For the 50+ Traveler

Remember being fascinated with all things glow-in-the-dark as a kid – and those sticky stars and puffy paint that were popular in the 1980s and ’90s?

For those of you still not-so-secretly fascinated by fireflies and other things that flicker in the night, there’s a beach in the Maldives that you absolutely have to see. It’s filled with glowing blue dots like a pool of floating fairy lights, and it’s amazing.

Come See The Sea Of Stars

The photos of this incredible beach, whose waters are known as the Sea of Stars, are almost completely unbelievable. In fact, the images feel like something someone concocted for the movies, depicting an otherworldly planet with strange aliens and dazzling creatures. But this place is as real as it gets.

Vaadhoo Island is a part of the Raa Atoll in the Maldives. It’s small in population, but thanks to the glorious glow of its now-famous beach, it has become a popular tourist destination within the island chain.

Bioluminescent particles in the Maldives.

This mesmerizing beach is covered in tiny microorganisms that are commonly mistaken for phytoplankton. The aquatic critters that account for the phenomenon are actually ostracod crustaceans that glow for seconds or even minutes at a time when they come into contact with the water’s surface, while phytoplankton only light up for less than a second.

The bioluminescent creatures use chemical energy that’s released as light. They contain a unique compound called luciferin, which, when exposed to oxygen, causes a chemical reaction that emits a beautiful glow.

Although the climate in the Maldives is temperate year-round, you’ll want to plan your visit between June and October to catch a glimpse of this incredible sight. When you arrive in Male, the capital of the Maldives, you’ll have access to speedboats and ferries that can take you to Vadhoo Island for this natural aquatic light show.

A bioluminescent beach in the Maldives.

But don’t just catch a ride to the island and wander on the beaches at night looking for the Sea of Stars. Instead, charter a boat or join a tour company that will take you out on the water where you’ll catch the best views.

These bioluminescent specks of light can be caught on camera, but your standard photography skills and the equipment that most casual tourists use won’t cut it. If you want to bring some really great shots of this incredible phenomenon home, be sure to study up a little on your photography and bring something better than your iPhone, which probably won’t be able to capture the glow.

Bioluminescent particles in the Maldives.

Other Glowing Beaches Around The World

Strange as it may seem, there are many other beaches like this around the world. Some of the most famous ones can be found in Puerto Rico at Puerto Mosquito and in Vietnam at Halong Bay. But there are even some in the United States in Washington State and New Jersey.

Want to see the Sea of Stars in person? Learn how to travel to the Maldives. Or witness bioluminescence closer to home by exploring Florida’s glowing waters in a see-through kayak.