When you look around the town or city you live in, you’re probably not always overwhelmed by the nature of the place. There’s probably a heck load of smog, pigeons galore, fields littered with trash, and the odd firefly – which is enough to make you squeal with delight (they’re so pretty). However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is as dull and drag as the city. In fact, there are areas of the world that constantly astound us. From pink lagoons in Australia and natural waterfalls in Costa Rica, to impressive historical landmarks in Egypt. Yet, one of our favorite natural phenomena is the bioluminescent beaches that can be found across the world. Be warned: they will blow your mind!
Primrose Sands – Tasmania
If you ever find yourself in Tasmania, a trip to Preservation Bay would not go amiss. If you travel to the northwest coast of the island, you might be able to watch as the beaches sparkle. As the sun begins to set and the darkness descends on the sea edge, the water turns a dramatic aquamarine color, with swirls of Noctiluca scintillans creating ghostly patterns in the sea. However, this isn’t just a small bunch of plankton. Instead, there are billions of those little guys!
Okayama – Japan
Japan isn’t really known for its beaches, but there are a few beaches in the country that have perked the eyes and ears of those who love things all bioluminescent. In the area of Okayama, the coastline along the Seto Inland Sea dramatically changes during the summer months. Rather than fading into the darkness of the night, these beaches come alive with bioluminescent streaks and swirls that find themselves on the rocks and along the sand. This is thanks to the Vargula hilgendorfii (or ‘sea fireflies’) that come to life at nighttime to feed along the coast. What an adorable name.
Vieques – Puerto Rico
If you’re looking for the brightest bioluminescent beach in the world, look no further than Mosquito Bay in Vieques, Puerto Rico. These beaches provide a truly magical experience for those who manage to see it, thanks to the record-breaking number of dinoflagellates in the water and on the shoreline. These tiny marine plants bioluminesce at night, and cover the sand with their bright blue lights. If you can’t quite fathom the abundance of these creatures, here’s a fun fact for you: a tablespoon of water would contain around 6,000 of these marine plants!
San Diego – California
At the beginning of fall nearly every year in San Diego, California, the seas come alive. As huge pools of Lingulodinium polyedrum (red algae) make their way closer to the coast, their bioluminescent properties really show off their talent. By day, the algae turns the waves an incredible red color. Yet, as the sun begins to set, the algae starts to turn increasingly blue, and swirl around in the waters below. It’s a beautiful spectacle, and one you must see in the flesh!
The Maldive Islands
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting the Maldives, you’ll know the islands are overrun with incredible views and impressive landscapes. However, these islands are also the perfect place to view a bioluminescent spectacle. The tropical waters act as the ostracod crustaceans’ playground, as they thrive in the warm waters. These incredible creatures, which are often called seed shrimp, glow bright blue as nighttime dawns on the beaches, and lights up the shore.
There are thousands of incredible natural phenomenons in the world, but these bioluminescent beaches are truly something special. Make sure you visit at least one in your lifetime.