Have you ever seen the pictures of glowing beaches? Those rare neon blue waves that shatter on the beach at night? It is actually a natural phenomenon that’s mainly caused by phytoplankton, a type of microalgae that floats on the surface of the ocean water. They emit a bright blue light after being agitated by wave movements or nearby swimming fish.
You would be surprised to know that this ‘glow’ happens all the time but it is only visible in low light. If you want to experience this magical phenomenon then we have a few options for you.
Please note that this list is in no particular order. We haven’t rated them. But if you are planning a beach vacation then save this article for later.
1. Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico
Did you know that Mosquito Bay in Puerto Rico is the most popular tourist destination for bioluminescent beaches in the world? Yes, and it is because this beach is everything that you would ever look for!
And no, we aren’t kidding. This beach was recognized as the brightest bioluminescent beach by The Guinness Book of World Records in 2008.
But there are a few rules you will have to follow – no chemical applications, no swimming in the bay, etc. Also, you can’t visit this beach alone. You need to be with a licensed tourist guide to see this beautiful beach.
2. Reethi Beach, Maldives
We want to just let you know that there are many beaches in the Maldives that have bioluminescence. One of the famous places happens to be Reethi Beach.
It is located on a tiny island and you will have to book a stay at the Reethi Beach Resort. But it is also a perfect vacation idea. You can enjoy your excursions and have the perfect escape during day time. And enjoy the breathtaking view of the glowing ocean at night.
3. Mudhdhoo Island, Maldives
If you love beaches then you don’t really need a reason to visit the Maldives. This island nation boasts some amazing beaches in the world. Clear water and pristine beaches everywhere, what’s not to love?!
Mudhdhoo Island is a bit different than the Reethi one. Seed shrimp (found in this part of the island) emit light for a longer period of time than most organisms. And because of a longer glow, you can take your time to enjoy this magical experience.
4. Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Not many people know about this island. It’s popularly known for its sandy coves and coral reefs, like those around Koh Rong Pier. But very few know that this island is surrounded by glowing plankton.
5. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Aaaah, what should we say about this place?! Hạ Long Bay is a popular tourist destination for scuba diving, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, etc. This place has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is as beautiful as it look likes!
But Ha Long Bay is also famous for emerald waters. Looks quite magical, doesn’t it?
6. Manasquan Beach, New Jersey
Not many people know about it but if you stay near New York or NJ then you should definitely visit the Manasquan beach. You can surf and raft too.
7. Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
This one is a fantastic place to see the incredible bioluminescent beaches! Most people opt for night rafting to witness bioluminescence glowing in the sea. And if you get lucky, you might see dolphins too! (Although that happens very rarely)
Golfo Dulce is considered to be one of the best bioluminescent beaches in the world as it is a truly beautiful and breathtaking location. It has been observed that the bioluminescence in this beach is strong because there’s barely any light pollution.
8. Toyama Bay, Japan
This bay is different from the others as the glowing water is actually caused by firefly squid rather than plankton. The squid is usually around 3 inches long, have glowing tentacles that light up the water here. These luminous squids are found in abundance in Toyama Bay in Japan.
9. Ton Sai, Thailand
Ton Sai is a stunning beach near Krabi in Thailand. While many are attracted to this place due to cheap accommodation and fantastic rock climbing but Ton Sai beach comes alive at night too.
People usually prefer to take a refreshing swim at sunset.
10. San Juan Island, Washington
Due to the strong currents in the San Juan Islands, the sea contains a wide range of microorganisms including phytoplankton.
You will find that there are many tours available and if you like a bit of adventure – go kayaking.
11. Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
Waitomo Caves stands apart from others. The glow effect in the Waitomo Caves is produced by thousands of glow worms called Arachnocampa Luminosa — a species found only in New Zealand. And instead of looking down at the waves, you might have to stretch your necks to see this breathtaking view. Isn’t it amazing?!
What are your thoughts on bioluminescent beaches? Let us know in the comment section below!