Hinatuan, a sleepy town in Surigao del Sur in Mindanao has risen to fame because of Enchanted River. The area has been developed; picnic tables and cottages have been built and the once pristine river is now akin to a pool. Despite these changes, the deep blue basin remains majestic. Since the Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur is now flocked by tourists, to better appreciate its beauty, it is advisable to go there early in the morning to avoid the crowd especially during weekends and holidays.
HOW TO GO TO ENCHNANTED RIVER
HINATUAN, SURIGAO DEL SUR
FROM BUTUAN TO ENCHANTED RIVER
From Manila, you can fly to Butuan Airport (Bancasi Airport). Upon arriving at Butuan Airport, you can walk to the parking lot and board the passenger van to Mangagoy (Bislig). Take note that buses bound for Bislig have signboards showing Mangagoy and not Bislig. Mangagoy is the the commercial center of Bislig. Tell the driver to drop you off at Hinatuan Terminal. Fare is Php 200 + . Travel time is about 5-6 hours.
If you are coming from Butuan Airport and you need to go to Butuan (Agusan del Norte) first, get out of the airport and ride a multi-cab with an R4 signboard to take you to Butuan City center. Then go to Butuan Integrated Bus Terminal and look for a Bachelor Bus en route to Mangagoy (Bislig). Tell the conductor or driver that you are getting off at Hinatuan Terminal (the last bus stop before Bislig). Travel time is roughly 5 hours. Last trip is 5 P.M.
At Hinatuan Town, hire a habal-habal (motorcycle) to take you to Enchanted River. Usual rate is Php 100 per person (roundtrip). The motorcycle can accommodate up to 3 persons (no helmet so please be careful and hold tight). So if you are alone, expect to pay the rate of Php 300-Php400. Some drivers would usually add Php 100 for the waiting time. If you are traveling in a group, you can hire a multi-cab from Hinatuan town to Enchanted River.
From Davao City to Enchanted River Hinatuan:
At Ecoland Terminal ride a Bachelor bus bound for Mangagoy (Bislig) or San Franz. Travel time is roughly 5 hours. Then at Bislig, ride a bus to Hinatuan Terminal. At Hinatuan town, there are habal-habal (motorcycle) for hire. Usual rate is Php 100 per person (roundtrip). The motorcycle can accommodate up to 3 persons. So if you are alone, expect to pay the rate of Php 300 – Php400. Some drivers would usually add Php 100 for the waiting time
ENCHANTED RIVER FEES
Entrance fee : Php 30 per person
Life Jacket rental: Php 15 per hour
Picnic Table with Umbrella rental: Php 100
Boat for Island Hopping
Php 160 per hour ( maximum 4 persons) , the boats are located at the mouth of the river.
Hinatuan Island Hopping Destinations
Tinago River/ Islands – A group of pristine islets.
Pangasinan White Sand – A beach whit golden white shore with traces of Spanish burial caves.
Sibadan Fish Cage – Cultured fishes at the heart of the sea.
Margarett Island – Offers a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean
WHERE TO EAT AT ENCHANTED RIVER HINATUAN
Hinatuan is known for its seafood. A few meters away from the entrance of the Enchanted River, there are locals selling fresh seafood at affordable prices. For an extra fee of Php 60, they will cook it for you and deliver to your picnic tables.
WHERE TO STAY IN ENCHANTED RIVER, HINATUAN
There are no luxury hotels or resorts in Hinatuan but there are a handful of cheap hostels in town.
Contact #: 0928 439 7785
This is my recommended Enchanted River inn or hostel in Hinatuan because of its clean and affordable rooms and kind owner. Just ride a pedicab from Hinatuan Terminal to take you there. Fan room and air-conditioned rooms are available (see room rates below). You can buy fresh seafood in the market and the kind owner usually offers to have them cooked for you.
Marky’s Hostel Room Rates:
Double Deck; 2 persons with Electric Fan – Php 300
Single Bed; 2 persons with Electric Fan – Php 350
Air-conditioned Family Room – Php 850
Air-conditioned Double Deck; for 7 persons – Php 1225 /Php75 per person
Air-conditioned Double Deck; 6 persons – Php 900/Php 150 per person
Contact #: 0949 1352 783
KOA AND BEA’S HOMETEL
Brgy. Sto. Nino, Hinatuan
Contact#: 0929 979 8248 / 0923 970 9428 / 0906 669 8088
Room rates start at Php 225 per person.
MARYLAND LODGING HOUSE
Espana Street, Hinatuan
Contact#: 0907 868 9808
Room rates start at Php 300 per nigt, with wifi.
Sullano Compound, Brgy. Aquino
Contact#: 0910 619 5112
Room rates tsrat at Php 250 per night.
SIBADAN FISH CAGE
Contact#: 0927 393 6207 / 0946 563 4927 / 0916 929 1305
Room rates start at Php 300 per night.
ALSO READ: TINUY-AN FALLS, BISLIG TRAVEL GUIDE
ENCHANTED RIVER TRAVEL TIPS
⊗ If you have limited time, you can actually do Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig and Enchanted River in 1 day just start early in the morning.
⊗ Be there early as Enchanted River can get really crowded starting at 9:00 AM.
⊗ Avoid the weekends and holiday.
⊗ Catch the fish feeding at around 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. No one is allowed to swim in the river during this hour.
*Originally published July 2013. Updated 2016.
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