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Current COVID-19 Mandates, with no end date (updated 15 Nov 2021)
😷 Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in public, indoor spaces, and outdoor spaces where there are 50 or more people.
🏨 In order to check-in to any lodging facility (short-term rentals, AirBNB, hotels, resorts, etc), all members of your party are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older. If you are unvaccinated and staying more than a week, you are required to show new negative test results weekly. Effective 16 Aug 2021, per executive order EO-2021-062.
🍔 In order to be admitted to a bunch of different places (restaurants, bars, theaters, tours, excursions, casinos, etc) you are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. Other types of businesses may, at their option, require this documentation to access their facility. This applies to all people 12 (twelve) years old and older. Effective 23 Aug 2021, per executive order EO-2021-063.
✈️ All domestic travelers arriving in Puerto Rico are are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) Vacu-ID issued by the Government of Puerto Rico in the CESCO app on your mobile device, (c) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (d) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older.If you are un-vaccinated and do not have negative results when you arrive to PR, you have 48 hours to produce those results. Otherwise you will be fined $300 per person. See the PR Government Travel Safe site for details, and to submit your contact tracing information

Visit the Bio Bay on Foot at Las Cabezas Nature Reserve

Update 10/2020 las Cabezas is currently closed due to COVID – no tours.

Laguna Grande at Night

The bioluminescent lagoons in Puerto Rico are natural wonders that I think everyone who visits the island should see. There are 3 lagoons that have bioluminescent properties all year ’round – the one in La Parguera in Lajas, Mosquito Bay on Vieques and Laguna Grande in Fajardo. Until recently, the only way to access any of these biobays was either kayak into them or go aboard a boat. But now there is another alternative! The Fideicomiso de Conservación de Puerto Rico (Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico) now offers night-time walking tours of Las Cabezas Nature Reserve and Laguna Grande.

The Tour

This night tour is relatively new and unpublicized. We were surprised to find that we were the only people going on the tour that night, so we had a private tour with our guide Pedro. You ride in a tram car as the guide explains the reserve and it’s ecological importance to Puerto Rico. He also tells you about the night-sounds you are hearing, like the 3 types of coqui frogs they have at the reserve and their different calls.

Our first stop was the beach. Pedro discussed the importance of the area for the endangered sea turtle nesting. He also discussed the light pollution that interferes with the hatchling turtles’ ability to make it from their nests to the open sea – they get confused as to which way it is to the water. Pedro was very knowledgeable about the 4 different turtles that nest in the area and even drew, in the sand, the different patterns that each turtle makes when walking across the sand.

After that, we walked across the road to the Laguna Grande, where he told us about the animals and birds that you will see and hear at night. He said there is this big bat that catches fish in the lagoon. I’m really glad we didn’t see any of those!

After that stop, it was back on the tram for the ride up to the lighthouse. We stopped once along the way to look at the land crabs. They are nocturnal and dig holes in the sand to hide in. Pedro told us about the land crabs and how the return to the sea to lay their eggs. He also told us about how his father used to catch the land crabs with his hands. Maybe he didn’t notice, but they have big pinching claws!

To The Lighthouse

After our short encounter with the land crabs, we headed up to the light house.

Fajardo Lighthouse - Faro de Fajardo

Built by the Spanish in 1880, the lighthouse (El Faro del Fajardo) has been restored to it’s former glory. I have been to this lighthouse during the day, but this was the first time someone actually pointed out the importance of the lighthouses. There are 2 wall-charts on the ground floor of the lighthouse that I found extremely interesting. One shows the location and range of all the lighthouses on Puerto Rico. The other shows the different patterns of light each light house makes. So boaters could tell where they are at night, just by watching the pattern of the light. Really smart!

After talking about lighthouses, you watch a short (maybe 10-minute) Powerpoint presentation about the organisms (Pyrodinium bahamense) that cause the water to glow. They are called dinoflagellates. It was educational and interesting.

The problem of light pollution was brought up again. Not only does it mess up the turtles, it also diminishes our ability to see the glowing of the bioluminescent dinoflagellates in the bay.

Light Pollution in Puerto Rico

After the presentation and discussion, you head up to the top of the lighthouse. Even at night, it is a great view! You can see the lighthouse in all it’s glory! You can also see the other out islands – Lobos, Vieques and Culebra. And when you look south-west toward the land, you can see ALL THE LIGHT. San Juan is just this huge glow to the right. Luquillo is lit up, too! Fajardo has made efforts to reduce the light, with yellow bulbs and they have blocked the light of the light house so it doesn’t hit land. It is amazing to see all this light and see how it ruins some of our enjoyment of nature. If you look up and out to sea, you can see a zillion stars. Pedro pointed out some of the constellations and planets for us. If you look over the land, you can barely see but a few stars. Light pollution is really a bigger problem than I realized.

Laguna Grande – The BioBay

When you are done enjoying the lighthouse, you get back on the tram and go to the bio bay. Here comes the fun part! You walk along a long boardwalk that winds through the mangrove swamp. Along the way, Pedro pointed out some of the mangrove bird sounds and the plants (we tasted the salt the black mangrove excretes from its leaves). Finally, the boardwalk enters Laguna Grande. They have long sticks there that you can use to splash the water. Using the sticks you can smack, stir and generally play around with the water. Pedro showed us how to scare the fish. When they swim away, they leave trails of light behind them. We walked along the boardwalk and tried the water in many different areas since some areas glow more than others, depending on the concentration of the dinoflagellates. We were able to play out there for about 20 minutes or so. It was really neat – like drawing in the water with light.

This is a great way for people who can’t kayak to experience the biobay in Fajardo. And, it also is affordable.

Reservations & Other Details

They run these night tours only Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights. You MUST make reservations for this tour and you need to specify what language you would like it in (English or Spanish).

Admission: Individuals $24.00, students $14.00. You must pay when you make your reservation. They accept Visa, Master Card and American Express. Reservation are needed- use the website to order tickets for the date you want in the language you want.

You can visit their web site for reservations Go to their website www.paranaturaleza.org for more information.

Tours start at 7:00pm and are approximately 2 hours long.

You do want to make sure you do this tour when the moon is not too bright. You can check our biobay/moon calendar to make sure the moon is favorable for viewing on the night you want to go.

This is a moonlit tour. Bring a small flash light if you have one. It isn’t too hard to see where you are going in the dark, since there are so many stars (and light pollution!). The guide has a flash light for the really dark areas. Most of this tour is handicapped accessible. Wear comfortable shoes or sneakers since you will be walking on a boardwalk and a few steps in some moist sand/muddy areas.

Call for more info. (787)- 722-5882

You must get a reservation number in order to ensure that you have a reservation (don’t just leave a phone message and assume you have a reservation – you’ll be sadly mistaken). For the best way- Reserve On-Line at their webpage and print out your confirmation.

Please refer to our article on the daytime tour at Las Cabezas for driving directions.

We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion

There are 25 comments on this article.

Yes, you will note at the top of the article that the Las Cabezas area is closed for renovation. They are not offering tours at this time.

Comment by Gwenn on 27 Dec 2019

Thank you for your informative website. We are visiting in Jan 2020 and would like to do a walking tour. I checked www.paranaturaleza.org and didn't find any information regarding the walking tour. Has it been discontinued? Thanks.

Comment by Kevin on 27 Dec 2019

Sadly, you mentioned the only ways.

Comment by Gwenn on 02 Mar 2019

Hello! We’re coming to PR next week with our three kids. The youngest is 5, so too young for the kayaks. It looks like it will be perfect timing, with a new moon, yet the walking tours are not happening next week. The Biobat boat company recently opened back up, but are already full. Any ideas? My kids really wanted to see the luminescent bay in Fajardo.

Comment by Andrea on 01 Mar 2019

I think the day tour has some of the dinoflagellates in bags (so you will be able to see them glow). That is a nice educational tour of ecosystems around the area. The night tour has some education about the bay and light pollution and then you get to see the bay and make the glow yourself. They are both great tours, but I think making them glow in their natural habitat at night is more the expeirence you are looking for.

Comment by Gwenn on 14 Jun 2017

Trying to decide between the day or night tour at Las Cabezas. The main reason for doing night tour would be to show my kids the bio bay. Is it worth it or should we do the day tour?. We will be there in July on "best" night according to your moon calendar.

Comment by Melissa on 11 Jun 2017

You have to go with a tour.

Comment by Gwenn on 30 Mar 2016

Can you walk the trail on your own, or do you have to go an a tour? They don't have any tours listed for the nights we will be there.

Comment by Mary Franke on 29 Mar 2016

The Reserve and walking tour were very good overall. The biobay, however, was horrible. We didn't see one glimmer of bioluminescence. It wasn't a very good night to go, but we had gone to the biobay on the southwest side 10 days earlier, and it was 100 times better. We would recommend this activity overall, just don't expect to see any bioluminescence!

Comment by Chelsea Young on 18 Mar 2016

If your thing is just to see the biobay, then going in a kayak or boat is a more personal experience- you can touch the water, you are closer to it. If you can't/don't want to kayak, you can do an electric boat. If you aren't into that (or it is cost prohibitive), the walking tour is good. And you learn other stuff too. Some people hate kayaking in the dark (it is not easy as there is a current and lots of other people in a small place).

Comment by Gwenn on 15 Feb 2016

So which one is preferable, if I may say so: kayaking or walking? Which type of tour gives fuller experience?..or one cannot compare them:)).

Comment by Katarina on 13 Feb 2016

Actually, since the bay isn't glowing very well, it is probably a better experience since you will learn all sorts of other things too.

Comment by Gwenn on 18 Dec 2015

Thank you for your amazing and informative website. We are a family of 3 visiting next week and would like to do either the walking tour or BioIsland/Baby bay. BioIsland is all booked! Is the walking tour comparable at all as an overall experience? Thanks!

Comment by Aparna on 09 Dec 2015

Taxi, but it won't be cheap.

Comment by Gwenn on 02 Dec 2015

What is the best way to get here if you don't have a car?

Comment by Trina Serrecchia on 02 Dec 2015

Thank you, Gwenn. I don't know that I'd want to do the drive at night, so we may consider just staying in the area for one night.

Comment by Carol Dion on 05 Jul 2015

There are a few small Inn's (Fajardo Inn, Passionfruit Inn) in Fajardo, and El Conquistador is very close by. But Fajardo is only about 1 hr from San Juan, so the drive isn't too bad. Other towns in between SJ and Fajardo (so the drive is only 30 mins or less) Rio Grande or Luquillo are all options too.

Comment by Gwenn on 05 Jul 2015

This sounds like the perfect way for us to see the bio luminescence. Is there somewhere nearby that you could recommend to stay overnight?

Comment by Carol Dion on 04 Jul 2015

Thanks for the update!

Comment by Gwenn on 14 Jan 2015

Prices have changed. Now $24 regular admission and $14 students

Comment by Mariann on 14 Jan 2015

I made, its a great tour.

Comment by Victor M. Gonzalez on 22 Mar 2014

Since it is not on their schedule, it is either sold out or they are not running it due to the moon being too bright.

Comment by Gwenn on 01 Dec 2013

There are no tours scheduled for December 12th? Or have they all booked up already?

Comment by Kari Nichols on 30 Nov 2013

It is listed on multiple days for Oct as "Bioluminescence and light pollution". https://reservaciones.paralanaturaleza.org/eventDetails.jsf

Comment by Gwenn on 27 Sep 2013

This sounded perfect, however did not see it listed on the Nature Preserve website for Oct. 2013. Sigh.

Comment by LDS on 26 Sep 2013

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