Great Santa Cruz Island lies just a few kilometers off of the bottom of the Zamboanga Peninsular, below Zamboanga City, and is famed for its excellent scuba diving and its pink sand.

A once bustling tourist area, this beautiful part of the Philippines is now quiet owing to the guerilla ravaging in the region. Great Santa Cruz Island is still a protected area and visitors need to book through the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Zamboanga City for entry and boat transportation.

There are no real facilities on Great Santa Cruz Island or on Little Santa Cruz Island so bringing food is a must for an all-day stay. There are also no resorts on the island. You will find picnic facilities, however, along with a Muslim burial ground. The pink sand of Great Santa Cruz Island is the main draw, stretching for about five kilometers along its shores.

The scuba diving here features many varieties of coral reef and creatures and the crystal clear waters allows for unhindered underwater photography. Always check ahead of time on the condition of the sea and if any untoward guerilla activity is happening before visiting Great Santa Cruz Island.

Getting There & Away

Great Santa Cruz Island is accessible by boat from Zamboanga City and the Department of Tourism operates regular day-return sailings here. Zamboanga City has an airport and receives flights from all over the Philippines, including from Manila in about 90 minutes.