How to get to Puerto Rico?s Glorious Glowing Waters
Vieques is one of the smaller Islands off the eastern-coast of Puerto Rico. Aside from amazing beaches, and wild horses, Vieques also holds the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world! Deep within Mosquito Bay are billions of micro organisms that shine a bright blue light when agitated. The experience is absolutely incredible. Here?s everything you need to know for the perfect trip to the magical bay.
Getting to Vieques
Although only a few miles off the mainland, Vieques is still a bit complicated to visit. Most people will be departing from San Juan, so there?s a few travel options to keep in mind. You can buy an airline ticket and fly there directly from the airport, or the more take the more economic ferry departing from Ceiba. There?s also a smaller airport at Ceiba but it usually sells out fast. As a seasoned budget traveler, I?ll share my adventure of going by ferry.
Preparing for Vieques
So close yet so far away. It?s best to prepare everything before going to Vieques for a smooth journey. We rented a car in San Juan and drove to the Ceiba ferry Terminal which was about an hour and a half. Depending on when your Ferry leaves, give some extra time to account for traffic and parking. We left on an afternoon ferry and cut if very close to our tour time and nearly missed it! I recommend getting to Vieques as early as you can. Here?s the schedule from Ceiba.
Of course if your?e going to see the bioluminescent bay plan to stay over night. We stayed at the Tropical Guest House which was only a 15 minute walk from the ferry terminal. Maria & Joe were super nice and the Hotel was very affordable. Esperanza is another good location to stay since it?s close to the bio bay and has a lot of bars and restaurants.
Reserving Ferry Tickets to Vieques
Getting on the ferry was one of my primary concerns after hearing so many horror stories about it. In reality, these worries were a bit exaggerated. You can buy tickets for $2 each way at the terminal booth or reserve them online for a bit extra. Since residents take priority boarding and there can be long lines, I recommend reserving tickets online at porferry. You?ll save yourself some hassle and guarantee a spot on the ship.
Booking the Biobay Tour
We booked our Tour with Abe?s Snorkeling & Bio Bay Tours and had an amazing time. Christie was a great tour guide and we learned so much! If the thought of kayaking into a pitch black bay at night freaks you out, don?t worry. The glow of the Dino-flagellates will melt your fears. Just be sure to bring cash since they don?t accept credit cards and the ATMs in the area actually ran out of money for us! We called them and reserved our spots on the tour just a few hours before, but we recommend getting them at least a few days in advance.
Ceiba Ferry Terminal
As I mentioned above, be sure to arrive at least half an hour before your departure time in case there are any delays, traffic or long lines. If you brought a car there is parking available down the road from the terminal. It?s $7 per 24 hour period so you are allowed to leave your car overnight (you can also pay with credit card). Bring snacks with you since the main food options at the terminal are vending machine chips (which I liked anyway). It could of been the time of year or just luck but the entire boarding process went perfectly. The ferries departed exactly on time and was not overcrowded. The boat ride was only 30 mins and pretty smooth.
Veiques Mosquito Bay
After checking into our hotel, we called a taxi to take us to the tour meeting point at Duffy?s Esperanza. There aren?t any Ubers, but there is a taxi service on the island you can call at any time (787?741?8294). They may not take credit card, so have some cash or the Venmo app ready to use. We got a few instructions by the tour guide and a van took us to our destination.
The name may be misleading, since there wasn?t actually any mosquitoes during our trip! They actually recommend not putting on any deet infused bug spray since it is harmful to the micro organism?s environment. We left everything in the van as we headed to our kayak.
Kayaking through the glowing waters of Mosquito Bay is one of the greatest experiences of my life. Each Paddle stroke gave off a radiant blue shine. Even running your hands through the water made azure sparks fly everywhere. I remember how much of a crazy dream it felt like. A beautiful starry sky above, and a bright lights below. You could sometimes catch a glimpse of small fish zooming by like shooting stars. We learned all the science and history about the bay as we circled throughout it. There was even a section where flying fish jumped around emanating a blue glow as they bounced off the water. We were only on the water for about 2 hours, but I felt as if I could of spent days entranced by its beauty. Unfortunately, cameras will fail to capture any of the bioluminescence so The vibrant flashes will have to just stay within your memories!
Kayaking in Vieques? bioluminescent bay is an experience of a life time. Out of the 5 biobays in the world, Puerto Rico contains 3 of them with Mosquito Bay being the brightest. It may be a few extra steps to get to, but the trip was well worth it. Arriving in an off season like November may have helped for a less crowded experience. Regardless of when you visit, with the right preparation your trip will work out fine. It?s a magical experience that you?ll remember for the rest of your life. If you?re interested in the other amazing things Puerto Rico has to offer, check out this guide. Thanks for reading and as always, keep leveling up!
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