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The Magic of Puerto Mosquito

A local encounter I’ll never forget.

Marissa Del Prado

Puerto Rico

There is a place in this world where one can experience true, undeniable magic. That place is Mosquito Bay. Located on the island of Vieques, just off of the eastern coast of the main island in Puerto Rico, Mosquito Bay is host to up to 160,000 dinoflagellates per liter of water. Dinoflagellates are plankton-like organisms that can omit an intense, piercing blue light when disturbed. This reaction is called bioluminescence. The abundance of mangrove trees that border this magnificent bay create the perfect environment to foster these organisms. Being the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, Puerto Mosquito is the premiere location to experience this intriguing phenomena.

There are a myriad of tour groups that lead excursions to the bay. One of my favorites is the eco-friendly tour offered by Island Adventures. They give a variety of information on conservation efforts and really exemplify the importance of maintaining this fragile and wondrous environment. Mosquito bay is one of the few unique places on earth where everything is a perfect balance. From the gnarled roots of the mangrove trees, to the ideal climate, all aspects of the environment work together in harmony to create a beauty that is almost too awesome to behold.

In my experience, it appeared as if hundreds of playful faeries danced around my every move as I swirled my hands in the enchanted waters. Swimming isn’t allowed anymore due to the fragile nature of the ecosystem, but the guide on my tour filled some large buckets with the water for people to interact with. Splashing your feet in the water was also allowed. Before my trip to Puerto Rico, I had no idea that this magic actually existed in the world. There is a science behind the bioluminescence, but to be privileged to witness it in person is truly a spiritual event. The experience is made even more unique as it can’t be easily captured in a photo. I will never forget my time in Mosquito Bay.

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