Enchanted River

Hinatuan River, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines
Enchanted, a perfect adjective for this nature wonder. This is a famous attraction in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, best accessed via Davao City.  There are limited tour companies offering packages for group tours including hotel pick ups from Davao City.  Unfortunately, such tours are difficult to come by.  Nevertheless, that didn't stop Zepy of Travel Explore Beyond and I to personally see this magical place. 

Day Trip:  How to get there on your own?

We took a night bus at Ecoland Terminal leaving Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines at 2AM.  The bus trip Bislig City-bound is equivalent to 6 hours. There are also public vans available, but we long for bigger leg room. Expect bumpy masssage chair-like ride. It could get really cold inside the air-conditioned bus.  Sweaters, pashmina and blankets are badly required during this trip. 

Left to Right Clockwise:  The rocky path in Hinatuan, Coconut trees and landscape in Surigao del Sur, Peek of the River

We arrived in Bislig City at almost 8AM and we were approached by habal-habal drivers.  Habal-habal is the main transport, a moped motorcycle with extended seats behind the driver that could sit two persons sans helmets.  I can't imagine riding for hours behind a motorcycle on these rocky paths and cliffs so we rented a private van for ourselves instead at Php 4K (USD 311) which is rather expensive, but worth it. This van transport covers a full day trip to Hinatuan Enchanted River, Britannia Islets and Tinuy-an Falls driven by a local/tour guide,  including a drop off at the bus terminal in Bislig City.  

It's still quite a drive from Bislig City to Hinatuan.  At the Barangay Talisay town centre turn-off and highway junction heading towards the river, it's still roughly 12 kilometers of rough and deserted road.  Definitely non-touristic, away from civilization.

The Entrance Fee is Php 10 ( 25 Cents) per person. Parking fee at Php 20 (50 Cents).   It's better to get there in the morning.  The park closes at 5PM.   It is possible to swim through this and if you're adventurous, it is connected to  an underwater cave. The water was said to be 80 meters deep. Freely plunge into the abyss.

There are lots and lots of fish that heed the call of the bell at noon time. Bathers are requested to get out of the water for an hour as the groups of fish are fed.

{Note: My photos do not give justice to how azure and clear the water in this sink hole is.  I uploaded my photos straight to blogger after re-sizing and laying them out, I didn't edit the colors of the images.}

There are Island hopping Enchanted boat rides at the far end of the river park.  This lagoon opens out to the Pacific Ocean at Php 150 (USD$  4) per hour.  A trip to Sibadan fish cage, two quiet island resorts.

Boat ride to Hinatuan Bay
Another island whose name I forgot
Margaret Peak Island Resort
Maragerett Island: Drank a lot of coconut water
There is a hill that you can climb for a short hike up the mound at Margaret Peak Island Resort.  We had limited time so I chose to get drunk with coconuts instead pretending we're cast aways.

Much as I miss snow capped  winter Christmas and the cold desert season,
I'm celebrating a tropical Christmas season this year.

Have a lovely weekend!

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  1. That is incredibly beautiful! I can't believe how clear the water is. It's not hard to see why it's called, "Enchanted!"

  2. Arni that river is magnificent. There are so many wonderful places that you've seen on this trip. Happy travels xoxox

  3. Such a breathtaking place Arni, I wish I could be there getting drunk with the coconut with you instead of suffering the cold over Spain, besides you already know my soft-spot with water places---So jelous!
    Have a wonderful time in Philippines my dear.

  4. hi,

    do you have the contact# for the van?

    thank you :)

    1. Hello Star, the van we took was a random one at Bislig Bus Station. I recommend a tour package from this facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/ENCHANTED-RIVER-THE-HIDDEN-PARADISE/104328659615008?sk=info Contact numbers: 09194600855 and 09202595554
      They can even arrange fetching you at your hotel from Davao City.