Originally, the main purpose of me going to Puerto Rico was to go to Vieques and see the biggest and brightest bioluminescent bay in the world that’s located there. I didn’t do much research on anything else that’s in Vieques besides what you see in the water at night, so you can imagine my surprise when I got to the gorgeous tropical island during the day time! Hellooo paradise.
Vieques is an island just a short distance off of the main island in Puerto Rico. You can easily get to it by ferry for super cheap, or you can add to the adventure by taking a small plane! Since the island is only 4 miles wide, it’s also easy to get from the ports you arrive at to the area where the bio bay and beautiful beaches are, called Esperanza.
There’s a ton of things to do on the island, but here are my 5 favorite reasons to make the trip over to Vieques while you’re visiting Puerto Rico!
This is still photo shopped but close to what it looks like when you touch the water at night in the bio bay
1. The Biggest and Brightest Bioluminescent Bay
All those pictures that you see of the night time shoreline that seems to be glowing or sparkling might be correlated to the bio bay in the Maldives. BUT! The world record holder for the biggest and brightest bioluminescent bay is actually right there in Vieques! It’s called Mosquito Bay, but don’t worry the mosquitos weren’t too bad at night.
Since the bio bay was the main purpose of my trip to Puerto Rico, I arranged to go see it with the “best bio bay tour there is”, Abe’s Snorkeling and Bio Bay Tour. Abe himself even took me on the tour, and made for half of the adventure just hanging out with him!
Essentially, what the goal was, was to see the glowing phenomenon that happens at night on the bay when you paddle (or swim, which you’re not allowed to do…but I did anyway) and disrupt the little dinoflagellates (microorganisms in the water) who react by sparking their butts with a natural neon light.
Since they spark their butts so fast (one-tenth of a second), it tends to create the “glowing” light that looks so freaking cool in all of the pictures. Well, if you can get a picture. Since the light sparks are so fast, it makes it almost impossible to even capture any of the light.
2. “Blue Flag” Beaches
Doesn’t get more tropical paradisey than that!
Don’t worry, I had no idea what in the heck a “Blue Flag” beach was either before the manager of my beach-front inn, the Malecon House, explained it to me. The term refers to the highest ranking standards you can get as a beach, and judged based on environmental and quality aspects. AKA if life really is a “beach”, you want it to be a Blue Flag one.
So anyway, the manager of Malecon House was nice enough to direct me to a “Blue Flag” beach right near the inn! It’s called Green Beach…not to be confused with Blue Beach, since there’s a lot of colors in everything I just wrote.
All of the beaches in Vieques are beautiful anyway because you have the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean, that are always accompanied by white sandy beaches and bending palm trees.
3. Kayaking Through Mangroves
Part of Abe’s Bio Bay tour is kayaking through mangrove forests, and if you’re lucky, Abe will take you to his secret mud hole!
Another tour that Abe’s offers takes you kayaking through a mangrove forest! Abe is pretty much a mangrove expert, and gave me tons and tons of information about them; like how one of their leaves has the same amount of protein as a steak! He also informed me that your stomach would absolutely hate you if you tried to eat one (trust me, I thought about it).
Taking a mud bath while Abe explains why the mud is good for you
The mangrove kayak tour is very relaxing, and if you’re lucky enough to get on a tour with Abe himself, he’ll even lead you through a secret waterway that ends in a small hidden bay where you can cover yourself in mud! Why on Earth would you want to do that? Because the mud in the bay is chock full of vitamins and minerals that are really good for your skin! Plus it’s really fun to sink down in and play with!
4. Island Life Living
If the Malecon House doesn’t scream “Island chic” than I don’t know what does!
Once you’re done doing all of those fun activities, you’ll appreciate being able to wind-down at an island pace. As I mentioned before, the chic beach-front inn I stayed at was called Malecon House, and was literally steps away from the white sand beach, as well as a few cute restaurants and bars. What I liked most about this place was that you really feel like you’re living the island life, because not only did it used to be an island mansion, but you literally step outside of your door and you’re in a tropical paradise.
Jungle island oasis anyone?
They also serve a delicious and fresh breakfast each morning, and offer coolers, ice, chairs, and towels to take down to the beach with you! Right on the other side of the Malecon House’s hidden gem of a pool, is a fun little outdoor restaurant called Belly Buttons, where you can get some awesome sandwiches and drinks, and might even run into Abe!
5. Snorkeling Tours
Image via puertoricoblogger.com (I’d never be able to get this shot)
Speaking of Abe again (once you meet him, you’ll understand why he’s so speakable), his company also offers snorkeling tours in case you want to check out what’s below those crystal clear waters. Of course with my luck, the waters were too choppy (this ALWAYS happens to me when I try to do water sports), but I’d definitely recommend it anyway since the Caribbean has some awesome reefs and tropical fish!
Alyssa is a full time solo adventure traveler who turned her love for traveling and writing into a self-made career as a travel blogger and social media influencer. She's been to 70 countries and 6 continents so far, as well as all 7 New World Wonders, and 7 Wonders of Nature. Alyssa believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, packing light, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!