We start at twilight, piling in the van for the bumpy ride to Mosquito Bay. We park in a sandy lot, and our guides ease the kayaks into the dark waters. “Don’t jump in,” Enrique instructs. While this bioluminescent bay has had thousands of visitors who have enjoyed a dip in the spectacular lagoon, the government is attempting to protect the delicate, microscopic organisms that glow when disturbed, so it doesn’t want people spoiling the water with chemicals and other toxins.
Although my partner was born and raised in Puerto Rico, he’d never visited Vieques (a former U.S. military zone), and no trip to the tiny, 21-mile-long island off the coast of Puerto Rico is complete without a trip to Bio Bay, as it’s known. As we paddle out to the center of the lagoon, we see the green glow. “Like Avatar!” one of the other guys in the group says. Since the moon is full and the sky is clear, we huddle under a parachute to block the light, and we begin to drag our fingers through the warm water and see the glow that does look like a movie’s special effect. It’s a night we’ll never forget.
Without much to do beyond the miles of gorgeous, pristine white-sand beaches, the entertainment takes place at the W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island. Its restaurant, Sorce, is the best place to eat on the island, so no need to feel an urge to go prowling for seafood anywhere else.
Image via W Retreat and Spa