9 Best Puerto Escondido Bioluminescence Tours in 2024


Ready to book THE best bioluminescence puerto escondido tour?

You’re in the right place because the 9 best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours are all featured here.

As someone who has done a Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tour, and lives in Mexico, I’ve made sure to only highlight the best tours in Puerto Escondido in this article — so know all these have been vetted!

bioluminescent lagoon glowing in the dark - best puerto escondido bioluminescence tours

Don’t have time to read the whole article? This Bioluminescent Lagoon Boat Ride and Swim is our choice with a near-perfect 5-star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Welcome to the phosphorescent wonders of Puerto Escondido where you’ll skim over inky black waves in a small boat churning up a shimmery blue wake and glowing surf.

Next, swim in the warm water, tiny glowing plankton dancing over your arms like glitter. Doesn’t that sound magical?

If that sounds like the bucket list experience you’re looking for, this list of top-rated bioluminescence tours is perfect. Let’s dive in so you can book the best bioluminescence tour on your Puerto Escondido trip.

Top 3 Picks: Puerto Escondido Bioluminescence Tours

#1 TOP PICK

lagoon glowing during the night

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Bioluminescent Lagoon Boat Ride and Swim
✔️ Local driver/guide
✔️ Transport by van

#2 PICK

couple snorkeling in the ocean

Chacahua National Park Private Tour + Lagoon Boat Trip
✔️ Professional guide
✔️ Hotel pickup and drop-off

#3 PICK

people riding horses

Horseback Riding and Bioluminescence Tour in Puerto Escondido
✔️ Round trip transfer from hotel to tour
✔️ Horse Tour

9 Best Puerto Escondido Bioluminescence Tours

1. Bioluminescent Lagoon Boat Ride and Swim

bioluminescent lagoon in puerto escondido oaxaca mexico (laguna manialtepec)
Book this Bioluminescent Lagoon Puerto Escondido Boat Ride to experience and be amazed by the bioluminescent waters as they glow.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 3 hours | 💦 Check Rates & Availability

Explore the glittering waters of the Laguna de Chacahua on this incredible Bioluminescence Puerto Escondido Boat Tour. Arrive by van and hop aboard a boat to witness nature’s captivating light show.

Swim among the vibrant waters where millions of microorganisms transform into dazzling bioluminescent lights. As you move through the water, the glow intensifies, creating a mesmerizing effect.

Fantastic tour with a great tour guide and awesome views for the boat ride! There was lightning and thunder on one side of the sky and then beautiful views of the stars on the other side.

-kristina (read more reviews)

This unforgettable adventure is perfect for those seeking a unique experience beneath the starry night sky. Travelers have raved about the knowledgeable guides and the stunning natural beauty of the illuminating plankton.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

2. Chacahua National Park Private Tour + Lagoon Boat Trip

feet up on a ledge at Playa Chacahua in Lagunas de Chacahua, Oaxaca, Mexico
Aside from seeing crocodiles and iguanas, you can snorkel through the waters and spot different marine species when you book this Chacahua Private Tour.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 8 hours | ⛵️ Check Rates & Availability

Embark on an unforgettable day trip exploring the Oaxaca hidden gem that is Chacahua National Park on this Private Tour of Chacahua Oaxaca. It is the best Chacahua bioluminescence tour of them all!

Start the day with an early morning hotel pick-up and a scenic drive to the charming town of Zapotalito. Hop on a boat and cruise through breathtaking lagoons, visiting five picturesque islands.

[The] mangroves experience was amazing at night… Clear sky for stargazing, once in a lifetime experience. 

-Angela (read more reviews)

Arrive at Chacahua and visit the incredible Crocodile Sanctuary. Next, refuel with a delicious lunch on the main island. You will then snorkel in crystal-clear waters, swim in the ocean, paddle board, or relax and soak up the island vibes.

As the day winds down, enjoy a serene boat ride back through the lagoon before returning to Puerto Escondido. Chacahua National Park is a nature lover’s dream, and this private tour is the best way to experience it.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

3. Horseback Riding and Bioluminescence Tour in Puerto Escondido

two people on a horseback ride through a river
Experience a unique tour by riding a horse when you book this Horseback Riding and Bioluminescence Tour in Puerto Escondido.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 12 hours | 🏇🏻 Check Rates & Availability

Are you ready for a jam-packed day of fun? If so, this is the Bioluminescence Puerto Escondido Tour for you.  

Kick off the adventure by releasing baby turtles on the renowned brush beach, a sanctuary where thousands of turtles arrive annually. Next, saddle up for a horseback ride through local crop fields and cattle ranches.

It was a unique and wonderful experience, our guide was very kind and provided us with additional information at all times.

-leticia (read more reviews)

Then you’ll board a boat on the lagoon and witness the mesmerizing Manialtepec Lagoon bioluminescence natural phenomenon. Spend the evening enjoying this incredible sight before heading back around midnight.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

4. Turtle Release & Bioluminescence Tour from Huatulco

sea turtle laying eggs on the beach in puerto escondido, mexico (Playa La Escobilla Mexico)
Book this Turtle Release and Bioluminescence Oaxaca Tour from Huatulco and witness a baby turtle release into the sea.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 9 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

Embark on a mesmerizing adventure on this Turtle Release & Bioluminescence Tour, discovering the best of what the Oaxaca Coast has to offer. The tour departs from Huatulco, which is near Puerto Escondido.

Begin at Santuario La Escobilla (or Palmarito, depending on conditions), where dedicated volunteers protect endangered sea turtles. Lend a hand in releasing these little adventurers into the ocean while watching the sunset.

The turtle release was a fun, heart-warming experience. But, Edgar’s knowledge and experience added to the adventure. I highly recommend this tour.

-Patricia (read more reviews)

Next, soak in the majestic views at Playa Zicatela, one of Puerto Escondido’s most iconic beaches. Finally, plunge into the extraordinary world of bioluminescence at Laguna Manialtepec.

Swim among millions of glowing microorganisms as they sparkle like underwater fireflies. Don’t forget a towel and a swimsuit.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

5. Puerto Escondido Bioluminescent Night Tour

Manialtepec Lagoon glowing at night because of the bioluminscent phenomena
Book this Bioluminescent Night Tour to swim in the waters together with this majestic phenomenon in Manialtepec Lagoon.

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 2.5 hours | 💧 Check Rates & Availability

Experience a rare and magical phenomenon in Puerto Escondido with this unique Bioluminescence Tour, where darkness becomes your ally in uncovering nature’s hidden wonders.

With a convenient pick-up from your hotel, you’ll be whisked away to the enchanting Manialtepec Lagoon Puerto Escondido. Board a boat and prepare to immerse yourself in the world of bioluminescence.

Wow!!!! This is all could say about this tour.

-alicia (read more reviews)

Take the plunge and swim alongside these shimmering microorganisms. After this enchanting experience, return to your hotel with unforgettable stories of a truly one-of-a-kind adventure.

🤿 Pro Tip: Bring a bathing suit if you want to swim. The water is not very deep.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

6. Bioluminescence Experience in La Laguna de Manialtepec

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 3 hours | 🌌 Check Rates & Availability

Witness the breathtaking natural wonder of bioluminescent plankton in Manialtepec Lagoon on this Bioluminescence Experience Evening Tour.

Join a small, intimate group of no more than 10 travelers and set sail on a boat before diving into the dark waters to marvel at the glowing plankton display beneath the surface.

Amazing experience!! It is a thing that I have never seen in life, pictures and videos do not reflect the real experience there at all

-Enrique (read more reviews)

Ideal for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts, this tour offers the chance to swim and snorkel at your own pace.

Enjoy the convenience of hassle-free pick-up from your Puerto Escondido hotel, and make the most of your unforgettable night.

👙🩴 Pro Tip: Don’t forget to wear a swimsuit, sandals, and bring a towel.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

7. Sunset Horse Ride at Laguna Manialtepec

Experience the beauty of Laguna Manialtepec with a guided horseback ride at sunset by booking this Sunset Horse Ride at Laguna Manialtepec.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🐎 Check Rates & Availability

Embark on a journey through a native Oaxacan coastal town on this Sunset Horse Ride at Laguna Manialtepec adventure.

Ride through picturesque landscapes that form the economic and cultural foundation of the local community. The diverse horse trail includes river, lagoon, and beach terrains.

This was one of the most breathtaking tours we had. It couldn’t get more romantic (if you’re into that). Just perfect sunset, local food, some whale watching, and amazing guides. 

-Rashad (read more reviews)

You’ll also visit an estuary where the lagoon converges with the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, you can stop at a beachside cabin owned by a native family to purchase drinks and savor delicious shrimp or fish dishes.

This Puerto Escondido tour is perfect for anyone seeking an immersive cultural experience, picturesque landscapes, and an unforgettable adventure.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

8. Tour to the Bioluminescent Lagoon of Manialtepec

close up of the glowing planktons
Book this Bioluminescent Lagoon of Manialtepec Tour to explore the magical lagoon illuminated by millions of glowing plankton and learn about their fantastic biology.

⭐️ Rating: 4.78 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 3.5 hours | 🌌 Check Rates & Availability

Witness the spellbinding glow of the bioluminescent lagoon in Puerto Escondido on this Tour of Manialtepec Lagoon.

Board a boat to explore the magical phenomenon occurring within the lagoon’s waters. Experience the surreal sensation of swimming among shooting stars in the water as the bioluminescent plankton illuminates your surroundings.

This is a really cool experience, and it was awesome to see the bioluminescence.

-Gina (read more reviews)

This rare occurrence can only be found in two Mexican lagoons, Manialtepec Lagoon and Lagunas de Chacahua (Chacahua Lagoon). And one of the biggest advantages of this tour is that locals from the area organize it.

Best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours 

9. Baby Turtle Release & Bioluminescent Lagoon Tour

woman holding baby turtle for release in oaxaca mexico
Book this Baby Turtles & Bioluminescent Tour and explore the wonders of nature up close and personal as you witness the miracle of baby turtles hatching, followed by a stunning bioluminescence night kayak.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏰ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🐢 Check Rates & Availability

Experience bioluminescence and sea turtles on this wonderful Baby Turtles & Bioluminescent Combo Tour.

Led by expert guide Abi, you will first be transported to a turtle sanctuary. Here you’ll learn about the turtles directly from the people that work there, including how to preserve these endangered species.

The turtles were such a magical experience. Learning directly from the people that had the turtle sanctuary was wonderful.

-Jamie (read more reviews)

You will then be whisked away to the Manialtepec Lagoon to experience the breathtaking beauty of the bioluminescent waters as they sparkle and shimmer beneath the night sky.

Puerto Escondido Bioluminescence FAQs

Where is Puerto Escondido located?

Puerto Escondido is a small port in the municipality of San Pedro Mixtepec on the coast of Oaxaca. It is famous for its beaches and casual vibes.

📍 Puerto escondido Map

It’s a favorite destination among backpackers, surfers, and local Mexican families. It sits in between two bioluminescent lakes (one roughly two hours west of Puerto Escondido, and the other about two hours to the east).

Puerto Escondido means “hidden port” in Spanish, but is known as Zicatela, “place of the large thorns” in Nahuatl. In case you’re wondering, Nahuatl is the Aztec language.

Is Puerto Escondido worth visiting?

Puerto Escondido is definitely worth visiting unless you are looking for all-inclusive luxury resorts and upscale amenities. Where there are some, luxury isn’t the norm here.

man on motorcycle with surfboard in La Punta Puerto Escondido

The area is still developing as a tourist center, which makes it highly attractive to surfers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts (but not to luxury tourists). It has a casual vibe and a plethora of fun activities to enjoy.

Travelers to Puerto Escondido enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, chilling on the beach, eating seafood, surfing, and experiencing bioluminescence.

Puerto Escondido has been called “Mexico’s best-kept secret beach town.” Of course, the secret is out now, so plan your trip soon!

What airport is near Puerto Escondido?

Puerto Escondido Airport (code: PXM) is the closest airport to the port city of Puerto Escondido. It is only two miles (3 km) from the town center, and services both national and international flights.

entrance to puerto escondido airport in puerto escondido oaxaca mexico

According to one source, it is the fastest-growing airport in the entire country.

Of course, it is also possible to fly to Bahías de Huatulco International Airport, Oaxaca International Airport, and Salina Cruz Airport.

Depending on your travel plans and how you feel about ground transportation, it may be easiest and cheapest to book a flight directly from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido Airport.

How do you get to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City?

There are several different ways to get from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido. You can fly, go on an overnight bus, book a private transfer, rent a car, or travel in a shared tourist shuttle.

colorful flags hung above the street in downtown oaxaca city mexico

One of the easiest ways to get to Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca City is to fly from Oaxaca International Airport to Puerto Escondido International Airport.

Rental cars, private transfers, and shared transfers are also available in Oaxaca City.

For a deep dive into this topic, check out Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido: 5 Best Transport Options.

What is bioluminescence?

Bioluminescence is light produced by means of a chemical reaction inside a living organism. There are different kinds of bioluminescent organisms, but most live in the ocean.

Bioluminescence creates a beautiful light during the night.

Bioluminescent organisms include fish, bacteria, jellyfish, fireflies, and certain kinds of fungi.

The bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido is caused by dinoflagellates. These are a type of plankton that can produce their own luciferin, which is a light-producing chemical.

Dinoflagellate ecosystems are quite rare because they typically only form in a warm bio lagoon that is connected to the ocean via a narrow opening.

When can you see bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido?

There is no precisely defined bioluminescence Puerto Escondido season. It is possible to see dinoflagellates putting on their show of light during the entire year.

However, it is generally best to go when the skies are dark and there is a New Moon (i.e., when we see no moon).

🌙 Pro Tip: Don’t plan a trip to see bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido on a full moon.

If possible, plan your trip to see the bioluminescent planktons sometime between July and December. Choose a night when the moon phase is in your favor, as the inky darkness will make the glittering water even more spectacular.

What month is best to watch bioluminescent water?

If you’re wondering when is the best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence time of year, the answer is September.

But don’t go on any night in September. Instead, choose a night where there is a New Moon (NOT a full moon) or dark skies (when the moon rises late). These dark conditions will make it easier to see the phosphorescent plankton.

Of course, if you can’t go in September, don’t worry! You can see bioluminescence in Puerto Escondido year round.

What time of day is best to see bioluminescence?

It is best to see bioluminescence after dark. The darker the night, the better. If possible, choose a night when the moon phase is in your favor. The best time is during the New Moon.

A New Moon is optimal since the night will be darker, and you’ll be able to see the glowing plankton better. Bioluminescence is not visible during daylight hours.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have the flexibility to choose a night with a New Moon, you can still see the bioluminescence. Your Puerto Escondido guide will know of places in the lagoons where trees shade the water.

What do you wear to a bioluminescence tour?

For the best experience on your bioluminescence tour, consider wearing light and breathable clothing with long sleeves.

This will protect you from the sun (if your tour starts in the daytime or is a full-day tour) and from insect bites. If your tour includes walking or horseback riding, wear close-toed shoes with sturdy soles.

For the boat ride, wear a bathing suit and sandals or water shoes. Take along a towel, this water bottle, and snacks.

It can also be helpful to take along a waterproof camera or phone case, a waterproof flashlight, insect repellant, and cash for tips.

🧳 Not sure what to pack for Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico? Check out this guide to Packing for Mexico, and for outfit inspiration, head to Cute Outfits for Mexico.

Is it safe to swim in the Manialtepec Lagoon?

Many people swim during bioluminescent tours in Manialtepec Lagoon. However, there have been crocodile sightings in this lagoon so be careful when swimming.

bird flying over Manialtepec Lagoon
Laguna Manialtepec Lagoon in Oaxaca. (Photo: Jaumahell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

If you Google “crocodile bioluminescence Puerto Escondido Reddit” or “bioluminescence Puerto Escondido crocodile,” you’ll come across the story of two British women who were attacked by crocodiles while swimming in a river connected to Manialtepec Lagoon.

As there are crocodiles, fish and other wildlife that live in and near the lagoon, make sure you exercise caution. Specifically, make sure to ask your guide about crocodiles before swimming.

🦺 It’s also advisable to wear a life jacket, even if you are a strong swimmer, and do not ingest the fluorescent plankton. For this, make sure to keep your mouth closed while swimming.

Can you see the bioluminescent bay without a tour?

Yes — You can see the bioluminescent bay in Puerto Escondido without a tour. However, it is advisable to go with a certified tour operator on a tour.

Joining a guided tour like this one offers numerous advantages, such as expert knowledge about the best viewing spots, safe and convenient transportation, and assistance navigating the lagoon.

Furthermore, experienced guides can provide valuable insights into the natural phenomenon, enhancing your overall experience. With an inexpensive per person cost, these tours won’t break the bank.

Ultimately, a tour ensures a more enjoyable and memorable adventure in the bioluminescent bay.

Final Thoughts: Best Puerto Escondido Bioluminescence Tours

As you can see, there are many wonderful tours available to get you out on the waters of Puerto Escondido’s bioluminescent lagoons.

Still not sure which one to pick? Our #1 choice is this Bioluminescent Lagoon Boat Ride and Swim, which is rated 4.5 out of 5 Starsthe highest rating we’ve seen!

Do you want a quick there-and-back adventure? The chance to birdwatch, visit tiny islands in a nature reserve, and snorkel? Would you enjoy a romantic sunset horseback ride followed by a swim in shimmering water?

No matter what your preferences are, you’re sure to find an incredible option on this list of the best Puerto Escondido bioluminescence tours available.

Oaxaca Travel Planning Guide

Should I buy Mexico travel insurance for Oaxaca?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)

Can you drink the water in Oaxaca?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Oaxaca. (Read more)

Is it safe to rent a car in Oaxaca?

Yes — Renting a car in Oaxaca is one of the best ways to see the state. I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks international companies and local Oaxaca companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)

Will my phone work in Oaxaca?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of all Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)

What’s the best way to book places to stay in Oaxaca?

For Oaxaca hotels, Booking.com is the best site. If you’re considering a Oaxaca Airbnb, also check VRBO, which is often cheaper than Airbnb. For the best Oaxaca hostels, use HostelWorld.

What do I pack for Oaxaca?

Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

What’s the best site to buy Oaxaca flights?

For finding cheap Oaxaca flights, I recommend booking through Skyscanner.

Do I need a visa for Oaxaca?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but you can check here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa.

The vast majority of travelers will receive a a passport stamp, or 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa upon arrival.