Puerto Rico Bioluminescent Bays ⎮ Mosquito Bay, Vieques

Mosquito Bay is the most brilliant of the bioluminescent bays in the world, recognized as such by Guinness World Records in 2006 as The Brightest Bioluminescent bay in the World.

Top Rated Boat Tour - Mosquito Bay Bioluminescent Bay

Mosquito Bay, the brightest Bahia Bioluminiscente (Bioluminescent Bay), is located on the gorgeous island of Vieques, a beach lover’s wonderland, part of the Puerto Rico archipelago.  This natural wonder was spooky, unfamiliar, and exotic to the first European explorers.  We can only imagine how bright it was centuries ago, but we can assure you that today, it still is a magical experience that no pictures or video can truly capture.  Don’t let the common name, Mosquito Bay, prevent you from experiencing this wonder of nature, although natural insect repellent is recommended, your journey will be pleasant.

Brightness of Mosquito Bay

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Again, Mosquito Bay is the most brilliant of the bioluminescent bays in the world, recognized as such by Guinness World Records in 2006 as The Brightest Bioluminescent bay in the World.

The color of bioluminescence in Vieques is truly a bright blue.  Actually, we’ve seen many locations around the world using photos taken in Vieques.  The video below truly captured the real color and magic.  

Mosquito Bay has the largest concentration of dinoflagellates, and when combined with the low light pollution on the island, it is a spectacle on a Moonless / New Moon night.  Residents of Vieques and those blessed to have experienced the magical brightness of Mosquito Bay were concerned for the bioluminescent bay after Hurricane Maria.  To everyone’s surprise, it recovered quickly, and it became brighter than ever.  

Ways to Experience Mosquito Bay

Vieques, Puerto Rico

In Vieques, you can experience Mosquito Bay by booking an electric pontoon boat or kayak tour.  Tours are led by passionate and educated guides who discuss the biology of bioluminescence at Mosquito Bay. 

Please Note: Kayak tours have weight limits.  

Need To know Facts

Mosquito Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Pros of Visiting Vieques Bioluminescent Bay

  • Everything… the entire experience is wonderful… if you have the time to spend a night in Vieques.  Being in Vieques… exploring the undeveloped coastline, having dinner in Esperanza to the glow of the sunset, and ending the day at the bioluminescent day is such a special experience.
  • Another benefit is that there are no crowds on tour.  If you can’t stay the night in Vieques, we highly recommend you go to the Lajas Bioluminescent Bay, fewer crowds, you are allowed to swim, great sunsets, great food and you can return to your hotel that night.

    Cons of  Visiting Vieques Bioluminescent Bay

    • You’ll have to stay overnight in Vieques, but we don’t see that as a negative if you have the time and budget.  We recommend you stay one or two nights, explore the beaches, and experience the magic of Mosquito Bay.  You’ll fall in love with Vieques, we certainly do every time we go.  See top-rated tours below.

    Tours to Mosquito Bay (Local)

    Vieques, Puerto Rico

    Boat Tours – Mosquito Bay – Vieques

    Kayaking Tours – Mosquito Bay – Vieques

    Best Hotels / Small Inns to Stay Near Mosquito Bay

    Vieques, Puerto Rico

    The following are top-rated hotels and small inns within walking distance of Esperanza, the point of departure for tours in Vieques.

    Getting to Mosquito Bay

    Vieques, Puerto Rico

    From Esperanza, Vieques

    Your adventure begins in Esperanza, located on the south side of Vieques, where most tours depart from.  If you’re staying one night, Esperanza is a good place to stay, there are a few small inns and restaurants.

    Best Ways of Getting to Vieques

    • By air – You may fly from San Juan Airport, Isla Grande, or Ceiba Airport.
    • By ferry – You may get to Vieques by taking the ferry in Ceiba – You may drive there or take a taxi or private transfer (see transfers below).
    + See private transfers from San Juan to Ceiba Ferry & Airport

    From San Juan

    + See private transfers from San Juan to Ceiba Ferry & Airport

    From Fajardo

    From Rio Grande

    Map - Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay

    Vieques, Puerto Rico

    Itinerary Suggestions

    Top Things to Do in Vieques

    Vieques, one of the islands of Puerto Rico, fondly known as Isla Nena by Puerto Ricans, has a tumultuous history.   For six decades, two-thirds of the island of Vieques was under the control of the United States Navy and used for bombing practices.  In May of 2003, the Navy ceased the use of the island; although much damage was done to the land and water, ironically, it kept the island undeveloped.

    Beaches – If you’re a beach lover, prepare for an unforgettable adventure.  Renting a jeep and beach hopping all day in Vieques is one of the most pleasurable and fun experiences in the Caribbean.  Each beach is different than the next; the waters are clear since no rivers are flowing into the waters.  If you only have one or two nights in Vieques, we recommend you go to the beaches on the south side inside the nature reserve, start at Playa Caracas, and go to the end, to Playa La Plata.  On the way, stop by Pata Prieta, a small beach cove with good snorkeling.  Stop to take a peak at Playa Escondida, perhaps the tiniest beach cove in the Caribbean.  You may want to spend the most time swimming and snorkeling in La Chiva.

    Go snorkeling in Vieques – Bring your own snorkel gear.  The snorkeling is good in Vieques, not as good as Culebra, but very fun to do since no tours or boats are needed to access the best snorkeling spots.  La Chiva, Punta Arenas, Pata Prieta, the piers at Esperanza and Mosquito Pier are also popular spots.

    Watch the Sunset – Head to Esperanza to have dinner to the glow of the sunset. 

    Mosquito Bay in the Media

    One of the Most Romantic Places on Earth by Travel & Leisure - by Travel & Leisure

    “Illuminated Vieques A guided tour on a motorboat isn’t the way most romantic evenings begin, but once you slip your body into Mosquito Bay, a bioluminescent lagoon off the island of Vieques, you’ll have forgotten the exhaust fumes. Millions of “stars” (actually, they’re microscopic organisms in the water) light up with a stunning blue-white glow, and scatter with every splash you make. Spielberg couldn’t ask for better special effects.”

    Go With the Glow!! Is it Magic? by National Geographic (new window)

    No, it’s not magic. With each paddle stroke, the girls stir up millions of tiny dinoflagellates (dy-no-FLAH-juh-luhts). When stirred at night, these plantlike life-forms glow beautifully. Each gallon of Mosquito Bay water holds some 750,000 dinoflagellates. Their combined light creates spectacular evening shows.

    On the island of Vieques off the coast of Puerto Rico, Mosquito Bay’s dinoflagellates give off their bioluminescent (by-oh-loo-mih-NESS-ent) light from dusk until dawn. “In other parts of the world, bioluminescence is seasonal,” explains Sharon Grasso, a tour guide on Vieques. “But here, the water glows brightly year-round.”

    Each night Grasso shows off the natural beauty of the bay. Passengers stare in awe as the tour boat leaves a glittering trail. They dip their hands in the water, leaving greenish-blue trails of their own.

    Mosquito Bay’s displays are threatened, however. Bright artificial light from nearby developments can outshine the natural glow. Pollution, destruction of mangrove trees, dredging, land development, and overuse of the bay’s water can kill the fragile dinoflagellates. “We can’t let the lights go out,” says Grasso. “The magic of Mosquito Bay should live on forever.”

    Living Light

    August 4, 2008 / Guinness Book of World Records 2008

    “The Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay on the Island of Vieques, Puerto Rico is the most bioluminescent in the World.  It contains up to 160,000 microscopic dinoflagelates per liter of water.

    When agitated, these microscopic organisms (Pyrodinium bahamense or swirling fire) reacts emitting a blue-green light for about a decimal of a second. There are other bioluminescent bays around the island, but the Mosquito Bio Bay is the one that shines with the most intensity, its shallow and small entrance from the sea impedes the waves from washing away the dinoflagellates; and the mangrove trees, with their decomposition process, provides abundant food for the micro-organisms.”

    Other Tours to Vieques You May Like

    Puerto Rico Bioluminescent Bays ⎮ Mosquito Bay, Vieques