Ortoire River in Trinidad and Tobago glows


Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this material to our attention.

One of Trinidad and Tobago’s rarest attractions, the eerie blue bioluminescence glow of the Ortoire River in Mayaro, on Trinidad’s southeast coast, occurs only for a few days every decade and then, just as suddenly it manifests, the phenomena is gone.

The glow, a beautiful blue, is said to be the result of the bloom of bioluminescent organisms in the river, for the thousands who have over the past month lined up to immerse themselves in its splendor, it is nothing short of a miracle.

To view the phenomena, travelers must follow the Cedar Grove Road, which starts near the Mafeking Bridge in South Trinidad, because the glow is only visible in a particular location and not the entire 30 miles of the river’s lazy, opaque flow.

Witnesses to the nocturnal show have described it as thousands of blinking points of pale blue lights in the water. Any disturbance on the water, from the splash of a swimmer and the flick of a fish tail to the lapping of the water against the muddy river bank, is cause for an explosion of luminous blue sparks.

For hundreds of years this phenomenon has remained secret, known only by the villagers who live near the river where it occurs. This year, the fleeting occurrence has attracted hundreds of incredulous locals and visitors to the site each night, many spending hours marveling at its beauty, leaving in daylight tired and humbled by the sight.


The Ortoire’s glow is attributed to light emitted as a result of a chemical reaction in single cell organisms called dinoflagellates (pryodinium bahamene), a type of plankton that have flourished along parts of the Ortoire as a result of a favorable mix of cold salt water flowing upriver from the sea during the high tide and the warmer fresh water from the interior.

Influenced by the intensity of the day’s sunlight, the luminescence of photosynthetic dinoflagellates occur as brief blue flashes. When the organisms are abundant billions of individual flashes yield brilliant results.

But even as visitors continue to make their way to Mayaro to witness the glowing river firsthand, the brightness is fading. Soon the bioluminescent dinoflagellates may dim to darkness and disappear for another decade; luckily it is only one of many amazing experiences on Trinidad’s south-east coast.

To learn more about experiencing Trinidad and Tobago’s rarest attraction or holidaying in Mayaro visit www.gotrinidadandtobago.com

Trinidad & Tobago is a member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP) .

For the original report go to http://www.eturbonews.com/45244/trinidad-and-tobago-s-rarest-attraction

See also http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/When-the-Ortoire-River-glows-253136441.html

One thought on “Ortoire River in Trinidad and Tobago glows

  1. HI Lisaparavisini!

    I hope that you send me some documents on the slave trades. Because this Island was a French Colony, when they have been sold to British Government by the Versailles treaties 24th of july 1784-86.

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