Laguna Grande: Fajardo’s Bio Bay Revisited
Puerto Rico is such a diverse and interesting place. There are areas that are modern concrete jungles, and others that are still in their natural forms. Some of our most unique natural areas are the bioluminescent bays in Fajardo, Vieques and Lajas. These bay areas are home to the special dinoflagellates (Pyrodinium bahamense) that bioluminesce (glow in the dark when disturbed). These are fragile environments that can easily be ruined and lost forever. The biobay in Lajas has had so much boat traffic and pollution over the years and it isn’t healthy now as it once was. It hardly glows anymore.
Reducing Man’s Impact
The last time we were in Laguna Grande in Fajardo was back in 2003. Over the years, the health (brightness) of the biobay was diminishing due to the impact of humans. On any given night there are 150 to 200 people that kayak into the biobay. Swimming was allowed, which introduced all kinds of chemicals (bug spray, perfume, deodorant, hair gel, sunscreen, etc.) into the water. Luckily in the spring of 2007, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources stepped in and banned swimming in Laguna Grande. This simple act reduced the wear and tear on the biobay and allowed nature to begin undoing the damage that humans inflicted on the environment. This past year we had heard the health of the biobay was making a comeback, so we were eager to see that for ourselves.
Bio Bay Is Brighter Than Ever
We recently (July 2008) went out with Kayaking Puerto Rico into Laguna Grande, and I am very happy to report that the biobay there glows healthier than ever! From what I saw, I think that the glow of the biobay in Fajardo is almost as bright as the biobay on Vieques (Mosquito Bay). However, the town of Fajardo is much more built-up than the area surrounding Mosquito Bay. There is more light pollution / ambient light in the sky in Fajardo, so the glowing effect seems less brilliant. Also, since you can’t swim, you have less up-close interaction with the bioluminescence. But the guides try to get you as far away from the lights as possible, to the darkest corners of the lagoon. And you can swirl the water with your hands and paddle and kick it with your feet and legs. The glow and sparkle is a fantastic experience to see.
The trip was really fun. Our guides were very funny, yet educational. They emphasize protecting the environment and even provide eco-friendly bug spray. We had 10 kayaks in our group, and this included 3 guides. This was good since some of the people in our group needed the educational part in Spanish, so one of the guides gave them the Spanish version. This company had lights on both the front and back of our kayaks which was nice because it lit our way in the canal. They turned off the front light when we got to the bay so we could see the glow better. We really enjoyed the experience.
If You Want To Go
There are many operators who will take you into the Fajardo biobay. They all depart from an area called Los Croabas new Seven Seas beach in Fajardo. Please refer to our overview article on Laguna Grande for all the details. You can also do a walking tour at Las Cabezas Nature Reserve, where you will walk to and stand on a board walk above the Laguna Grande BioBay. Or now there is also an electric boat trip into Laguna Grande. our review for more info. There is also the option of visiting Mosquito Bay on Vieques, even if you’re not spending the night on Vieques. Please refer to our review of East Island Excursion’s evening trip to the Vieques biobay for more information. The East Island Excursion trip to Vieques departs from Villa Marina in Fajardo. No matter which bio bay you want to visit, be sure to consult the bio bay viewing calender so you can ensure that the moon will be favorable for viewing the bay on the night you want to go.
Los Croabas boat ramp is located at the end of Road 987 in Fajardo.
Los Croabas is about a 45-minute drive from our vacation rental in Rio Grande.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.