Bermuda’s Pink Sand Beaches (Complete Guide)

by Rachel Sawden | Updated: July 8, 2019

Only a handful of pink sand beaches dot the coastlines of the world, and I’m lucky enough for my home to be one of these special places.

Aside from being infamous for making planes and ships disappear in its eponymous triangle, Bermuda is also known for its beautiful pink sand beaches.

Here are a few things about the famous, Bermuda pink sand.

First things, first…

How was Bermuda formed?

Nasa

Bermuda is one of the most isolated nations on earth and to answer the question of why pink sand, we’ll have to look into the past and the formation of the island.

More than thirty million years ago, magma pushed through a crack in the earth’s crust on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and formed a cluster of volcanic seamounts. With the movements of the plates that make up the earth’s crust, these clusters moved west and away from the hotspot that was feeding the active volcano.

Once the eruptions ceased, ocean waves eroded the volcanic island. Calcium carbonate sediments composed of the skeletal remains of marine animals accumulated on the atoll that would become Bermuda.

Two million years ago sea-levels dropped more than 65 feet in the ice age of the Pleistocene Epoch. With persistent shallow waters caused by an ice age, the peak of the atoll surfaced from the ocean. Now exposed to the air, permanent cays, shoals and sand dunes formed. Calcium carbonate in naturally acidic rainwater caused the sand dunes to be calcified into limestone rock. Vegetation formed on land, and the reef structures surrounding the island thrived.

Why is Bermuda’s sand pink?

pink sand beach bermuda
Andrew F. Kazmierski / ShutterStock

The island is encased by a dramatic coastline of limestone cliffs, secret coves, and sprawling pale-pink beaches.

The sand is pinkest at sunset and sunrise, and in the surf where the waves kiss the shore.

The sand further up the beach may not appear as pink, however, scoop a handful of sand, and you’ll find the flecks of pink sand jumbled with the white.

The pink flecks are the shells of tiny organisms that live in the reefs surrounding Bermuda that are called red foraminifera. They are neither plants nor animals but are single-celled organisms that are classified as protists. When the foraminifera dies, their red shells collect in the ocean and are washed ashore by the ebb and flow of the tides.

This isn’t the only way that sand is formed, however. Parrotfish are a protected species of fish as they hold the keys to the health of coral reefs. Possessing beak-like mouths, they scrape algae from reefs and rocks taking bits of coral and rock with it. These tiny fragments of rock and coral pass through the parrotfish and end up as sand on the beach…Try not to think of that when digging your toes in the sand!

Where are Bermuda’s Pink Sand Beaches?

Bermuda’s beaches are concentrated on Bermuda’s south shore, and to find the pinkest of Bermuda’s sand, head west to Warwick and Southampton.

bermuda pink sand
Alexander Sviridov / ShutterStock

Horseshoe Bay Bermuda’s most famous beach where thousands of tourists flock to each day in the summer months, but the quieter Warwick Long Bay, just east of Horseshoe Bay, is where you’ll find that the sand is a little more coarse, and therefore the flecks of pink shells are bigger.

Walking the trails between Warwick Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay is a must for any tourist. Here you’ll find hidden coves perfect for solitude and cliffs with stunning viewpoints that look out to Bermuda’s crystal-clear waters.

Bermuda’s most famous beach where thousands of tourists flock to each day in the summer months, but the quieter Warwick Long Bay, just east of Horseshoe Bay, is where you’ll find that the sand is a little more coarse, and therefore the flecks of pink shells are bigger.

bermuda beach with pink sand
Daniel Cassidy / ShutterStock

Walking the trails between Warwick Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay is a must for any tourist. Here you’ll find hidden coves perfect for solitude and cliffs with stunning viewpoints that look out to Bermuda’s crystal-clear waters.

Can you take pink sand from Bermuda?

It is perfectly legal to take the sand from the beach as a souvenir and you can purchase bottles of Bermuda sand in any souvenir shop.

Local artisans have incorporated Bermuda sand into their crafts, and one such jewelry designer, Alexandra Mosher, has grown her business from a market stall to a thriving flagship shop on the island’s capital’s most beautiful street, Front Street, with her beautiful creations that incorporated embedding pink sand sourced from the south shore beaches into silver.

Whether it is scooped up in a bottle, or encased in resin and strung on a necklace, Bermuda’s pink sand makes for the perfect memento or gift from this special little island.