This year, why don’t bring some color to your holiday and include the incredible natural Pink Sand Beach of Santa Cruz Island in your vacation plans? Exotic and unique, this pink sand beach of the Asia’s Latin City- Zamboanga City is an extraordinary natural formations made of sand, crushed coral pieces and calcium carbonate that make this magnificent pink hue. If you haven’t visited yet this amazing natural wonder, maybe it’s time to include Pink Sand Beach of Santa Cruz Island on you bucket list!
Situated along Basilan Strait, the twin islands of Santa Cruz Island are located just off the coast of the bustling and highly-urbanized city of Zamboanga. The smaller one called Little Sta. Cruz is restricted to public for it is used as a military installation whereas the bigger island, called Sta. Cruz Grande, is accessible to public and the one known as the famous pink sand beach of Zamboanga.
Pink Sand Beach
Both big and small Santa Cruz Islands have been declared as environment protected areas and its coral reefs are currently undergoing rehabilitation.
The pink highlights in the sand come from crushed organ pipe corals (Tubipora musica) that, once blended with the other crushed white corals, look pink in broad daylight. It is highly likely to find the actual coral being washed ashore when walking along the beach.
Permission is required to get to the smaller Santa Cruz, being the base of the Philippine Navy. The Great Santa Cruz Island is less strict but still requires a guide and is slowly gaining popularity due to its unspoiled 2-kilometer pink sands.
Mangrove Forest Tour
It is recommended to visit the Great Santa Cruz Island during high tide as it allows you to take a tour around the mangrove forest. The island is pretty much like an atoll, or a lagoon island, where the in-lands are covered in swampland and mangrove forests while the outer rim is made up of pink sand.
A trip to the Great Santa Cruz Island is not just about feasting your senses on what nature has to offer; it also teaches us invaluable lessons on preservation and conservation. More importantly, the picturesque island also gives us a look into the colorful history and culture of our brother and sisters in the south.
Admiring the pink beach is not the only thing you can do in the Great Santa Cruz Island. The place is rich in history as it is home to Subanens, Badjaos, Tausugs and Yakans. The cemeteries and other areas can be explored in the island as long as a guide is around. Some documentation regarding this cemetery can be found at the National Museum.
Vintas, an icon of Mindanao’s rich history and culture, can be seen by the main beach. Vendors can also be found selling crafts and souvenirs as well as miniature vinta replicas to add to your collection.
If you’re based from Manila, Cebu, Davao and other places in Philippines that has a direct flight going to Zamboanga City, better book your flight already. If you want to travel with lesser spending, it is advisable to book your flight ahead of time or to avail travel promo fares of airline companies.
Trips to Sta. Cruz Island are available weekdays on chartered boat arrangements.
How to Get There:
From Paseo del Mar, hire a boat to the island. The packaged cost is P1,000 good for 10 visitors. An additional of P100 is required per excess visitor.
Entrance permit is P100 and terminal fee is P5.00.
Cottages are available from P100 to P200.
Note: If you are traveling alone, or with a small group, and you want to save an extra cash for the fee, you may wait for other passengers to share the boat fee.