There are endless options for things to do and see in Grand Cayman. We squeezed a ton into our week long stay on this island. However, our favourite thing we did was the bioluminescence tour. It was such a unique experience, unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
Just a note on the photos, bioluminescence is really hard to photograph. You would need to use a DSLR with a lens with a really low F-stop to even attempt to photograph it. My gear is not waterproof so I did not want to drag it out in a sea kayak at night. We did attempt to use the low light setting on the go-pro but we got nothing. Thus, the pictures below are stock images from the tour group we used. This is one of those tours you have to experience with your eyes because you won’t have any photographs at the end to remember it by. They do give you a postcard at the end though for a memento!
What is bioluminescence?
Bioluminescence is simply any organism that emits light. Grand Cayman is one of only 6 places in the world that has year round bioluminescence in the water. Newfoundland actually has bioluminescence at certain times of the year as well. While the bioluminescence is year round in Grand Cayman it is best viewed on certain nights depending on the cycle of the moon, usually about two weeks of the month. If this is something you want to experience make sure you check with the tour operator for dates before booking your trip!
We chose Cayman Kayaks for our tour for a couple of reasons. They are the longest bioluminescence tour operator in Grand Cayman, they opened in 2006 so they have been around for quite some time. Also, they put an emphasis on operating an environmentally friendly tour. Bioluminescence is extremely fragile and it is very important that tour operators treat the area very carefully. Cayman Kayaks does not allow snorkelling in Bioluminescence Bay as the lotions and sunscreen on skin can harm the bioluminescence, also the bay is full of jelly fish. We actually got to see and touch a jelly fish that the tour guide showed us. But swim with them? Thanks but no thanks. They also operate a boat tour using an electric rather then gas boat.
Bioluminescence Bay is located next to Rum Point on the far side of the island. About an hours drive from Seven Mile Beach, where we stayed. We made a day of driving over to the other side of the island, I will share our itinerary in another post.
We chose to kayak, however, if you aren’t inclined the boat is a great option as well. The centre of the boat has hatches that are opened up once inside in the bay. The entire middle of the boat is open for guests to sit on the platform and to interact with the Bioluminescence from the comfort of the boat.
I have never sea kayaked before this tour and while I found it harder then I thought it would be it’s totally doable for beginners! Myself and Bruce shared a kayak, double kayaks are far more stable then single. The toughest part was steering but once we got going we quickly got the hang of it. Just a note that you will get wet if you kayak. I wore bikini bottoms with cycling shorts over them and I was soaked by the end and glad I brought a change of shorts.
The tour starts with about a 15 minute paddle from Rum Point over to Bioluminescence Bay at night of course. Sea kayaking under the stars sure is a magical experience. On our way over a fish jumped into our tour guide’s boat. Crazy, who knew fish could do that? Once we arrived in Bioluminescence Bay we got to play with the bioluminescence. The only way I can describe it is like touching glitter in the water. The stock photos don’t even do it justice, it has to be seen to be experienced.
Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. We kayaked around the bay and checked out different areas of bioluminescence. Just as we were about to leave our tour guide spotted a nurse shark. We could see it because it was glowing with bioluminescence. Insane! I was both terrified and excited all at once. Once the shark swam off we made the 15 minute paddle back to Rum Point. It was an amazing evening, one I will never forget. Thanks to Cayman Kayaks for hosting us.
Disclaimer: Cayman Kayaks partnered with me in exchange for an unbiased review of my experience, as always all opinions are my own. All photos are their copyright.