The Luminous Lagoon

Photo By: Jamaica Hotel Review


Whether you are soaking up the sunshine on the white sand beach of the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay or taking a dip in the hotel’s inviting swimming pool it is easy to forget that Jamaica is a lot more than sea and sand. Many visitors are surprised to realize just how much there is to see and do on the island.


The Holiday Inn is conveniently located on the outskirts of Montego Bay allowing easy access to entertainment, shopping and restaurants in the city while serving as a great jump-off point to nature attractions further away along the north coast of the island and the interior.


One attraction that is considered a must-have experience is the luminous lagoon in the town of Falmouth situated only twenty minutes away by bus or car from the hotel. The lagoon is a fascinating phenomenon where its water glows at night when disturbed by any movement.


Jumping into the lagoon, swimming, throwing a stone into the water, powering a boat along the surface or simply running your hand through the water causes it to emit a blue glow in the immediate vicinity.


This is caused by millions of microorganisms known as dinoflagellates which thrive in the unique conditions afforded by the lagoon. It is said that there are only four such places on the face of the earth but Falmouth’s attraction is the most impressive.


But the experience of this adventure starts long before you get to the lagoon. The journey from the hotel is a very scenic one as it takes place along a beautiful piece of Jamaica’s coastline.


If you have the benefit of a tour guide there is so much to learn along the way. Your drive will take you past the historical Rose Hall Great House famous for the legend of the White Witch before you enter the parish of Trelawny of which the town of Falmouth is the capital.


As you cross into Trelawny you will pass another great house called Greenwood. Great houses were once the homes of the owners of sugar plantations located on their estates. They are rich in history.


Trelawny is also the birthplace of famous Jamaican athlete and Olympian, Usain Bolt. Your journey will take you past the high school he attended. You will drive over the Martha Brae river, famous for leisurely rafting on bamboo rafts, before you arrive in Falmouth.


The town of Falmouth itself is full of history. It was once a thriving port for the export of sugar in the heyday of the sugar industry. It’s Georgian design and architecture is still well-preserved. With the decline of the sugar plantations in the 19th century, the town’s economy contracted and so did its relevance. But in recent years, through the addition of a modern cruise ship port its future is looking much brighter.


Guests usually arrive for tours of the lagoon at dusk or just after dark as the glow is only visible at night. The guides on the boats are often lively, informed and entertaining sharing their knowledge of the area in a very fun way.


For those afraid of boats or deep water, there is not much to worry about. The lagoon is largely shallow throughout and in most places whenever you jump into the water it is shallow enough for you to stand.


Words can’t describe the thrill of the experience but the evidence can be seen by the absolute delight of the visitors who jump into the water or even the ones who hold back and only decide to watch. Even the oldest of adults display a childlike fascination each time they move around to create a luminescent blue aura.


The number of visitors from hotels both far and near is a testament to the immense popularity of this tour. A truly unique adventure, your visit to the luminous lagoon will not easily be forgotten and friends probably won’t believe you until they see the pictures. Offer up your photos as further proof of how much this amazing island has to offer.


What to bring on this tour:


  • Cash or credit card for the purchase of snacks, souvenirs and photographs
  • Insect repellant
  • Your swimwear which can be worn under your clothes
  • Water shoes

Photo By: Prips Jamaica