Glistening Waters: The Glowing Lagoon in Jamaica
Things to Do

Glistening Waters: The Glowing Lagoon in Jamaica

Hop on a boat and travel to one of the most intriguing places in the Caribbean: bioluminescent Falmouth Lagoon. Situated on the northern coast of beautiful Jamaica, Falmouth Lagoon is one of few lagoons in the world with glowing water. It’s also the only place in the world where the bioluminescence isn’t dependent on the weather, meaning you can visit year-round!

While you’re planning your next beach vacation to Jamaica with gorgeous beaches, music and nightlife, consider visiting this once-in-a-lifetime natural wonder. One more reason to jetset to the Caribbean!

The Glowing Lagoon

The Falmouth Lagoon is one of the largest and most brilliant glistening lagoons in the world. By day it’s a beautifully serene and unassuming lagoon; at night it’s alive like a Jamaican reggae party, with the slightest movements making it glow bright-neon blue. This light show prompted locals to dub the lagoon ‘Glistening Waters’ and ‘Luminous Lagoon’. The phosphorescence of the lagoon is due to the microorganisms that call these waters home. A mixture of fresh water from the Martha Brae River and salt water from the Caribbean Sea creates the perfect breeding ground for the tiny dinoflagellates that thrive in it.

The lagoon is surrounded by mangroves, which lends it an eerie glow at night. As you jump in the lake, the water will start glowing in rhythm with your movements. It’s quite shallow though, only about three to six feet, so you have to be careful not to churn up the mud with your feet as it dims the lights. Once you stop moving, you’ll be surrounded by darkness. Go on a stormy night, if you want to see the whole lagoon set into aquatic fireworks from the falling rain.

There are no major predators in the area, so swim all you want—just be sure to stay within view of your boat for safety.

How to Get to Luminous Lagoon

The Falmouth Lagoon makes up part of the Trelawney marshlands of northern Jamaica and stretches from Rock to Falmouth. If you stay in the popular resort area of Montego Bay, Falmouth Lagoon is approximately 40 minutes east by car.

Once there, you can walk right up to Glistening Waters Marina who runs tours every night. Pre-book the tour online or through your hotel and it usually includes transportation and a meal, or drive there yourself and purchase tickets at the harbor.

The tour guides allow you to jump into the water at a select point and swim in the lagoon so you experience the bright-blue glow yourself. Sit towards the rear of the boat to the left of the vessel—that way you’ll have the best view of the water lighting up as the boat starts moving. It is best to go on a nearly moonless night, the lights are brightest then.

Where to Relax After Luminous Lagoon

Back on land, consider visiting the nearby Glistening Waters Restaurant and recount your magical journey with friends and family over some of Jamaica’s renowned jerk chicken and locally-made rum cake and coffee. In the 18th century, Falmouth Lagoon was home to a major port for sugar trade, and you can still see remnants of this past along the coast.

If you want to stay right on the water, check out the Glistening Waters Hotel. For a luxurious all-inclusive experience, try the nearby Jewel of Runaway Bay Resort, which has its own water park! The resort also offers windsurfing, kayaking and access to the beach.

Unlike the more famous Jamaican resort areas, Falmouth is a quaint historical town where you’ll enjoy tranquility. You can even explore the 18th and 19th-century-style houses and old sugar plantations on horseback. Afterward, travel the cool, crystal-clear waters of the Martha Brae River on a kayak or tube—it’s adjacent to Luminous Lagoon.

How’s that for the perfect vacation?

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