La Parguera Phosphorescent Bay
With less rain in this part of the island, boats usually go out every night.

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La Parguera Phosphorescent Bay

La Parguera Phosphorescent Bay
glows with the millions of microscopic organisms known as dinoflagellates that sparkle when disturbed. This phenomenon occurs only in the tropics, typically in mangrove-protected bays like this one.

La Parguera, on the southwest coast about 45 minutes west of Ponce and 20 minutes from Guanica, is one of two areas in Puerto Rico that has this remarkable nighttime attraction. The other is the offshore island of Vieques.

The tour boats travel to a small bay to the east of Lajas. Normally this is one of the driest parts of the island but you might hope for a light rain. Then, the whole bay will light up, spectacularly glowing green, pink and blue as the raindrops hit the water. When it really pours, the boats don't go out.

To really stir things up and for maximum effect, visit the local dive shop and book a nighttime snorkel trip in the phosphorescent bay. Now, that's a trip!

Hours of Operation: Boats depart nightly at 7:30 p.m. from the small marina and continue operating until there is no more demand. A dark moonless night is best.

Accommodations: You can stay overnight at 70-unit Parador Villa Parguera which is a classic fishing inn known for its seafood; 787/899-3975. Nearby is the 40-unit Parador Posada Porlamar; 787/899-4015. The rooms are plain but there's a dive shop on site.

Hotel Torres de la Parguera is a small colonial-style hotel with rooms and suites equipped with cable TV, private balcony and air conditioning. It also has its own bistro restaurant, Majimo.  

La Jamaka is a small 9-unit hotel about a 10- minute walk from the town. The rooms are small and have showers only. There is a communal kitchen; 787/899-6162.

For considerably more luxury, the Copamarina Beach Resort at Guanica is less than 30 minutes away; 787/821-0505. Also in Guanica is Mary Lee's By the Sea, a group of cottages and studios, some with full kitchen; 787/ 821-3600.

Directions: The sleepy fishing village of Lajas, which is also near the Guanica Dry Forest Reserve. From San Juan, take Road 52 to Ponce and then Road 2 towards San German. Exit onto Road 116 to La Parguera.

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