Have you ever collected sand after a beach vacation? If not, then keep a few empty jars aside for when you visit these beaches around the world that are known for their red, pink, orange, white, purple, black and even green coloured sands.
And if you are wondering what all the mystery behind these colours is, there’s a science behind it. Sand is actually made of uniform tiny rocks that originate from the surrounding landscape — rocks and mountains.
Some beaches, such as the coloured ones mentioned here, are covered with such minuscule rock particles, that have been washed down, from coloured rocks of mountains from hundreds of miles away. This is what lends a unique colour to these sandy beaches, many of which are even listed in the Guinness World Records.
Here’s a look at seven such unique beaches across the world.
PINK: Horseshoe Bay Beach, Bermuda
In a few regions, tropical coral reefs flourish offshore and pink sand beaches form. An amalgam of calcium-rich shells and fragments of invertebrate sea creatures, single-cell protozoa and spiny sea urchins make this Bermuda beach pink. Single-celled organisms with shells, called Homotrema Rubrum, are found both on the reefs and in the ocean sediments that surround Bermuda.
Their red pigment remains when they die and lend the pinkish tint to the beach here. The red gets mixed with other reef debris, snail shells and fragments of coral.
When washed ashore, they form the island’s signature pink sand. You will also see a variety of colourful fish like parrot fish, angel fish, wrasse, sergeant majors, snappers and more. However, the ocean here can swell quite high at times. So try snorkelling here only if you are a good swimmer.
GREEN: Papakolea beach, Southern Hawaii
It’s an experience of a lifetime to hold green sand in your hands. There are only two green sand beaches in the world. Papakolea Beach at the south point of Hawaii is one of them. It gets its distinctive colour from the mineral olivine crystals that are eroded from the seabed. Olivine is a mineral which is composed of the semi-precious stone, Peridot.
The beach is a semi-circle, formed by a volcanic eruption around 49,000 years ago. Located around 5km east of Ka Lae, known as South Point on the island of Hawaii, it’s surrounded by pasturelands and is only accessible by foot. On the Big Island of Hawaii, most visitors stay either in Kona (the nearest airport) area or up along the Kohala Coast on the island’s west side.
WHITE: Hyams Beach, Australia
White beaches are not unusual. There are some in India too, including a few in Goa and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But all these beaches are whitish, not white. Hyams Beach in Australia is listed as the whitest beach in the world in the Guinness World Records.
The sands here are composed of 99 per cent pure quartz. Because it is nearly pure quartz and fine in texture, it stays cool, no matter how hot the temperature gets. With incredibly clear blue water, the beach is over 2 km long and wide. Sometimes you’re likely to have the entire beach to yourself, with only a few wild kangaroos to give you company.
PURPLE: Big Sur Pfeiffer Beach, California
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is on California’s Central Coast, just 3.5km drive from Highway 1 to south of Big Sur Village. To get here, you must keep a sharp eye for Sycamore Canyon Road located just outside Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
At the end of Sycamore Canyon Road, you will find a nice parking area, restrooms and the beach only a quarter-mile down a beautiful path. The farther north you walk, the more colourful it gets — from light purple to a deep purplish hue — all thanks to the surrounding garnet deposits.
BLACK: Punalu’u beach park, Southern Hawaii
The jet black sand shore of Punalu’u beach in Hawaii will give you an unforgettable experience. Located on Puna district’s south shore, coconut palms fringe the upper edge of sand and you may also discover large Hawaiian Green Sea turtles, basking on the beach here. Do not touch these protected turtles as they are endangered species.
This quiet beach is a perfect spot for people who want to do nothing but spend some time doing nothing. There is also a freshwater fish pond at the far end of the beach!
RED: Kaihalulu, Hana Bay, Maui
Kaihalulu or the Red sand beach of Maui is probably the only red sand beach in the world. It’s a pocket beach, partially isolated from the ocean. The surrounding area is rich in iron, and sand is blood red. This provides a contrast with the blue water. The path to the beach is slippery due to the crumbling cinder and pine needles.
But the view of the red sand against the blue sea bracketed by green ironwood trees and a rocky lava sea wall is far more than picturesque. Swimming is not a good idea here because of its strong current and rocky surface. Going beyond the lava sea wall is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
Ramla Bay, Gozo on Maltese islands
Ramla is Gozo’s largest sandy bay. The beach here is of a deep orange colour. The bay is surrounded by countryside and nestles under steep terraced hills and the mythical Calypso’s Cave. A white statue of the Virgin Mary on the beach is its prime landmark and attraction. Even during peak summer months, there is always enough space on the beach. Swimming here is safe and the waters are clear and clean.