Pink sand beach of Great Santa Cruz Island may be one of the Philippines’ best island beaches destinations. The island, situated in Zamboanga City, is a 4,000-acre haven set by the edge of the famous pink coralline sands. Protected by the City Tourism Office of Zamboanga – the beach comprises of small and large oceanfront cottages scattered throughout lush tropical grounds framed by a stretch of uniquely beautiful rosy powder pink sands. For those desiring a relaxed and secluded beach holiday this semestral break– Pink sand beach of Great Santa Cruz Island is the ideal getaway. Enjoy a vivid marine life, ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling, snooze in the shade of some flowering trees or explore the unspoiled beauty of a nearby small community of Badjaos.
Pink? Yes, pink!
In its natural state, the island boasts having the only pink sand coast in the Philippines. The color of the sand comes from the crushed rare red and orange organ-pipe corals washed ashore from the sea floor and blended well with the white sand. If you walk along the beach on broad daylight, the sand shows its pinkest hue. The pink seashore competes with the clear, blue green shade of the sea – a total site of perfection.
Located in Basilan Strait, the humble island is about four kilometers or merely 10 to 20 minutes boat ride downtown city proper Paseo del Mar, Zamboanga City. The beach is available to tourists but only through an arrangement with the Philippine Tourist Authority. You can get to the island with a motorized vinta to and fro Paseo del Mar. The boats cost 800 to 1,000 pesos, with a capacity of 1 to 10 people. Upon arriving on the island, each guest is charged with an entrance fee of 20 pesos and a terminal fee of 5 pesos.
The island has been kept pristine and well-maintained. There are picnic tables and covered cottages that can be rented for a whole day. Rentals range from 100 to 500 pesos depending on the cottage size and capacity. But if you are on a limited budget, you can simply lay a picnic mat on the fine pink sand and find shade in one of the island’s flowering trees. There are also free bathroom facilities. There are no hotels in the island and camping is not allowed though. Hence, beach visits are limited to day trips.
What to Try, Do and Eat
Since beach visits are only for the day-trippers, you have to squeeze everything before sunset. Swim, sunbathe, snorkel and dive. Though a previous illegal coral reef mining has destroyed some of the island’s vast coral reef population, there are still a lot of surviving protected colorful corals to experience in excellent water visibility. Explore a nearby big mangrove laden lagoon and acquaint with a small Badjao village. Try their healthy island vegetables and delicious seafood. Don’t forget to buy souvenirs. And of course, explore the beauty of the sea and watch the sunset as you leave.