ZAMBOANGA CITY TOURIST SPOTS: The Pink Beach of Sta. Cruz Island (with Boat Fares and How to Get There)

The Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

Looking for the Pink Beach in Zamboanga City? You've come to the right place! This detailed DIY travel guide is exactly what you need.

The Philippines, as an archipelago is composed of more than 7,000 islands and has one of the longest coastlines in the world. With that, we are blessed with some many lovely and pristine beaches just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. One of them is the pink sand beach of Sta. Cruz Island in Zamboanga City.

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

When I heard about the pink sand beach of Sta. Cruz Island, I got curious and promised myself that one day, I'll be able to visit it.

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

In December of 2012, together with my blogger-friend Kuya Tupe, I was able to visit Las Islas de Sta. Cruz or popularly known as Great Sta. Cruz island. It is actually made up of 2 islands, the other one is the small Sta Cruz island which is a protected area and the public are restricted to visit it since it is being used as a military camp.

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

Situated along Basilan Strait, Sta. Cruz Island is located just off the coast of the bustling and highly-urbanized Zamboanga City. To get there, you'll have to take a motorized boat from Paseo del Mar. Travel time is about 15-20 minutes.

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

Upon arrival on the island, we didn't waste our time and explored the island. True to what I read on blogs, the beach is indeed gorgeous! The sand is fine with some crushed corals but feels soft and cool even under the midday sun. The waters were very inviting with its clear turquoise colors. I love it!

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

So, what makes the sand on Sta Cruz Island pink? It's because of the crushed red corals known as organ pipe corals that blend well with the white sand. It's not actually super pink, but it's still quite interesting to see a beach with white sand blended with hues of pink. We only have few pink sand beaches in the Philippines and I am so happy to visit and enjoy one of them.

Pink Sand Beach of Sta Cruz Island Zamboanga City

Fast forward to 2016...

Last February 22, I'm back in Zamboanga City thru the invitation of the Department of Tourism Region 9 (DOT IX) to cover the annual Zamboanga Bird Festival. One of the birding sites included in our itinerary is the lagoon on Sta. Cruz Island.

Zamboanga City Tourist Spots

So, after exploring the lagoon we proceeded to the white beach area where we were surprised to see a vinta. Yey!

Zamboanga City Tourist Spots

Of course, I won't let this moment pass, without riding the Vinta! Hehehe!

Zamboanga City Tourist Spots

Guests can also enjoy various activities such as snorkeling, swimming, diving, bird watching, boating or lagoon tour and cultural immersion in a small peace-loving Sama-Bangingi community.

I am so happy to be back on Sta. Cruz Island! It is also good to see some developments such as new cottages and a huge comfort room and shower area for the convenience of the guests visiting the island.

Zamboanga City Tourist Spots

Since the island is a protected area, there are no accommodations on the island and camping isn't allowed. The city government only built low impact structures and facilities and only allow low-impact activities to ensure that the natural environment within island remains pristine and habitable for different animal species.

Please note that there are no restaurants on the island, but you can bring your own food and drinks. There are also some locals selling fresh seafood and you may request them to cook it for you.

IMPORTANT: Always practice "leave no trace" principle. Always remember to "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time." Please bring all your trash back to the mainland.


As a progressive city, Zamboanga has a wide array of hotels and resorts that tourists and travelers can stay at. Whether it's a budget hotel, a pension house, or mid-range 3-star hotel, you can find a room that will fit your budget and needs.


Zamboanga City Tourist Spots

How to Get to Sta. Cruz Island

Trips to Sta. Cruz Island are available weekdays on chartered boat arrangements. During weekends visitors can join other groups going to the island to save on boat fare. If you wish to visit the island, you may go directly to the City Tourism Office in Paseo del Mar.

Entrance Fee: Php 100.00 per person
Terminal Fee: Php 5.00 per person

Boat Fees: - Php 1,000.00 (1-10 Passengers)

Note: The same rate applies in case there are less than 10 passengers. Additional Php 100.00 per person will be charged for a group exceeding 10 persons. If you are traveling alone or with a small group, you may wait for other passengers to share the boat fee.

Cottage Rentals:
Small (6 persons) - Php 100.00
Large (10 persons) - Php 200.00
Pavilion (15-30 persons) - Php 500.00

For inquires, you may call 0927-2835684.

READ MORE: Zamboanga Travel Blogs


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