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

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

  1. halow good day…just want to ask if may tour package kayo good for 2 persons lang..punta sana kami jan dis april 9-10..need your reply tanx

  2. Could anybody tell me if it is suitable to visit from July to August? Is it a rainy season during those months? Typhoons? Thanks!

  3. Hi,
    Just dropping by, I like your blog so informative. But I would like to ask if it is possible to have a memorable trip from Davao City heading Bucas Grande Island going south to Britannia Island then next to Tinuy-an and Enchanted River then back to Davao in just three days? I am expecting a positive reply to my query, since we are planning to spent my vacation in Surigao this coming May.

    Hopeful,
    Tina

  4. Hi po me and my friends r planning to spent our holyweek vacation sa bucas island…can i ask po kung knino kmi pweding kmuntak for the boat as well as for the accomodation?were planning na mgstay sa mura lng po na matutulogan?!….i need ur reply po Asap…this is the best place to relax.
    Salamat po

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  6. Hiyee, If I’m traveling alone, is it possible to tour Bucas Grande inexpensively? I noticed kase na pang rich/group ung rates ung sa tour boat :( Any advise for me? Thanks!

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  8. Hi Lakwatsero,

    We’re planning to go to Bucas Grande next year, I would like to check if you know the bus schedule from Surigao City going to Claver (Hayanggabon Port). We plan to take the alternative route to Bucas as we will be arriving in Surigao City in the afternoon (from Manila). Also, I would like to ask where can I find the bus bound to Claver from Surigao City airport.

    Thanks!

    • hi karla,

      if may i answer your queries – you can take the bus from surigao city to tandag which leaves at regular intervals, just tell the driver you are dropping off at Hayanggabon. the bus terminal is just a stone’s throw from the airport. enjoy!

  9. Hello! Tanong ko lang po kung may schedule po ba yung boat from Hayanggabon Port to Bucas Grande or anytime pwede mag-hire ng boat? Salamt po.

    • hi iris,

      you can hire a boat, please reach the park’s tourist info number above.

  10. Hi! My wife and I are planning to go this September to Sohoton Cove. The thing is we only have technically 1 day to enjoy the place. Bale, side trip namin siya of my business trip in Surigao. Can you suggest an itinerary? Must do/visit in the area in such a short time?
    From Surigao City, I plan to drive Hanggayabon Port at around 5am. From there, I do not know what to do next. I plan to drive back home to Davao at around Lunch time.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance

  11. Sir me, my wife and 2 friends are going to travel to Butuan on Sept 19 to Sunday morning of Sept 22. I just would like to ask kung possible bang pagsabayin ang Bukas Grande + Sohoton Caves + Cloud 9 sa 3 nights/3 days? Tnx

      • Sir Salamat sa reply, Thanks in advance….more power

        Flight Details
        Manila to Butuan
        Thu 19 Sep 2013, 0745H – Thu 19 Sep 2013, 0915H

        Butuan to Manila
        Sun 22 Sep 2013, 0945H – Sun 22 Sep 2013, 1115H

        • Hi Don, the last trip of ferry from Surigao to Siargao leaves at 12 noon, travel time from Butuan to Surigao is around two hours. If everything is on time and smooth, well it is possible. But expect the unexpected… delays and waiting time, so I am afraid that you will going to miss the 12 noon ferry to Siargao. But you may still try though. I am thinking of this itinerary:

          PLAN A

          Day 1:
          - AM: Arrival in Butuan
          - Butuan to Surigao
          - PM: Surigao to Dapa (Siargao)
          - Cloud 9 / Magpupungko

          Day 2:
          - AM: Island Hopping in General Luna
          - PM: Dapa to Socorro (Bucas Grande)

          Day 3:
          - AM: Tour Sohoton Cave / Bucas Grande
          - PM: Bucas Grande / Soccoro to Surigao or Claver
          - Surigao to Butuan

          Day 4:
          - AM: Butuan to Manila

          The itinerary above is quite hectic, you cannot afford delays specially on day 1, And you have to be in Butuan on the night of the 21st. Another alternative, if you miss t6he boat to Siargao would be:

          PLAN B

          Day 1:
          - AM: Arrival in Butuan
          - Butuan to Surigao
          - PM: Surigao to Soccoro (Bucas Grande) 1230PM Boat (if you missed it, proceed by bus/van to Claver)
          - Claver to Bucas Grande
          - Tour Sohoton Cave / Bucas Grande (Stay in Bucas Grande)

          Day 2:
          - AM: Bucas Grande to Soccoro to Dapa (Siargao)
          - PM: Dapa to Socorro (Bucas Grande)
          - Cloud 9 / Magpupungko

          Day 3:
          - AM: Island Hopping in General Luna
          - PM: Dapa (Siargao) to Surigao
          - Surigao to Butuan

          Day 4:
          - AM: Butuan to Manila

          Whatever itinerary you create, just be flexible, expect the unexpected and be aware of the boat schedule :-)
          I hope you enjoy Siargao and Bucas Grande.

          • As always….Thank you for the 2nd time Sir Lakwatsero.

  12. Pwedi natin siyang gawin nga nature laboratory, ang pwedi lang pumunta doon ay mga researchers, students, teachers scientist, basta gagawa ng research hindi para e exploit ang lugar, gawin research ecotourism….

  13. we’re going there next week… any tips? transpo, hotel, guide, souvenir, food, etc?

  14. Hi…I would just to inquire if you could suggest a cheaper accommodation just for 1 night only. and also u mention in that there is municipal training center a dormitory type, do u have a contact number? Thanks
    Irene

  15. We’ll be there on June 21. Any tips you can share to us?

  16. we are planning to visit Bucas Grande this mid of april, question if we take the route surigao city bound to dapa what time yung boat going socorro? and how much? we will arrive surigao city port bt 4:00 AM ang first trip ba ng ferry is 4am going to dapa?

    • hi beige,

      boat schedule from surigao city to dapa pier ; 5:30am; 10:30am and 12:00 noon

    • hi beige
      regarding po sa boat trip schedule goig to our place from Dapa_Bucas Grande Island (Socorro)first trip is 6:30 am,second trip 8 am and last trip is 4 pm daily.

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