Exotic, picturesque, colorful, unique, unimaginably beautiful! Why lay on white or tan when you can enjoy a pink sand beach? Around the world, each pink beach gets its color from a magical mix of foraminifera – tiny organisms with a reddish-pink shell – and/or coral with a red to pink color. Over time, erosion and wave action crush the coral and shells, and mix them with calcium carbonate to form sand. Some are pale pink; others are quite bright. As the sand moves up the beach through wave action, the sun fades it’s color. So look to the water line for the pinkest sand. How will you choose? Here’s the top ten across the globe:
#10 Elafonissi Beach, Crete, Greece
The shallow beaches separating Elafonissi Island from the main island of Crete, are part of the Nature park in which Caretta-Caretta turtles are protected. While there are no resorts at Elafonissi, there is a lifeguard, shaded dining areas, changing room with showers and restroom facilities. Elafonissi is accessible by car, or by bus or boat tours from Crete’s resort areas.
#9 Spiaggia Rosa, Budelli, Sardinia Italy
This tiny, remote island of Budelli off the northern coast of Sardinia has been closed to the public, but can be seen from the Spiaggia del Cavaliere, on a boat tour from La Maddalena Marine Park (a sanctuary for dolphins and whales). Only very basic accommodations in private rooms are available on Budelli.
#8 Komodo, Indonesia
Komodo is best known for it’s very large reptiles, but perhaps it should be known for it’s beautiful pink sand beach. Red coral provides the pink color as well as a backdrop for marine life. With excellent snorkeling, but limited infrastructure. Can be accessed by boat trip from nearby islands.
#7 Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda
Bermuda is known for it’s pink sand, especially on the southern shore. There are numerous resorts and hotels on Bermuda, and several cruise ships journey to Bermuda, as a sort of floating hotel, throughout the main season October through April. Most of the beaches on Bermuda are public, and free to visit from dawn to sunset. Public transportation is available to many of them.
#6 Great Santa Cruz Island, Phillippines
Just off shore from Zamboanga city, the island is inhabited by a small community of native Badjaos. It is open to the public but only by boat trip arranged through the City Tourism Office in Zamboanga. Unfortunately, illegal coral reef mining has destroyed most of the coral reef; the city is planning to improve the island for it’s preservation and rehabilitation. Armed police officers guard and assist travelers.
#5 Pink Beach of Barbuda
Part of Barbuda’s charm is that there is very little tourism on the island. This natural paradise is home to a large variety of wildlife. Generally, this would be accessible as a day trip from Antigua, though there are two small hotels and a few guest houses, one on the famous pink beach!
#4 Balos Bay, Crete, Greece
The wild, natural beauty of Balos Bay is offers protection for monk seals, sea turtles, and numerous ocean birds. Accessible by ferry, dirt road or a 3 hour hike from the nearby resort town of Kissamos. A primitive cafe offers water and minimal refreshment, as does the ferry.
#3 Tangsi Beach, Indonesia
A beautiful, remote, hidden beach on the island of Lombok, just east of Bali. The Pink Beach is accessible by several hours drive on a bumpy road. While there are no facilities on Tangsi Beach, there are a variety of hotels on the island, in Mataram.
#2 Pink Beach, Bonaire
The waters that surround Bonaire are known for their cleanliness and clarity. There are no services at Pink Beach, but this narrow strip of sand offers excellent snorkeling and scuba diving, and it’s a great picnic spot. You can’t stay on Pink Beach, but there are many hotels and resorts on Bonaire to choose from; beaches are accessible by car.
#1 Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Widely considered the most beautiful pink sand beach in the world, this remote beach offers hotels and restaurants along with it’s spectacular views. Outlying reefs provide calm, shallow waters, making snorkeling and swimming safe and easy. Stay at a resort on the pink beach, or on nearby Eleuthera. The beach can also be accessed as a day trip from Nassau by ferry.
Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain
Elbow Beach, Bermuda