One of the 3 beaches with pink sands in The Philippines can be found in Grande Santa Cruz island, a few minutes pump boat ride off the coast of Zamboanga City in Mindanao.
The sand is pink due to a mixture of white sand and washed red corals concocted by mother nature. It pretty easy to reach the island from the coast of Zamboanga City. To reach Zamboanga City, you need to book a domestic flight in any of major international airports in Manila, Cebu or Davao.
Upon reaching Zamboanga City, flag down a tricycle and ask the tricycle driver to take you to Paseo Del Mar. Or you can flag a jeepney that is headed for the City Hall and walk from there. Zamboanga City is a small first class municipality and everything can be within walking distance.
In Paseo Del Mar, head for the booking kiosk located at the very end of the park. There is no sign board for the kiosk but your travel instinct will surely know where to lead your feet. Advance booking for boats that can take you to the island is available. You will need to complete 2 forms, listing your name, your contact number and how many are you in a group.
Come back on the day of your booking and get ready to enjoy a fun day at the pink beach.
The round trip ticket boat ride is priced at PHP1000.00. You can divide this cost among your group so the boat ride comes out cheaper. If you are travelling solo, like me, I told the tour organizer that I wanted to join other groups so that I could save on the boat ride cost. This is perfectly fine with them and they are really helpful in finding you a group that you can share the boat ride with.
I met awesome friends that day that made the trip more memorable. One of the perks of travelling solo.
Things to pack
If you’re a fuss free backpacker, there’s nothing much to pack except for your sunblock and water bottle. But if you are travelling with kids or with a large group, it can be fun to bring a picnic basket and enjoy lunch there. You can pack a volleyball or a frisbee too because there are some volleyball and frisbee nets in the island.
I had some chips, whole wheat bread and a slice of carrot cake with me when I visited. I also packed my books and travel journal for that spur of the moment writing anytime some crazy idea pops in my head.
Take note that bringing alcohol into the island is not allowed.
Things to do
Swim. Eat. Repeat. In any particular order.
You can spend the morning until early afternoon just lying on the sand with your books or just getting sunkissed.
In the island are some volleyball nets, frisbee nets, and barbecue pits for those large groups on a picnic. There are cottages in the island that you can rent for the day.
Amenities and Cost
There are available cottages for rent for the day. Pricing is based on the size of the cottage.
Small Cottage (3-6 persons) PHP100.00
Large Cottage (5-10 persons) PHP200.00
Pavillion (10 or more) PHP500.00
You can bring your own tent or picnic blanket and not rent a cottage instead. But there are no overnight camping allowed on the island. There is a shower and toilet facilities in the area but fresh water is not available. There are barbecue pit around that your group also use for your barbecue picnic.
Don’t forget to be a responsible tourist
The townsfolk of Zamboanga City is working very hard in preserving the beauty of Santa Cruz. Income generated from this tourist destination can help improve their lives. As such I would encourage to please be responsible for your garbage and respect the place.
There is short briefing conducted by the tour organizer before they release your group to visit the island. Please listen and follow all their instructions and respect their traditions and culture. Please support also the locals selling their handmade handicrafts in the island. These are the same people who help maintain this amazing destination.
Eco tourism is not the sole responsibility of the locals. It is built on respect between the visitor, the locals and nature. So enjoy your beach day, leave nothing on the island but your footprints, and take nothing but pictures.
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