January 11, 2024 | Miles Brucker

The Sea of Stars, Maldives


Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

Glowing beach The Lovers Passport

The beautiful tourist resorts on Vaadhoo island in the Maldives may have raving reviews, but the main attraction is actually the mesmerizing “Sea of Stars”.

This natural phenomenon creates a stunning display of glowing blue waters at night, often resembling tiny speckled stars throughout the beach.

This article explores what causes this spectacular night show, and uncovers the some of the Maldives best-kept secrets. 

If you're looking for a romantic vacation destination, this is it!

The Sea of Stars: Where is it?

BioluminescenceBored Panda

The Sea of Stars is located on the warm, tropical Vaadhoo Island, which is about 120 miles from the capital city, Malé.

Vaadhoo Island is relatively small, but it is known as one of the most beautiful inhabited islands in the Maldives as it boasts clean roads and white sandy beaches.

The local tourism industry is expected to thrive in the upcoming years.

The Sea of Stars: What is it?

Bioluminescence Visit Maldives

The Sea of Stars is a bioluminescent phenomenon on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives. The beach has earned its nickname due to the surreal appearance of the glowing waters at night.

When you walk along the shoreline at night, your footsteps leave behind a trail of bioluminescent footprints, creating a magical effect.

The Sea of Stars: What makes it glow?

Glowing planktonMaldives Exclusive

The glowing effect is caused by the bioluminescent plankton, specifically a species known as "dinoflagellates." These microorganisms release a blue glow when disturbed.

The glow acts as a defense mechanism. The glow is intended to startle or deter predators. While the glow may sometimes attract other sea creatures, it also lights up the waters for other aquatic life to see predators better.

The Sea of Stars: When can you see it?

glowing beachSamudra Maldives

The best time to witness the vibrancy of the Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island is during the darkest nights with little to no moonlight.

The glow cannot be seen in the daylight. Any sort of light, including natural occurring light from the sun and moon, will significantly dull the glowing effect.

The Sea of Stars: Do they glow all year long?

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No, unfortunately not. The planktons only live for a few months. Their lifespan is determined by their nourishment, as well as the weather. Water temperature also plays a key role.

The ideal time to see the Sea of Stars is during the dry season, which typically runs from April to November. This is often when the water is calmest and the sky is clearest.

The Sea of Stars: How long does the glow last?

glowing beachSamudra Maldives

The bioluminescence of the plankton typically only occurs when they are agitated. Once they start to glow, they continue to do so for about a couple of hours.

However, they will continue to glow if they continue to be disturbed.

The Sea of Stars: What is the best way to see them?

glowing beachSamudra Maldives

There are a few different ways to experience the Sea of Stars. You can swim, snorkel, walk through the sand, or—probably the best way—paddle through the water in a boat.

Since the plankton glow when they are disturbed, paddling through the waves will leave a trail of light behind you.

The Sea of Stars: Is it safe to swim?

glowing beachVisit Maldives

Not only is it safe to swim among the Sea of Stars, it is also one of the most exciting things to do on this beach. Some tourist activities even include night swims.

Many local Maldivians are superstitious about getting close to the plankton. But they actually only release cold light, which is harmless. More than 80% of that light will not produce any heat.

Therefore, there is no fear of being electrocuted or stung by the plankton on Vaadhoo Island.

The Sea of Stars: Respect & Protect

glowing beachVacation Maldives

The Sea of Stars is a delicate ecosystem. It is imperative that tourists do their part in protecting it. There are a few things you can do out of respect for the plankton.

First and foremost, avoid using products containing chemicals that could harm the plankton. This includes: sunscreen, bug spray, lotions and oils. 

The Sea of Stars: Respect & Protect Cont'd

glowing beachSamudra Maldives

Also, this may sound challenging but, try not to step on the plankton, this can damage them. Walk softly and slowly and respect their environment.

As well, it is encouraged that you practice, “leave no trace” while visiting the island—meaning whatever you bring along, take back with you. This ensures the health and safety of the plankton, as well as other marine life.

The Sea of Stars: Is there anywhere else like it?

glowing beachSamudra Maldives

Actually, yes. Although this naturally occurring phenomenon is most commonly seen on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives, it can also be seen in other parts of the world, like the Caribbean, the Philippines, and Australia.

The bioluminescence occurs in fireflies, jellyfish, and even some fish.

Vaadhoo Island: Where to Stay

Resort in MaldivesVisit Maldives

There are several stunning resorts available to stay at on Vaadhoo Island, especially if you plan on seeing the Sea of Stars. 

Joali Maldives: a luxury resort offering overwater and beachfront villas. It's known for its exquisite design, art installations, and high-end amenities.

Faarufushi Maldives: an upscale resort known for its pristine beaches, overwater villas, and excellent dining options. It provides a serene and private atmosphere for guests.

Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa: This all-inclusive luxury resort offers a range of accommodations, including beach villas and overwater bungalows. It features various dining options and water sports activities.

Vaadhoo Island: Where to Stay

Maldives resortVisit Maldives

Furaveri Island Resort & Spa: a family-friendly resort with a beautiful beach, overwater villas, and a range of recreational activities, including a spa and water sports.

You & Me Maldives: An adult-only resort that offers overwater and beachfront villas, a variety of dining experiences, and a stunning sandbank for romantic picnics.

Robinson Club Maldives: known for its focus on water sports and diving, making it an excellent choice for enthusiasts. It offers comfortable accommodations and a range of activities.

Movenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives: This upscale resort features overwater villas, beachfront suites, and a variety of dining options. It's suitable for couples and families.

Final Thoughts

glowing beachSamudra Maldives

The Sea of Stars is a spectacular experience that every travel enthusiast should add to their bucket list.

Keep in mind, though, that the bioluminescent phenomenon is a natural occurrence, and its intensity can vary depending on environmental factors, so it's important to check with local experts or resorts for the best time to experience the Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island.


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