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December 1, 2023

How to Swim with Bioluminescent Plankton in Costa Rica

Gently float among the tiny plankton as the swirling blues and green surround you.

By Samantha Coles

In the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, there’s a tropical fjord named Golfo Dulce (which translates to ‘Sweet Gulf’ in English). The gulf’s calm waters are a sanctum for wildlife — it was named a Mission Blue Hope Spot (places that are scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean) following the recognition of its unique biome and multitude of residents, from scalloped hammerheads and humpback whale to several species of dolphin.

Golfo Dulce is also home to much smaller residents — tiny plankton — who are the stars of this experience from Untold Story Travel. As part of a 10-day itinerary in Costa Rica, come nightfall you’ll board a skiff and cruise out to the middle of Golfo Dulce, far away from any light pollution.

[See also: Inside Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica]

When there’s movement in the water, the plankton has unique properties that cause it to transform into luminous energy by synthesizing chemical molecules. The result is an ethereal neon glow that is pretty magical to witness even from the boat, but you’ll do one better and swim among the glowing lights.

Gently float among the tiny plankton as the swirling blues and green surround you, or don a mask to see the underwater kingdom glow with bioluminescence.

From $30,000 per person. Contact Mark Allvey, co-founder,, +44 207 523 5858,

[See also: Costa Rican Property is a Tropical Palazzo at $16m]

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This article appears in the 30 Nov 2023 issue of the New Statesman, Winter 2023/24

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