Woman travels to Insta-famous pink sea only to discover what it actually looks like

As Instagram continues to shape our travel dreams with its glossy images of picture-perfect destinations, the reality behind these viral spots often fails to match up to the expectations set by their online portrayals. Travelers are increasingly voicing their dissatisfaction, revealing the stark difference between the Insta-glam and the actual experience. Among them is one woman whose hopes for the perfect photo op turned to disappointment.

Royal Williams, the face behind the travel page Yup! She Travels, recently shared her experience of visiting a famed beach near Cartagena, Colombia, known widely on social media as the ‘pink beach’. She documented her visit in a TikTok video that has captured the attention of her followers.

Her first visit to the beach was in 2019, where she found the beach as pink as advertised, capturing a stunning photograph of the rosy waters. However, when she returned in 2021, the beach had lost its distinctive pink hue, leaving her with just a regular-colored shoreline.

In her 13-second clip, captioned “That one time in Colombia”, Royal contrasts her experiences, sparking a flurry of reactions from her audience. Some viewers were shocked that the two images depicted the same location, while others speculated about the possible causes of the change, including global warming.

A local travel website, Cartagena Explorer, provides insight into why the beach normally appears pink. According to the site, the unique coloration is due to a combination of the high salt content in the water and the presence of a specific type of micro-algae that flourishes in such salty conditions.

The distinct pink color of the sea is further amplified by bright sunlight, combining natural elements into a stunning visual phenomenon when conditions are right. Many of Royal’s followers attempted to rationalize the drastic change in color, wondering if it was influenced by the time of year. However, Royal clarified that both visits were made at the same time of year, just two years apart.

The debate in the comments section of Royal’s video reflects a broader discussion on the impact of environmental changes and tourism on natural wonders. As more travelers seek out these Instagram-worthy spots, the stories of disappointment like Royal’s serve as a poignant reminder of the often fleeting nature of such natural phenomena and the impact of our expectations on our travel experiences.