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Bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido

Did you know that bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by living organisms?

The Laguna de Manialtepec, within the area of ​​Puerto Escondido, is where you can see this natural phenomenon.

Bioluminescence occurs in some living organisms, which generally live in water. It is a chemical reaction produced by a conversion of energy that results in these organisms emitting their own light.

These organisms are commonly known as “luminous plankton”.

It is a quite particular phenomenon and to be able to observe it, certain conditions must be assured. It needs to be at night, preferably within the “new” phase of the moon and with little or no artificial light pollution nearby. It is also recommended to go into dark waters to enjoy this show even more.


In Mexico, there are few places where luminous plankton can be observed. One of them is located in the area of ​​Puerto Escondido, more precisely, in the Laguna de Manialtepec.

Located about 18 km west of Puerto Escondido, it owes its name to Náhuatl (Yuto-Nahua macrolanguage that is spoken in Mexico): “manial” (place where water springs) and “tepec” (hill), “water that it is born from the hill”. The Lagoon has this name since its main water source comes from thermal springs.

The Laguna de Manialtepec is also quite particular on its own. During the rainy season, its water from the mountains mixes with the salty water from the sea, creating an unusual mixture of waters.

You can also see large amounts of mangroves (trees that take root in the water). These trees have a fundamental value for the conservation of coastal ecosystems due to their protective function against wind and wave erosion. Furthermore, they serve as housing for many species, both marine and terrestrial.

In order to experience bioluminescence, it is necessary to enter the waters of the lagoon, among the mangroves and its abundant wildlife.

There are different ways of experiencing this phenomenon.

The most common and chosen by tourists is to take a boat. Where a tour guide accompanies you with his boat into the lagoon until you reach the perfect place to swim. That’s right, the best way to experience bioluminescence is to move around in the water. Since the light only appears when we move the water of the lagoon.

By carrying out the experience by boat it is also possible to visit different areas of the Manialtepec Lagoon and meet other living beings that live there.

Another option to observe bioluminescence is to rent a kayak or paddle board. For the more adventurous, this way of appreciating the plankton spectacle is the best. By renting your own mobility within the Laguna, you can go at your own pace and slow down as many times as you want. In addition, you can do it alone or with a small group of people of your preference.

However, not everyone is prepared for this option since kayaking or paddle boarding in Laguna de Manialtepec at night can be a bit chilling. Would you cheer up?

The experience of bioluminescence is something difficult to describe. It feels like shooting stars in the water, or like magical dust from fairy godmothers.


“I felt like I was in a science fiction movie where I was swimming among thousands of stars. Simply magical. “

María, from Argentina, after taking the boat tour through the Manitatepec Lagoon.

Although, like all natural phenomena, there are better times to observe certain events, in the case of bioluminescence in the Laguna de Manialtepec, it is possible to appreciate it throughout the year. Nevertheless, according to the University of the Valley of Mexico, the best month to carry out the experience is November.

Whether by boat, kayak, or paddle board, doing the bioluminescence experience in the Laguna de Manialtepec in Puerto Escondido is a must on your tour of this wonderful place.


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