The Fascinating Phenomenon of Bioluminescence and Where to See It in Belize

by Khaila Gentle

The sun has already set behind the rolling hills of the Maya Mountains, and the only sound filling the air is the hum of the boat’s engine as you cruise down a costal lagoon. Darkness descends, and soon after, something spectacular happens. You tear your gaze away from the awe-inspiring night sky and  look behind you to find glowing streaks of blue in the water. There are few places in the world where one can witness this spectacular phenomenon, but luckily, that includes Belize. If experiencing a bioluminescence tour isn’t on your bucket list, it definitely should be. Here’s where and when you can enjoy this beautiful natural light show.

What Is Bioluminescence?

bioluminescence Hamanasi guest- Austin Schmitt⁠ hopkins

Photo by Hamanasi Guest Austin Schmitt

A natural wonder, the phenomenon known as bioluminescence refers to when living things emit light through chemical reactions that occur in their bodies. It’s how fireflies produce their all-too-familiar glow, but bioluminescence is most commonly found in marine life, including plankton (dinoflagellates). When the water is disturbed, these small organisms produce a magical light show.

Enjoy “Nature’s Glow Stick” In Sittee River, Belize

bioluminescence tour

Photo Courtesy

For anyone wanting to get a glimpse of bioluminescence in action, head to Sittee River, Belize. A scenic boat ride down the eponymous river will take you to Anderson Lagoon. Enjoy views of Belize’s riparian forest along the way, and keep your eyes open for diverse wildlife. Then, after the sun sets, prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime.

Bioluminescence Tours in Belize: When to Go

Photo by Hopkins Uncut

If you’re hoping to catch this spectacular light show while in Belize, keep in mind that it’s a seasonal occurrence. It requires the perfect conditions – usually in the drier months between January and May.

Ready to experience nature’s light show? Book a Bioluminescence Tour with the Lodge at Jaguar Reef in Hopkins, Belize.

Featured Photo by The Belize Collection 

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