Best places to see Bioluminescence

photo © slworking2 / Flickr – Scripp Pier, San Diego, California

Bioluminescence is light produced by living organisms through a chemical reaction between a light-emitting molecula and an enzyme or a photoprotein, generally luciferin and luciferase. The reaction sometimes requires other cofactors such as ATP, calcium or magnesium.  Some organisms synthesize luciferin on their own, others absorb it through other organisms.

Bioluminescence produces cold light, since the process does not emit heat, and it is different than fluorescence, which does not involve a chemical reaction and the light is just re-emitted after being absorbed.

Bioluminescence is used for many different purposes like hunting, defense against predators, warning, attracting mates, camouflage and even communication, by a wide range of animals and other living creatures such fireflies, glow worms, railroad worms, centipedes, snails, annelids, fish like anglerfish or lanternfish, invertebrates, krill, cnidarians, coral, jellyfish, crustaceans, bivalves, sea slugs, cephalopods, octopuses, squid, fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Bioluminescent Jellyfish
photo © Chris Favero / Flickr

Thanks to this unusual phenomenon, these creatures create magical habitats such as bioluminescent marine bays, caves, woods and other spectacular landscapes.

Bioluminescence is a target for biology, medicine and engineering research for various experiments such as a new font of light or alternative uses in medicine.

Here is a complete list of the best places in the world where you can witness bioluminescence:

Big South Fork, Tennessee/Kentucky, USA

Titusville and Merritt Island, Florida, USA

Torrey Pines State Beach, San Diego, California, USA

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, USA

San Juan Island, Washington, USA

Dismals Canyon, Alabama, USA

Space Coast, Florida, USA

Manasquan Beach, New Jersey, USA

Indian River Lagoon, Florida, USA

Salt River Bay, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Manialtepec Lagoon, Mexico

Isla Holbox, Mexico

Nichupte’ Lagoon, Mexico

Luminous Lagoon, Jamaica

Little Corn Island, Nicaragua

Bocas del Toro, Panama

Punta Cuchillos, Costa Rica

Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Mosquito Bay, Vieques, Puerto Rico

Laguna Grande, Fajardo, Puerto Rico

La Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico

Goias, Brazil

Kumbalangi, Kerala, India

Goa, India

Vaadhoo Island ‘Mudhdhoo Island’, Maldives

Reethi Beach, Maldives

Ko Lipe, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Ton Sai, Thailand

Koh Tonsay ‘Rabbit Island’, Cambodia

Koh Rong, Cambodia

Tusan Beach, Malaysia

Padang Bai, Bali, Indonesia

Matsu Islands, Taiwan

Sam Mun Tsai Beach, Hong Kong

Cat Ba Island, Ha Long Bay Area, Vietnam

Toyama Bay, Japan

Hachijō-jima, Japan

Coles Bay, Tasmania

Gippsland Lake, Australia

Springbrook Park, Australia

Jervis Bay, Australia

Waitomo caves, New Zealand

Lough Hyne Nature Reserve, Cork, Ireland

Aberavon Beach, Port Talbot, Wales

Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea, Wales

Grouville, Jersey

Norfolk, UK

Zeebrugge, Belgium

The Blue Grotto, Malta

Maunsell Forts, UK


Projected by the engineer Guy Maunsell and built in 1942 during the World War II on order by the Great Britain Royal Navy in the Thames Estuary Special Defence Units program, the sea forts were equipped with radar and anti-aircraft guns; they hosted over 100 soldiers each and their purpose was to protect the coast close to London from the attack of the German air force Luftwaffe and Navy.
During the war, these fortresses destroyed 22 German aircraft, 30 rockets and an S-Boot ship.

Now they stay abandoned since 1958 after a period in the mid-1960s when they were occupied by the first pirate radios like Radio SutchRadio City, Radio 390 and Radio Essex.

The sea forts are located about 11 km from the Suffolk coast and there are boat tours organized with departure from Whitstable Harbour. Info at

Swimming with Whale Sharks

Known to be the gentle giant of the sea, the Whale Shark is the biggest fish of our oceans, with up to 15 meters in length and 10 tons of weight. They may live up to 150 years.

Owing to their friendly behavior, unlike other tourist boat tours like whales watching or shark cage diving, it is allowed for tourists diving and snorkeling alongside this incredible fish.

Here are the best places in the world for diving & snorkeling with whale sharks:

Isla Holbox and Cancun: from May to September
Cabo San Lucas: from September to April

Utila: from March to May and from August to November

Gladden Spit: from April to June

Ningaloo Reef: from March to September

Donsol Bay and Sogod Bay: from December to May
Oslob: all year
Puerto Princesa: from April to November

Tofo Beach and Bazaruto Archipelago: from October to April

Nosy Be Island: from September to December

South Mahé: September and November

Koh Tao: from March to May & from October to December
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang: from February to April
Richelieu Rock: from January to March

South Ari Atoll: All Year

Bay of Ghoubbet: October and February

Mafia Island: from September to March


Cenderawasih Bay: from October to April

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Wolf Island and Darwin Island: June and December

Santa Maria Island: June and October

Saudi Arabia
Al-Lith: from February to June

Diani Beach: from February to March

Great White Shark Cage Diving

white shark cage diving
photo © Voyages etc… 

The Carcharodon Carcharias, commonly known as the great white shark, lives in the coastal waters of all the major oceans.

Its size is average 3,5 to 4 meters in length for males and 4,6 to 5 meters for females (larger female individuals can reach up to 6,2 meters and almost 2 tons of weight;  the largest white shark ever captured was a female of 7,14 meters). They can swim up to 56 km/h and reach depths of 1.200 meters under the sea level.
Maybe the most powerful and cruel predator, it is one of the most fascinating animals on earth. 
Being face to face with a great white shark is one of the most exciting experiences you could ever have.
There are few places in the world where do that: here are the best places for the great white shark cage diving:

white shark cage diving

We suggest you to contact the local companies to check the sharks presence before planning the trip.

DON’T miss it if you are traveling in these places… and don’t think about Steven Spielberg’s cult movie Jaws

** November 2020 update about the presence of white sharks in South Africa**

In the past three years, there has been a significant decline in the number of great white sharks in Gansbaai, one of the best places in the world to meet the majestic predators. Although a lot of news reported that the decline has been caused by Orcas attacks, the local research institutes expressed their concern about that: Orcas could have had an impact on the shark’s reduction, but several other reasons have to be considered, such as lack of protection of the environment, a decrease of food sources and fishing nets.

However, in the last months of 2020, some of the Shark Diving Companies reported sightings of a few great white sharks in the bay.

For further information, read the interesting report on White Shark Diving Company’s blog page at the following link:

Margherita di Savoia salt pans, Italy

Margherita di Savoia salt pans
© Paolo Uboldi, award-winning artwork at Apulia Land Art Festival 2017
The Margherita di Savoia Salt Pans Natural Reserve is located about 10 km north of Barletta (Apulia, Italy). It is the largest salt pan in Europe, the third in the world after the Makgadikgadi Pans (Botswana) and the Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia).

The salt pan area is 20 km long and 5 km wide, with a total surface of about 45 square km; each year 30 million cubic meters of marine water is used for the production of about six million quintals of salt.

The clay soil guarantees a high level of impermeability. 
The natural reserve has a great biodiversity of bird species, among which the pink flamingos, perfectly camouflaged with the salt pans (some areas are pink colored given the presence of the micro-algae  Dunaliella salina, one of the few organisms that can live in hypersaline conditions).

Aral Sea, Uzbekistan

Aral sea
photo by Arian Zweger

Muynak was once an important port city on the Aral Sea, in Uzbekistan. In the 1950s, after the Second World War, the Soviet Union drained the Aral Sea for irrigation of the cotton fields, during the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature.

Uzbekistan is now one of the main producer of cotton in the world, and Muniak has become a large boat cemetery in a salty desert land.

The Great Blue Hole, Belize

the great blue hole

The Great Blue Hole is located near the Lighthouse Reef atoll, in the Belize Coral Reef Barrier, the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia; it is considered one of the best scuba diving site in the world.

The hole is almost perfectly circular in shape, 300 meters wide and 120 meters deep. It was formed as a limestone cave during the quaternary glaciation (when sea levels were much lower), flooded after the oceans’ level raising.

Recently, some scientific studies, by analysis of the amount of aluminum and titanium deposited in the Great Blue Hole (lower levels of aluminum and titanium in soil and sediments correspond to periods with fewer precipitations) have demonstrated that between 800 d.C. and 1100 d.C. two periods of drought created the preconditions for the decline of the Maya civilization.