with it.

To conclude, we duly hope our Q/A guide has answered most [if not all] of the questions you had on bioluminescent kayaking. Click to share the info with your social media friends and don’t forget to mention where you’ll be visiting this season. 


  • https://www.bkadventure.com/bioluminescent-kayaking-adventures/
  • https://www.visitflorida.com/travel-ideas/articles/bioluminescent-kayaking/

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