The Bio Bay in Grand Cayman is a captivating natural phenomenon. In the evening, bioluminescent microorganisms create a gentle, blue-green illumination in the water, making a kayak or boat tour an enchanting experience. While the sight is undoubtedly magical, managing expectations is important as the brightness can vary depending on the moon’s brightness.
I hired a private boat from Captain Marvin Watersports with my friends to Stingray City, Rum Point, for supper and sundown drinks, then to Bioluminescent Bay. The guides on our tour were fantastic, giving us time to swim and experience the Bio Bay like superheroes! Seeing the blue-green shoot from your hands under the water is incredible. But there are inevitable curveballs I wish I had known about before attempting this trip.
Upon my visit with the crew to Cayman, we decided to visit Sand Point Road, where Bio Bay is located. In the rest of this article, I will walk you through my experience there and what you should look out for as you plan your trip to this exciting destination on the Caribbean island.
What You Should Know Before Going
Table of Contents
I discovered that Bioluminescent Bay in Cayman is only accessible by boat tour. Many boat charter options can include a trip to Bio Bay at the end of the day’s charter. Alternatively, you can book a direct 2-hour private charter trip to the place.
- My other friends and I stayed at Seven Mile Beach but planned to go on a bioluminescent bay tour using Captain Marvin Watersports. We had a supermoon during that period. This is always good for bioluminescence since the tides impact the amount of luminescence you see.
- I don’t recommend you go when the moon is bright because it decreases the impact of the lights in the water, so you won’t get those Instagram-worthy pictures to capture the moment.
- I also recommend you go on weekends, particularly on Sunday, which we did, because there was less traffic. Meanwhile, I first went to the East End, ate at Tukka East, and watched the sunset before heading to the departure location for the 9:30 pm tour.
- Depending on your bioluminescence tour, the typical boat charter service will depart for the bioluminescence tour 15 minutes after sunset. The idea is to ensure it is completely dark when arriving at Bio Bay.
- Before leaving, take a set of fresh clothes or a towel because you can get wet.
- If possible, don’t bring valuables along. There won’t be a safe place to store them in the kayak. Also, you may flip over.
When is Bioluminescent Bay open?
Since the bay functions at its best when it’s dark, you tend to see people visiting the Bioluminescent Bay in Cayman, mostly at night. List most other water activities and destinations on the island; there are no straight-jacket opening and closing times. The time frame for your visit depends on the specifications of your tour package.
Do you need to book in advance to visit Bioluminescent Bay?
Yes, Bioluminescent Bay in Cayman is accessible by water, and you need to book a boat charter (private or otherwise) that can take you there. The Bioluminescent Bay is located on the north side of Grand Cayman.
It is a 10-15 minute kayak ride from Rum Point, Starfish Point, and Kaibo and approximately a 45-minute ride by boat from Seven Mile Beach.
My Experience at the Bio Bay
There are two main ways to enjoy a tour of this bay. You can experience the Bioluminescence Glass Bottom Kayak Tour or the boat option.
Before we went on the kayaks, we got a brief tutorial on the starfish and how their population has been wiped out because people lifted them out of the water. I learned that the starfish can flip around if you turn them upside down, but they eat the little starfish. So they advise us not to place smaller ones near the big ones.
The kayak tour was a 30-minute paddle against the current to the bay. The paddling wasn’t strenuous, but it required effort and attention. But we enjoyed the generated lights as we agitated the microscopic creatures in the water.
The bay is a residential area, so getting accommodation after the tour was not challenging.
After getting on the sandy embankment, our guide gave us a quick astrology lesson where we learned about the two different types of jellyfish.
The highlight of the tour was the bioluminescence. It was a sight to behold.
The colorful lights around our paddles and the flashing lights became something out of Star Wars.
The glass-bottom kayaks were neat, and paddling back from the bay was easy. The overall tour to Bio Bay took 2 hours, and beyond the display, you will learn a lot about starfish, kayaking, and the wonder of bioluminescence.
My regret was not going in a swimsuit because we got soaked. After research, I discovered that some boat charters offer free swimsuits and gloves when you come on board—for example, George Watersports.
What Makes the Bio Bay in Cayman Special?
The spectacular sight at the bay is the climax of your tour. When the water’s movement disturbs the microscopic organisms, they emit a bright blue light. So as you paddle the kayak or swim in the water, you agitate the organisms to emit a glow in the dark.
The experience is indeed unreal and unforgettable.
If you book a tour with the right company, all the necessary equipment, such as snorkel masks, will be given to you. But you still need to bring some reef-safe sunscreen and a towel. T
Is it safe to swim in a Bioluminescent bay?
Swimming in a bioluminescent bay is generally safe, and safety protocols are in place whenever you book a tour of Bio Bay on Cayman.
However, according to a study by WebMD, an online publisher of news and information about human health and well-being, some bioluminescent algae produce toxins that are harmful to marine wildlife, humans, and anything that comes into contact with them.
So this is not an everyday activity. But visiting once in a while isn’t harmful.