10 Bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent Beaches

Excelencias from the Caribbean & the Americas - - Sumario -

The ex­pe­ri­ence is al­ways amaz­ing, although the “mir­a­cle” only oc­curs at night. It makes no dif­fer­ence if you de­cide to swim in the kind wa­ters of the Caribbean and the Amer­i­cas, and then en­vi­sion your­self in the self­same Milky Way, sur­rounded by col­or­ful and sparkling stars. If you choose to ob­serve at a dis­tance the lu­mi­nes­cent show caused by liv­ing or­gan­isms as a re­sult of a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion, whether for de­fend­ing them­selves or just to boast­ing their ir­re­sistible charm to hunt. Wit­ness­ing such an im­pres­sive phe­nom­ena named sea bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent may be the main in­cen­tive for your next quest in ten dif­fer­ent places of the re­gion, which will cer­tainly cap­ti­vate you.

1-LA­GUNA GRANDE, FA­JARDO, PUERTO RICO

The abun­dance of micro­organ­isms such as di­noflag­el­late causes La­guna Grande, in Fa­jardo, to light up dark­ness. How­ever, this place, along with La Par­guera, in La­jas, and Bahia Mos­quito, in Vieques, amaze you and not only at sun­set, but at any time of the day. Its beauty is unique by both its count­less white, black, red, and but­ton man­groves, which have in­ter­twined them­selves to cre­at­ing a tun­nel where you can en­joy the Yel­low-crowned Night-heron, white heron, gar­zons, lit­tle green heron, pel­i­cans, and fid­dler crab…while ob­serv­ing in the dis­tance El Yunque and Las Cabezas de San Juan light­house, the sec­ond old­est in Puerto Rico, built in 1880.

2-PUNTA COCOS, HOLBOX IS­LAND, QUIN­TANA ROO, MEX­ICO

Washed by the wa­ters of the Caribbean Sea, in Holbox, an is­land with pris­tine beaches close to the town of Chiquila —150 km away of the Can­cun In­ter­na­tional Air­port; its peo­ple live off tourism and lob­ster’s fish­ery— you can find Punta Cocos, which amazes with the splen­did night show of lights in the sea thank to the bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent plank­ton. Punta Cocos is within a walk­ing dis­tance, or you can get there on bi­cy­cle. This trip al­ways pays off not only be­cause of the tur­tle nests and starfishes, but also the prac­tice of wa­ter sports. Holbox, wildlife re­serve and pro­tected area of the flora and fauna Yum Balam, in­vites you to swim near a whale shark.

3-LA­GUNA ENCANTADA, ISLAS DEL ROSARIO, COLOM­BIA

In this spot in the Caribbean Sea, the Co­rales del Rosario y de San Bernardo Na­tional Park —near Carta­ge­nas de In­dias— was cre­ated few years ago. This is the most im­por­tant body of coral reefs in Colom­bia. The Rosario Is­lands are ideal for scuba div­ing for the va­ri­ety of shape, col­ors, and species present in its wa­ter: cal­care­ous al­gae, sponge, ghost feather dusters, anemone, soft coral…but on top of that, there is La­guna Encantada, fa­mous for pre­sent­ing an im­pos­ing “fire­works” show, any move­ment un­der the sea “trig­gers” the bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent phy­to­plank­ton and depths gleam.

7-XPICOB BEACH, CAMPECHE, MEX­ICO

Ideal for eco­tourism and ru­ral tourism lovers. Xpicob Beach is lo­cated at La Ense­nada, 15 min­utes away from the south­ern city of Campeche, World Her­itage Site since 1999. On one hand, this is a mag­i­cal place at nights. Fishes leave be­hind a cu­ri­ous trace shin­ning with flu­o­res­cent plank­ton. On the other hand, there is a tur­tle hatch­ery where 27 en­dan­gered species are pro­tected and pro­vide new ex­pe­ri­ences to en­joy to the full the boat ride, re­cre­ational fish­ing, div­ing, bird­watch­ing of species such as the mag­nif­i­cent frigate­bird, or dis­cov­er­ing the se­crets of craft­works with seashells and conch shells.

5-LA­GUNA LU­MI­NOUS, FAL­MOUTH, JA­MAICA

Mon­tego Bay, Ne­gril, and Grand Pal­la­dium are paths that will lead you to La­guna Lu­mi­nosa, one of the most fa­mous nat­u­ral won­ders in Ja­maica, a coun­try that in­vites you to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence of find­ing out the leg­end of the White Witch of Rose Hall or climb­ing over the ter­races of the wa­ter­falls on Dunn River. None­the­less, sail­ing in a glass bot­tom boat to near the city of Fal­mouth is what will take your breath away as you may swim with in­of­fen­sive phy­to­plank­ton in very daz­zling wa­ters. An op­por­tu­nity you will only find in few places around the world.

6-PUNTARENAS, COSTA RICA

As it hap­pens with light­ing bugs, in the wa­ters of Puntarenas, near the Ni­coya Gulf, it seems that jew­els are hid­den as the very lit­tle or­gan­isms liv­ing there turn their chem­i­cal en­ergy into light. Tak­ing a pic­ture with your cell­phone of such dreamed mo­ment is quite com­pli­cated and few have had that priv­i­lege. But you may trea­sure amaz­ing mem­o­ries if you take profit of your chances with the prox­im­ity of the area in the Costa Ri­can Pa­cific with the San Lu­cas Is­land (also known as Hom­bres So­los Is­land), Je­susita Is­land, with the Guayabo Wildlife Re­serve, Negri­tos Is­land, and Ce­dros, sites you will cer­tainly love.

4-BAHIA MOS­QUITO, VIEQUES IS­LAND, PUERTO RICO

There are three bays in Vieques —Mos­quito, Tapon, and Puerto Ferro—, but one of them is the best ex­am­ple of bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent per­fec­tion. Bahia Mos­quito holds the Guin­ness World Record as the bright­est of the world. The di­noflag­el­late specie re­spon­si­ble of such won­der in Nena Is­land, as the Puerto Ri­can poet named it, is the Py­ro­dinium ba­hamense. Once shel­ter for pi­rates, it touches the At­lantic and the Caribbean in the for­mer U.S. mil­i­tary base where beauty and history fuse. The is­land is 33 km long and 7,2 km wide, and im­presses with its Punta Mu­las light­house, its Conde de Mi­ra­sol fortress, and the Luis Munoz Rivera square with a bust of Si­mon Bo­li­var.

8- MANIALTEPE­C, OAX­ACA, MÉX­ICO

Cuando se pinta de un color azul in­tenso parece un es­pec­táculo sur­re­al­ista el que ocurre cuando cae la noche en este sitio situ­ado a 15 min de Puerto Escondido, rumbo a Pinotepa Na­cional, en el Es­tado de Oax­aca. Se dice que es sub­lime la sen­sación que se vive si eliges nadar mien­tras cae la llu­via, mo­mento en el que este fenó­meno se hace más pal­pa­ble tam­bién en tu cuerpo que de pronto comienza a bril­lar. Rodeada de manglar, du­rante el día esta masa de agua con­sti­tuye un ex­ce­lente ob­ser­va­to­rio de aves mi­gra­to­rias, pero además de una ex­tensa var­iedad de es­pecies como garzas, igua­nas, ibis, patos y loros. Esta la­guna cuenta con pe­queñas áreas de playa donde se puede pescar la mo­jarra, el robalo o el bagre.

9- TOR­REY PINES BEACH, SAN DIEGO, ES­TA­DOS UNIDOS

Tor­rey Pines Beach, San Diego, bien que hu­biera po­dido ser el es­ce­nario donde James Cameron ro­dara su película Avatar, poblada de es­ce­nar­ios flu­o­res­centes de en­soñación, porque allí tam­bién, en cier­tos mo­men­tos del año, la playa se pinta de azul eléc­trico. Con unas pues­tas de sol in­creíbles, es mag­ní­fica para la prác­tica de surf o kitesurf. Su lo­cal­ización bajo los im­po­nentes acan­ti­la­dos desde donde se pueden avis­tar bal­lenas que suben la costa al norte en febrero o la ba­jan al sur en otoño, per­mite re­alizar ac­tivi­dades de senderis­mos y es­cal­ada. No muy lejos está el Tor­rey Pines Golf Course, sede de campe­onatos in­ter­na­cionales, con sus 36 hoyos y sus es­pec­tac­u­lares vis­tas al mar.

10-NAVARRE BEACH, FLORIDA, ES­TA­DOS UNIDOS

Además de al­ber­gar in­qui­etos di­noflage­la­dos que salpi­can de chis­pas y luces verdeazule­s las aguas, como si fuera un cielo marino, con lo cual ofrece la posi­bil­i­dad de avis­tar un capri­cho de la nat­u­raleza difí­cil de con­tem­plar, Navarre Beach, ale­jada de las playas sureñas col­madas de tur­is­tas y par­ques temáti­cos, ase­gura tran­quil­i­dad y mil­las de arena fina. Ubi­cada al noroeste del Es­tado, a es­casa dis­tan­cia de Pen­sacola Beach, para mu­chos re­sulta el se­creto mejor guardado de la Florida.

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