When you think of going to the beach to spend a vacation, perhaps you picture yourself walking or sunbathing on a golden or white sand beach beneath a blue sky, enjoying the clear blue waves while green palm trees sway. But have you ever fantasized about beaches with other colors? Coastlines all around the world offer an array of colors – aside from the usual beige, sand can even be orange, green, purple, pink and even black hues. But here, we’ll focus on the pink and green ones, which are beautiful yet bizarre beaches that will make your holiday photos look edited, even though it has #nofilter. White sand beaches are nothing special next to these colored beauties.
What makes a beach pink? Most often, the pink hue of pink beaches come from foraminifera, a microscopic organism that has a reddish-pink shell. The sands at the beach contain these, corals, shells and calcium carbonate, producing the pink color.
Pink Sands Beach (Harbour Island, Bahamas)
All Caribbean islands are beautiful, but Harbor Island is the queen of them all. The Pink Sands Beach has a pretty stretch of sand with a sweet pink color of cotton candy and clear, turquoise waters. It’s a pristine, blush beach away from the tourist-filled island of Nassau, and it’s picture perfect! The gorgeous pastel hue comes from white corals mixed with the red shells of foraminifera. The pink sands stretches for about three miles on the Atlantic coast, so visitors won’t get bored. The crystal clear waters are open for swimming, snorkeling, diving, fishing and boating. The tropical surroundings of the island makes it a tranquil getaway.
Elafonisi Beach (Crete, Greece)
The Elafonisi Beach at Grece is the popular vacation beach for a family getaway. It’s famous for its beautiful, multicolored sand – in some areas it’s crisp white, and in some areas it’s rosy pink – and the natural preserve on the Elafonisi Island. The beach has warm and shallow, green-blue waters, making it safe for swimming with the kids. After you’re done swimming and taking in the great view of the beach, you can walk across the sandbar discover incredible rock formations, different plant species, unique shells and small coves. You can’t take home some of the gorgeous pink sands, though. If you’re into water sports, this beach also offers beach volleyball and rackets in the shallow waters, as well as wind surfing and kite surfing, as it combines the calm waters with the strong winds of the southwest Crete.
Horseshoe Bay Beach (Southampton, Bermuda)
Located along the southeast coast of Bermuda is the Horseshoe Bay. Though it’s hundreds of miles north from the Caribbean, its waters are delightfully azure, and its beach is glistening pink. It got its name from its curved stretch of sand against the blue Atlantic waters. The beach is known for its blush pink sand is tucked between astonishing natural limestone cliffs, and it’s surrounded by a plethora of fish species, coral reefs and other marine life. The water isn’t always safe for swimming, as you might encounter its sometimes-dangerous undertow, but it’s a fantastic location for snorkeling if you’re a really good swimmer. During peak season, there is a lifeguard on duty. If you snorkel, you will be amazed with the variety of colorful fish you’ll see like angel fish, parrot fish, snappers, wrasse, sergeant majors and more.
Pink Beach (Komodo, Indonesia)
If you’re planning a romantic getaway with your partner in Asia, the Pink Beach in Indonesia is an amazing destination. This pretty beach is located in the West of Flores Island and is part of the Komodo National Park. The pink hues of the beach contrast with the turquoise sea, and the blue skies makes an even more beautiful sunset. The waters are safe for swimming and snorkeling, which can allow you to see well-preserved coral reefs and thousands of fish species. It’s also home to the iconic Komodo dragon, so if you see one, it’s best to stay away.
Crane Beach (Union Hall, Barbados)
Crane Beach in Barbados was named as the Best Caribbean Beach in 2015 by USA Today. Located on the rugged east coast of Barbados, the beach is home to pink sands and boogieboard-ready waves. There’s a coral reef that acts as a natural barrier that makes it a safe swimming area. Originally, this beach was a harbor and it got its name after the cranes that lifted cargo from this once busy port. Nowadays, the area is quieter, making it a peaceful vacation spot. You can stay at the Crane Resort, the oldest and still operating hotels in the Caribbean (It is operating since 1887!). If you’re adventurous, you can also do some body surfing, or even cliff diving at the beach.
Green beaches are naturally strange. Seeing green at the beach is reserved for palm trees, plants and seaweeds, but there are beaches in the world with remarkable green sand shores. The green grains of the sand contain crystalline particles called olivine, which is a green silicate that’s not easily washed out to the sea. Olivine is not rare, but it’s rare to find them in such high concentrations enough to make sand or soil green. There are only four naturally green beaches around the world and here are they:
Papakolea Beach (Big Island, Hawaii)
Not far from the South Point on Hawaii’s Big Island is the majestic and secluded Papakolea Beach. This beach, which sits at the mouth of a bay on the tuff ring, has a deep green sand that is the result of a nearby cinder cone hill that eroded into the beach. The sand is rich in olivine, which was deposited to the sand by the Pu’u o Mahana cinder cone. Papakolea Beach can only be reached through a vigorous, 3-mile hike down. While on the way, you might be tempted to ask yourself if it’s worth the hike, but you’d be rewarded by the vibrant green sand. However, swimming here is not allowed as the waters are very turbulent.
Punta Cormorant (Floreana, Ecuador)
At the beautiful Galapagos Islands in Equador lies the Punta Cormorant, a beach that is radiantly green. The volcanic sites near the beach caused olivine crystals to find their way to the beach’s edge. The island is home to a number of endemic species that is found nowhere else on the planet. In a short walk at the beach, you can see white-cheeked pintail ducks, skinny-legged flamingos, and sea turtles. Once you play off in the surf, you can also see stingrays, golden cowrays and white-tipped reef sharks. The uniqueness of the beach plus the one-of-a-kind creatures you’ll see here makes this spot a particular favorite with tourists.
Talofofo Beach (Talofofo, Guam)
On the Pacific Island of Guam, you can visit the green sands at Talofofo Beach. However, visitors have noted that the olivine in the sand are only noticeable during ideal weather conditions, and often the green sand accumulates in deposits on darker and muddier sand. But if you happen to not find the green sands here, there’s still a silver lining. This beach is one of the best surfing spots in Guam because the waves break in the bay and doesn’t have shallow cliffs or coral reefs like the rest of the island. You can also enjoy the picturesque limestone cliffs surrounding the bay area.
Hornindalsvatnet (Hornindal, Norway)
This last location is unexpected, especially since it’s located in the cold north of Norway. But the Lake Hornindalsvatnet’s shores are one of the few places on earth where green sand can be found. This fjord lake contains green mineral deposits that feed the beach, creating a bright shade of green. Travelling here on winter is not ideal, but a visit during the summertime would be fun. You won’t even need sunscreen.