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Jamaica: Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

Almost everyone I talked to said I had to see Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon but when I asked why, the universal response was, see for yourself. As we drove from Montego Bay to Falmouth, I found myself questioning my decision. I hadn’t had time to do much research so I was flying in the dark. And at 7:00 p.m., it was also dark.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon
Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon

We bought our tickets a few minutes before departure and were handed a glass of rum punch. So this is the kind of tour it’ll be, I said to my friend.

At 7, we joined several visitors on a small boat and set off. A few yards into the marina, which is formed from the confluence of the Martha Brae River and the Caribbean Sea, and the boatman stopped and killed the lights. It was pitch black.

Jeffery – I think that was his name – our tour guide, explained that the brackish marina water, which is only between 3 and 8 feet – contains millions of micro-organisms (dinoflagellates) that live and thrive where the layers of salt and fresh water meet. When the water is disturbed, they cause it to glow. Think fireflies.  Sure enough, as the boat moved forward, the wake became a luminous blue while everything else around us was inky black, I couldn’t see the person next to me.

When we stopped again, Jeffrey asked if anyone wanted to take a dip. Only a few people did. We couldn’t see them but as each person moved around the boat, we could tell exactly where they were as the water glistened. They looked like snow angels.

As Jeffrey continued to explain, this luminous water phenomenon is found in only four countries, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Indonesia and Jamaica – Jamaica’s apparently is the brightest.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able take a photo. The luminosity is best viewed when it’s dark and the flash on my camera popped up automatically as soon as I touched the shutter. I tried holding it down but I didn’t catch much and I couldn’t see to fiddle with the settings. But here’s one I grabbed from their website.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon, photo via the Internet from
Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon, photo via the Internet from

In addition to the lagoon, Glistening Waters has a restaurant that serves fresh seafood, bar and boat marina with full hook-up for daily, weekly and long-term rentals, as well as charter boat rentals for deep sea sport fishing.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon is located in Falmouth, Trelawny, which is roughly a 45 minute drive from Montego Bay. Tours start at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. and cost US$20 per person, inclusive of rum punch.