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Bioluminescence in Cancun: The amazing lights of nature

By Tribune Travel

June 21, 2023

On your next visit to Cancun or the Mexican Caribbean, make a plan to live a different kind of experience that is different from what you might anticipate in this region, bioluminescence might be of interest to you.

Occasionally, it may seem a  coincidence to observe bioluminescence. Imagine yourself relaxing at the beach, strolling along the sand, when all of a sudden you come across this extraordinary, ethereal sight of glowing blue water.

You will see living creatures from the ocean producing and emitting light in the pitch-black of night right in front of your very eyes. It is an incredibly mesmerizing phenomenon to witness.


When to see bioluminiscence in Cancun

The best part is, you can arrange to see this breathtaking sight a few days in advance.

To increase your chances of seeing the bioluminescence, make sure to schedule your trip for the new moon phase, which is the opposite of the full moon.

When there is a full moon, tours are typically canceled, and they won’t go to the bioluminescence. This is mostly because the sky will be too bright because of the moon’s excessive light emission, which decreases your chances of seeing the glowing marine life.

There is a chance that you won’t get to see them, but the guides typically have a thorough understanding of the region and the moon cycle, so they can ensure that you have the best chance to see them.

To prevent any harm to the ecosystem, keep in mind to respect the environment and adhere to your tour operator’s instructions.


Blue bioluminiscence on the beach



Where to see bioluminiscence

Here are some potential locations to look for it if you soon plan to travel to the Yucatán Peninsula:


Even though Cancun isn’t known for its bioluminescence, those who enjoy snorkeling and diving can still see the phenomenon there if they don’t have time to travel to Sian Ka’an or Holbox. Simply sign up for a moonlight bioluminescence snorkeling tour.

The trip lasts about 90 minutes and stops at 3 reefs and a location where you can see aquatic animals come to life in the moonlight.

Holbox Island

First and foremost, it should go without saying that this region is well known for having some of the best bioluminescence viewing spots in the Mexican Caribbean.

A tiny island named Holbox (Isla Holbox) is located at the northernmost point of the Yucatán peninsula. There are only sand paths with golf carts; there are no roads.

There are designated areas where thousands of visitors each year can see this phenomenon. One of the best places to see it is in Holbox, where it is truly a spectacle.

You can go on a tour or experience it by kayak. If you were unable to make a reservation online, you can check to see if tours are scheduled to depart when you get there.

There are numerous tour booths scattered throughout the main town where you can get more details, compare costs, and then decide.

The Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve

On the southernmost point of the Riviera Maya, south of Tulum, is the Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve, which is home to some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. There are beaches, dunes, cenotes, coral reefs, and tropical rainforests there as well as over 100 different animal and marine species that call these places home.

Despite the lack of information or tours offered online, there will be a chance to see the bioluminescence at this location because of its prime location in the middle of tranquility and because it is a host to so many different species of sea life.

Even though it’s not a guarantee, this is the kind of place where nature prefers to be left alone to pursue its own interests.

Be aware that bioluminescence can take on a variety of shapes and colors, and that it is never guaranteed. Approach the situation with an open mind, but above all, take in this amazing gift from nature.





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