Blue water kayak bioluminescence in Costa Rica: the review

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If it is in your plans to visit Costa Rica, you may know what it’s to experience blue water kayak bioluminescence. This country is one of the best to enjoy this activity.

Today we tell you in first person how was the experience of our Howlanders adventure doing the bioluminescent kayaking tour in Costa Rica, specifically in the Nicoya Peninsula.

Moments before experiencing blue water kayak bioluminescence

In short order, another early sunset begins in northwestern Costa Rica. It’s our second day in the province of Puntarenas, more specifically on the Nicoya Peninsula.

A few meters from the accommodation, swimsuit and towel in hand we head to the beach, to say goodbye to the last light of the day. And no, we didn’t get used to mid-afternoon sunsets.

Sunset on a Nicoya beach

In this deserted bay, the only locals to be seen are sailing in their little fishing boats. We are accompanied by some brusque pelicans very obsessed in catching their prey.

Pelicans don’t fly high, and they swoop down barely half a meter from the surface with their beaks open… I think they’re going to get stuck in the sand at any moment. It’s quite a spectacle, worthy of any National Geographic documentary.

Bioluminescent activity begins

Bioluminescence in blue water kayak width=”625″ height=”400″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-22870″ />

It is 17.30h we have to pick up and go to the meeting point with our guides. The trail is marked with garlands that illuminate it. It’s starting to get dark and they will surely come in handy to make the way back.

We are greeted with homemade lemonade, freshwater, coffee and some complimentary cookies. They’ve already won me over. While we wait for the rest of the group (we will be about 20 people) they tell us what is this bioluminescence. They use a panel of different living beings to understand it better.

In short (without getting into a big way), somewhere in these organisms a biochemical reaction occurs that when activated produces a light. This bioluminescent adventure promises, today the sky is clear and there is no moon!

Nicoya bioluminescent water Nicoya

Once the basic paddling explanations are done, each with a paddle and a life jacket, we head down to the shore of the blue-water beach. It’s dark on the last stretch, and it’s been good for us to carry headlamps to light our way.

There is a choice of single or double kayak. Our group has a great representation and linguistic variety. We are divided into groups of 10-12 people. They speak slowly in English and Spanish to give us directions.

Excitement takes hold of me, the bay is totally dark and is a huge raft. Barely a few lights can be seen on some of the little islands in the bay, there is absolute silence. Only the explanations of our guide are heard.

Blue water kayak bioluminescence route begins

Bioluminescent kayak views Costa Rica

Wet sandals, we are entering our kayak, we don’t turn our headlamps back on. We paddle a few metres out to sea, the magic begins.

At each stroke of the oar we paddle, the biochemical reaction takes place and, the sea glows in the dark. I take advantage of my paddling partner’s strength as I have been mesmerized by the light produced in each of the partners’ kayaks.

We follow our guide by voice (from time to time, he flashes his headlamp as a beacon) although silhouettes are glimpsed and the bustle of excitement makes it easy for us not to stray.

There are areas where you have not put the paddle and the brightness is already crazy. The guide with his strength and skill at the paddle, shows us the magic in the keel of his kayak. It produces a very marked line that makes its way into the sea, I am dumbfounded.

Bioluminescence in blue water kayak

I am not aware of how much time has passed since we have started sailing the bay. In some areas the bioluminescence is such madness that you can see it in your own hands, it lasts a few seconds but I sense a certain witchcraft.

No matter how many photos you can take, they won’t do it justice. Some experiences are best left photographed on our inner reel – pure magic and pure life!!!

Last moments in the kayak

We are warned that the party is coming to an end and we have to paddle to get back to shore. I don’t want it to end. I would never have imagined anything like this, I’m certainly keeping this one in my “life specials folder”.

On returning to the meeting point, we commented with the rest of our companions about the tour and said goodbye to them.

We practically didn’t get wet, just our shorts and sandals. No need to change clothes since the accommodation is close by and we are walking, but it might be a good idea to take a towel and clothes to change at the end of the tour.

And you, do you dare to live this adventure?


Javi, along with Daniel, was the one who gave life to Howlanders and formed this team. Each of his trips and the experiences he accumulated in his backpack, gave him the idea of helping other travelers to live them too.

At Howlanders, he is one of the people in charge of deciding which tours we offer. While in this blog he gives us his travel diaries.

He has traveled Torres del Paine for all its circuits and knows it to perfection, so he gives us all the recommendations and tips that can't be found elsewhere.

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