Take a trip to a corner of the earth where you can dance with the stars. Not the stars up high in the midnight sky, but at the oceans edge, deep in a peaceful forest or in the heart of a cave where every splash and feather light touch renders magnificent illumination by one of our planets most dazzling phenomena- Bioluminescence. Here are 6 places to experience it firsthand.
Puerto Mosquito, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Travel to Mosquito Bay, found on the tiny Caribbean island of Vieques where you can experience the brightest and best-known bioluminescent bay in the world. The water boasts a high concentration of dinoflagellates- 720,000 per gallon of water to be exact. A splash will send these minuscule critters flashing brilliant neon blue that can be seen from miles around. Just be sure to keep these tips in mind to help you prevent theft when you’re there.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect example of exquisite natural beauty. Besides offering travelers 3,000 islands filled with unique wlderness, caves, grottos and lakes to explore, but it also offers a beautiful bay that wills erupt in sparkling colors with one slick dive.
Waitomo, New Zealand
Leave the beach and switch things up with some cave exploration in New Zealand. In Waitomo, a settlement about 2.5 hours from Auckland, you will be treated to a delightfully bright surprise- hundreds of glowworms blanketing cave walls and ceilings like glow in the dark stars in a child’s bedroom.
Springbrook Park, Australia
Still feeling the glowworm vibe? Then head over to Springbrook Park where the neon yellow crawlies illuminate nighttime hikes through the National Park’s forest. For best viewing results take the walk during rainfall and bring an umbrella- the glowworms prefer the moisture and really turn on the lights.
San Juan Island, Washington, U.S.
Launch a kayak at Jackson Beach in Friday Harbor and follow the North Bay shoreline east to find some of the brightest bioluminescence swirling silver and electric blue from the dip of your paddle. The coves here are protected from the wind for better viewing. You can take a guided tour with Discovery Sea Kayaking.
Big South Fork, TN/KY
For one of Mother Nature’s best summertime parties, gather some theft-prevention gear and hit the trail at Big South Fork where the gorges are deep and the trail winds up to two of the largest natural bridges in the east- Twin Arches North and South. Here, on the night of a new moon, the air is ablaze with the twinkling of fireflies- hundreds of them. But the best part- they do not blink randomly! Specific species use unique patterns and sequences to indicate gender, territory and mating.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.