Zamboanga City: Day tour at Santa Cruz Island’s Pink Beach

It was my second day at Zamboanga City and had no prior reservations to Santa Cruz island, so I decided to wake up early and be present at the kiosk within Paseo del Mar for walk-in chance to get a day tour on the island, after a breakfast of satti at Jimmy’s Satti House.

I arrived before 7am here and saw some walk-ins waiting for others to form a group
Please abide the rules. Booking system is stated here clearly.
Php1000 is the boat fee good for 10 persons.  Entrance fee id Php20 per pax and Terminal fee is Php5 per pax. If you’re a solo traveller, look for other walk-ins (like I did) to form a group and share the boat expenses, as well as cottage. For inquiries (calls only), contact 09777083194 7am-5pm only. First-come-first-served is only applicable to chance passengers of the day.
A tourism coordinator will give you briefing on rules and regulations and will make you sign a manifest for passengers of the day. They assign codes for reserved and walk-in guests as we orderly take our boats to Santa Cruz island

Las Islas de Santa Cruz (Great and Little Santa Cruz Islands) are located 15 minutes away from mainland Zamboanga City. They are Zamboanga City’s banner tourist destination as well as a marine protected area so they limit the visitors per day (like Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River) to keep the place clean and safe for both humans and animals residing within. As a matter of fact, this pink-sand beach made it to the list of National Geographic’s 21 best beaches in the world!

We left Paseo del Mar past 7am after briefing by our friendly tour guide. The bigger Santa Cruz island is roughly 20 minutes away from city proper.
Selfie as joiner in a group of six.
You can already see the slightly pinkish beach. (n_n)
Bienvenidos aqui na La Isla de Santa Cruz Grande!

Welcome here at Greater Santa Cruz island!

Pinkish hue indeed!
What a lovely sight! The city government strictly implements regulations to preserve this pristine pink beach, as well as the nearby Little Santa Cruz island.
A view toward the eastern end of the beach
A view toward the western end of the beach
Official receipt with breakdown of Entrance Fee (Php20) and Terminal Fee (Php5) per person.
Day visitors such as Koreans who made their way to the pink beach island.
At high noon, our group decided to visit the Little Santa Cruz island in less than 10 minutes.
La Isla de Santa Cruz Pequeña
Our tour guide willingly took this shot, with couple at the background taking lovely shots. We only stayed for 15 minutes and swimming on its waters is strictly prohibited.
It means that you can only have photo opportunity within this time frame. Also, picking dead sea corals, sand and shells are forbidden.
Angel of corals installation by the beach. Our group paid Php200 but they didn’t let me chip-in. It’s OK with them. I really felt very grateful! Thanks po talaga!
Picture muna bago maligo!
At closer look, the crushed red organ pipe corals create the sand’s pink hue.
When you just wanna gaze at summer sun, sitting at pinkish sand by the beach, and see people taking their quality time. Me: solesearching (n_n)
Another look at the shore. Compared to beaches I’ve been (Boracay, Panglao and El Nido), here you can have the beach almost all yours, as in weekdays, only few (50 or less) people flock here. However, make sure to reserve for weekend as it gets FULLY BOOKED, meaning the cottages are in full capacity.
Vinta (locally known as lepa-lepa or sakayan) of Sama-Bajau (ethnic tribe scattered across the waters of Sulu archipelago and Zamboanga Peninsula) is a traditional boat from the Philippine island of Mindanao has a sail with assorted vertical colors that represents the colorful culture and history of the Muslim community. These boats are used for inter-island transport of people and goods. Zamboanga City is known for these vessels. I expected to ride one, but I found only a sail perched on a marker, so I took a selfie instead.
Sweet escape! Vamos!

Indeed, a must-do day tour when you’re in Zamboanga city. I brought some keychains and ref magnet made of shells from the locals before we head back to the city. I bid farewell to my groupmates and gave Php200. Though we’re 6 in the group, I didn’t take any change. It was my sign of gratitude for giving me lunch and taking me to their group. It was sudden but heartfelt. Until we meet again Zamboangueños. Muchisimas gracias! (n_n)

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