Mexico Travel Guide
Mexico Bioluminescence

About Mexico’s magical bioluminescence

Rutopía editorial team
Rutopía editorial team
- min read

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Bioluminescence is the ability of some living things to produce light.  This phenomenon occurs as part of a natural chemical reaction that allows some creatures to confuse predators, attract prey, or seduce potential mates. One of the best-known non-aquatic examples of this unusual natural light is fireflies.

We take you to see bioluminescence.

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However, the most significant number of species with this ability are found in aquatic ecosystemsAt least 1,500 types of fish, algae, bacteria, and squid are known to have the ability to create bioluminescence. Many of which are found at great depths where there is no light at all.

Some individuals work their luminous magic at the surface, and we humans can behold the blue glow thanks to the movement of the waves.


Bioluminescence on Mexican beaches

On some beaches, depending on the month, you can observe that the water glows at night. This is because algae, which produce bioluminescence, flourish in warm, calm waters, such as those found in several places in this country.

These organisms can emit colors ranging from the warmest green to the most glowing blue, and can sometimes have reddish tones. It should be noted that marine bioluminescence is not easy to photograph or capture on video. In fact, only on some beaches and lagoons of the world is it possible to witness this natural phenomenon.

 Mexico is one of the few countries with bioluminescent beaches and lagoons. Throughout the year you can appreciate this spectacle of nature. However, each area has a season in which the illumination of the water can be better appreciated.

Bioluminescence in Holbox

The small island of Holbox is located in the north of Quintana Roo. It is part of the Yum Balam biosphere reserve and wildlife protection area since 1994. Its name means “black hole” in Mayan.

Here cars are not allowed, the streets are white sand and are as beautiful as the sea.

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This island is the habitat of several species that are endangered or threatened. For this reason, the population seeks to have sustainable tourism in order not to damage ecosystems.

If you want to see the bioluminescence, it is recommended to visit the island during the rainy season. You can see how the Caribbean beaches light up just by touching the water between May and September.


Bioluminescence in Manialtepec

Manialtepec is a coastal lagoon – measuring 6 square kilometers – located near Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca. In Nahuatl, its name means “place of lizards”. Its location and mangrove ecosystem favor the presence of migratory birds and reptiles. 

This lagoon is a mixture of salt water, fresh water, and thermal water, produced when the water flows into the sea and generates a spring. Here the bioluminescence is an intense blue color and can be seen most clearly on September nights.

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Swimming with bioluminescence is 100% safe. When you go, remember to use biodegradable sunscreen. And keep in mind that the best nights to appreciate the bioluminescence are when there is no moon.

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