Bucas Grande, also known as Socorro, is a beautiful and remote island not far from Surigao City, which has many smaller islands surrounding it. These islands are all covered with thick jungles, full of exotic plants and animals. Secluded white beaches, hidden lagoons and caves, waterfalls and diving spots are found everywhere – creating one of the most special places to visit in the Philippines.
However, above all else stands Sohoton Cove – the most popular attraction in the area. It’s a natural maze of small islets and lagoons, which is only accessible during low tide. Trips to Sohoton never last more than 2-3 hours there, since you must leave while it’s still low tide. So, while spending a few nights in Socorro is never a bad idea, visiting Sohoton Cove is the most popular.
From Surigao City
- Take a flight to Surigao Airport, or take the night ferry from Cebu City. Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific have regular daily flights there from Manila and Cebu respectively.
- From the airport take a tricycle or taxi to Port 1. There’s a ferry going to Socorro Town, Bucas Grande once a day except Sundays, and it leaves around 11 AM. Travel time is 2 hours
- Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Hayanggabon Port. Overall travel time would be the same, but here there are boats all day long (11AM to 3PM) and they also work on Sundays. Hayanggabon Port also has boats going directly to Sohoton, so it’s a better choice for those looking for a day tour from Surigao.
- To reach Hayanggabon Port, you’ll need to go to the Central bus station and grab a bus or a jeepney headed to Hayanggabon Port in Claver municipality to the south of the city. Once there, travel time is around 1 hour.
From Siargao Island
- Take a tricycle or habal-habal to Dapa Port.
- There are 2 boats leaving each day, one at 7:30 AM and the other at 2:30 PM.
- Alternatively, you can just book the tour directly in General Luna and hire a boat to take you there and back. Either way, travel time is 1 hour.
Where to stay
If you are staying in Siargao, there is no shortage of hotels and resorts to choose from. They are mostly concentrated in the General Luna area, and you can find anything from cheap hostels to all-inclusive beach resorts. This area is also full of restaurants and bars you can have fun in, so it’s no doubt the best place to stay at. Here’s a full list of hotels in Siargao island.
You could also stay at Bucas Grande itself if you’d like, and have a truly romantic and private vacation. There aren’t many hotels to choose from, but the private beach resorts are quite cheap compared to other destinations in the Philippines. Cheaper hostels and inns can be found in Socorro town itself.
Day tour itinerary
To visit Sohoton Cove you must first register at the tourist center and hire an experienced local tour guide. Keep in mind that taking this tour from Surigao is cheaper than coming from Dapa by roughly P1000 per person. But still, since most people would be probably staying at Siargao Island, I’ll detail the itinerary accordingly.
As mentioned, you have to get to Sohoton Cove early for 2 reasons: 1) it can only be accessed during specific times and 2) there’s a lot to see and do there. Make sure you catch the 7:30 AM boat from Dapa, so you can be at the Sohoton tourist reception center at 8:30 AM and start your tour immediately.
Read more: 7D6N Surigao Itinerary & Travel Tips
You’ll begin by entering the area and the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful hidden lagoon awaiting you inside. Above, you can probably see some fruit bats flying, while below there’ll be stingless jellyfish floating in the calm waters. The whole place would surely take your breath away, as it exudes a sense of serenity and natural beauty.
You’ll spend at least 3 hours touring the whole area, which is full of natural pools of water you can swim in, as well as many caves to explore. Notable attractions include the Magkokoob cavern, which offers a truly exciting spelunking adventure with a 5m cliff jump back to the waters at its end, and the Hagukan Cave with its mysteriously glowing waters inside.
Then it’s time for lunch, which is usually provided by the tour operators. It includes a 3 meal buffet and free drinks. Once you are done with that it should already be around 1 PM and probably time to leave the Cove already. This will vary depending on tide patterns, so you might get more time to spend there.
Once you leave Sohoton, you will continue to visit the Bolitas, Tundan and Crystal caves. They each have its own unique charm, with Bolitas being the only one which is moderately challenging to explore due its tight interior. Tikitan Lake is just a short walking distance from Bolitas, so you’ll also get a chance to stop there if time permits. The lake is perfect for swimming and kayaking, with its calm waters surrounded by tall limestone cliffs and lush vegetation. There’s also a few huts there – a cafeteria if you fancy a snack, and some cottages where you can rest and even spend the night at.
Tour packages are also available, you may check them out here.
- Transportation: Dapa transportation back and forth P3500 (can be lower if you join a group)
- Fees: Environmental fee P50, entrance fee P50, docking fee P100 per boat
- Life vest and helmet rental P80
- Tour guide P350
- Boat to get into Sohoton Cove 500P
- Crystal Cave entrance fee P20, Bolitas P20 and Tikitan Lake P20
- Bring your own snorkeling gear.
- Be prepared for a long day in the sun. It’s handy to bring sunblock.
- You can haggle with the boatman in Dapa or General Luna to try and reduce the price.
- Prices will be lower if your with large group – you can also join one through a travel agency or a tour package.
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