About a month ago I went across the island to Fajardo and did the well renowned Bioluminescent Bay tour. For those who don’t know, Fajardo is completely on the East side of the island, about 3.5 hours from Rincon. The BioBay tour in Fajardo, which takes place in Laguna Grande, is supposedly the 2nd best place in Puerto Rico to do the tour after Mosquito Bay in Vieques. We booked our tour through Eco Tours Puerto Rico. I highly recommend using them, they were extremely knowledgeable about the science behind the lighting of the bay and the guides understand the area very well.
Let me clarify immediately that the images you see online are photoshopped for the most part. This is because in order to capture the luminescence in the lagoon at night you need a camera with an extremely high aperture. Needless to say, I didn’t bring the GoPro for this adventure. The guides make this very clear right away before the tour starts in order to keep everyones expectations in check. However, this should definitely not deter anyone from doing the tour as the tour is quite the experience.
To start, its a tandem kayak and essentially you are kayaking in pitch black darkness. You have to pass through very narrow waterways and therefore you kayak single file. In order to maintain where one is going, each kayak and life jacket contains a light. Therefore you follow the light in order to understand which direction to go. In addition, understanding how to kayak, specifically how to turn a tandem kayak (reverse sweeping) and moving the kayak laterally (draw) is key. I found the most difficult part of the 2 mile tour into the lagoon, the pitch black darkness making it difficult to see. The narrow waterway wasn’t an issue unless we bumped into some tree branches. There are multiple guides kayaking along side everyone to ensure everyone is in line and safely making it into the lagoon. Once we reached the lagoon, the kayaks are put into formation laterally and you hold the paddle of the kayak next to you to stay in formation. The guides then went over a ton of science and information about BioBays in general and the uniqueness behind Laguna Grande. In order to see the luminescence, the plankton that light up must be disturbed. Running your paddle or hand through the water allows one to see the luminescence momentarily. In order to get the best of it, refrain from doing the tour when the moon is out. When we had to exit the lagoon we had to kayak against the current which was difficult. Almost everyone had to be towed back to shore.
All in all, I would say the best part of the entire tour was the actual kayaking in pitch black. The tour runs for about 4 miles all together, therefore its a good workout. I wasn’t entirely impressed with the luminescence as I had came in with the expectation of what you see online. However, I would do the tour again except I would most likely try it again in Mosquito Bay.
Right next to Fajardo is the municipality of Ceiba. Within Ceiba is a military base and after getting past it offers beaches that a ton of families visit during the weekend. One of the hotspot activities lately has been swinging on “El Columpio de Ceiba” which is basically a swing set over the water with a Puerto Rico flag hanging above that someone set up. It’s a great photo opportunity. In addition, there is a pier that a locals jump off from. Interestingly the beach is next to what appeared to be an oil rig with a ton of cranes. Overall, a great spot that is longer a secret and I suggest visiting if you are on the East side of the island.