Travel Guide: Bucas Grande Islands / Sohoton Cove National Park (Socorro)

On the other side of the surfing haven Siargao lies the town of Socorro in Surigao del Norte, home to the Bucas Grande Islands also known as the Sohoton Cove National Park.

The group of islands is blessed with numerous caves, some still undiscovered, white sand beaches, waterfalls, mangroves, iron woods, inland lakes, vast fishing grounds, and wonderful corals that are ideal for snorkeling.

Bucas Grande

Be amazed with its most famous spot, the Sohoton Cove and Blue Lagoon,  a maze-like place consisting of limestone islets, where the only way in or out is the cave entrance that vanishes during high tide. Another must see is the Tojoman or Jellyfish Lagoon, home to millions of no-sting, friendly and playful jellyfishes.

With its unique seascape and landscape,  the place promises everyone a truly unforgettable, enchanting and extraordinary experience in this part of Mindanao. Visit Sohoton Cove National Park and be enchanted with its natural beauty.

Bucas Grande

The non-stinging Spotted or Lagoon Jelly (Mastigias papua) of Bucas Grande

How to Get There

By Air

From Surigao City

Surigao City, capital of Surigao del Norte is the main jump-off point to Bucas Grande Islands. Philippine Airlines, AirPhil Express and Cebu Pacific have daily flights from Manila to Surigao City Airport while  Cebu Pacific also has daily flight from Cebu.

From Surigao City, you can go directly to its port where motorized boats to Socorro dock and from Socorro hire another boat going to Bucas Grande. Alternatively, you may skip the main town of Socorro and head straight to Bucas Grande by catching a van (P120.00) or bus going to Claver, get off at the Hayanggabon Port and transfer to a boat going to Bucas Grande.

From Butuan

If you are coming from Butuan, catch a bus to Surigao City and get of at Bad-as junction, travel time is two hours and fare ranges from P145.00 to P180.00. From Bad-as junction, transfer to a van (P90.00) or bus going to Claver and get off at the Hayanggabon Port, then catch a boat going to Bucas Grande.

Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to Butuan City from Manila while  Cebu Pacific also has daily flight from Cebu.

From Siargao

From Dapa Port in Siargao, catch a ferry going to Socorro. There are ferries that leave in the morning and in the afternoon, fare is around P100.00. From Socorro hire another boat going to Bucas Grande.

Cebu Pacific flies from Cebu to Siargao.

By Land and Water

(Though Lakwatsero haven’t try these means of transportation yet, one can possibly reach Surigao City by bus and/or ferry rides from Manila. These alternatives are relatively cheaper than air travel though quite strenuous.)

  • Philtranco buses to Cagayan de Oro City pass through Surigao City for an approximately 42 hours travel time
  • SuperFerry (2Go) has ferries bound to Surigao City from Manila for around 30 hours travel time
  • From Cebu Cokaliong Shipping Lines has ferries to Surigao City, around 12 hours travel time
Cinnamon Island Bucas Grande

Cinnamon Island of Bucas Grande

Where to Stay

Budget travelers may opt to stay in these places that are managed by local people’s organization and cooperatives:

  • Cinnamon Island Cottage
    Managed by Strengthened Association of Volunteers for the Environment of Sohoton (SAVE Sohoton)
    Rate: P2,500/room per night with free breakfast (for 1-5 person); additional P500/person in excess of five
    Contact No: +639488205835 Roldan (Operations Manager)
  • Tiktikan Lake Cottage
    Managed by three people’s organization named TASG
    Rate: P150-200 per person (Open air cottage)
    Contact No: +639399047019 Dodo (Sohoton Tourism Operations Manager)
  • SIFAI Cottage
    Managed by Sohoton Integrated Farmers Association Incorporated
    Rate: P1,000/room per night (good for 3 persons)
    Contact No: +639399047019 Dodo (Sohoton Tourism Operations Manager)

Another alternative is to stay in Socorro town proper. The municipal training center have dorm type room with shared toilet and bath for as low P200/night per person.

For high end tourists, Club Tara Resort and Hidden Island Resort offer world class accommodation and amenities.

  • Hidden Island Resort
    Contact No: 09173282448
Bucas Grande

Sunset at Marka-a Island of Bucas Grande

Activities

    • Island hopping and boating
    • Tour in Sohoton Cove, a maze-like place consisting of limestone islets, where the only way in or out is the cave entrance passable only during low tide. Hagukan Cave, which can only be entered also during low tide is decorated with magnificent stalactites in its ceiling that become home to hundreds of bats.  Magkukuob Cave, another exciting spot inside the cove leads to a cliff, the best way out is to jump off this cliff.
    • Swim with millions of no-sting, friendly and playful jellyfish of Tojoman or Jellyfish Lagoon
    • Spelunking in Bolitas Cave, Crystal Cave and other caves in the area. Bolitas Cave is home to balinsasayaw, a rare bird that produces a very expensive bird’s nest that is a popular soup ingredient in Chinese restaurants
    • Trek and have a boat ride in Tiktikan Lake and twelve other lakes in the area
    • Dive or snorkel to see the magnificent corals in the area. The best snorkeling site is near Marka-a Island
    • See the waterfalls and giant mangroves
    • Go surfing in Siargao
    • Head south to Tinuy-an Falls and Brittania Group of Islands in Surigao del Sur
    • Camping
    • Kayaking
Bucas Grande

Huge Table Corals in the shallow waters of Bucas Grande

Tips

  • Sohoton National Park can be reached via three hours boat ride from Siargao. The best time of the year to go there is during summer where no-sting jellyfish are observed to be in the the area, although the guaranteed sightings of these jellyfish are during April to June.
  • Rate of island hopping tour of Bucas Grande Islands (including the transfer from Hayangabon Port in Claver or Socorro town proper) ranges from P1,500-P2,000 per day for a boat that can accommodate up to 10 or 15 passengers; P500-P1,000 for boat that can accommodate less than 10 passengers
  • You may contact the Sohoton Tourism Operations Manager Dodo at +639399047019 for boat reservations, booking on Titikan and SIFAI Cottage and other inquiries about Sohoton

*First publication: June 19, 2009

98 Comments on “Travel Guide: Bucas Grande Islands / Sohoton Cove National Park (Socorro)

  1. Visiting there is a truly fantastic experience. Aside for the Sohoton Cove you can also experience to ride in Zipline at Kapihan view park and any other beautiful spots.

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