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)

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  3. Hi.. Me and my friends are really planning to visit the place as early as next month.. I just want to ask if how much is the fare from hayanggabon port in claver to bucas grande? thanks

    • hi . .only P100/head by passenger boat 12 noon (1st trip) and 4:00 pm (last trip). But when you are going to take this option u need to rent or hired again a small boat going to Sohoton reception center because that trip is only a regular trip going to our town Socorro.

        • No . . .unless u can negotiate to them.,for sure u need to contact small boat directly from bucas grande island or please call this no.09197871825.see u in Bucas Grande Island.thanks

      • san po mas maganda sumakay papuntang bucas grande galing butuan. ang dating po kasi namin ay mar 25 ng 10 am sa butuan. sa boat to socorro ung 12 noon and 4pm trip may in between trips po ba un or 2 lang? magkano naman po ang day tour sa bucas grande, sohoton cove,etc day tour for 4 pax anong oras naman po ang trip pabalik ng pier to claver kasi po babalik din kame pabislig sana ng march 26 ng hapon

  4. Is it safe to go there on february?for example the big waves…parang nkakatakot ata…?mkikipagsabayan sa alon,whew! But i like this place…

    • hi..mam Rhej, Yup safety yan . . as long as no storm signal at that time. .for your concern and inquiry regarding our place u can call this no . .+639197871825, I can help u..

  5. Hello!
    Is the contact number indicated below updated? Because it can’t be reached. Would you happen to know an alternative contact? Thanks in advance for your response! :)
    “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”

    • hi kajd,

      the above phone is working right, i reached mr. dodo yesterday i think. please check again.

  6. hello po we are planning to visit bucas grande island po, from surigao del sur and itinerary… may ferry boat po bang papuntang socorro galing sa Surigao del sur or sa may tandag city ? kung meron po , what time po ang time schedule.. baka mga 15 kami pax kami. hoping to hear from you.

    • hi gen,

      there is no regular trip from tandag city or any surigao del sur towns, unless you hire the whole boat. the best recommended way to visit bucas grande is through port hayaggabon in claver.

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  8. thanks for the informative site.. but i still have more to ask. would you be so kind to inform us of the boat timings from Hayanggabong Port, Claver to Socorro and back and the Boat from Dapa to Surigao City.

    Thanks much!

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  10. Your blog is such a great help. Complete information! THANKS…

  11. thanks for the wonderful picture..i think im gonna survey this place and experience the beauty of nature…

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  13. Hi! Me and my family will be going to Butuan/Surigao/Bislig this Jan 25-28, and I am planning our trip.

    I would like to inquire on the schedule of boat rides, ferry rides, bus rides to Port Socorro, Surigao City, Butuan, and Bislig.
    May I know the contact numbers of the prominent transport guides/hotels who can help?

    Thanks!

  14. hello,
    My friend suggested this place so me and my family (a total of 12) are planning to visit Sohoton this Dec. Not sure if this place is ok for us as we have a 6-month old baby and 7yo and 2 yo kids. Do you have any email address of Sohoton National Park info desk for packages? I would appreciate more info. Thank you

    • hello ms. mei,

      please reach mr. dodo hinzon of sohoton national park at 09394235793 for necessary info.

      enjoy your trip and be amazed of the secrets at sohoton! hope this is not yet late.

  15. hello Im very interest to go there early next year but the problem is that I have booked flight to butuan. what bus line should we go to and also what should be the placcard on what to go to. send reply to uy.alfredbrian@yahoo.com

    • hi alfred,

      from langihan bus terminal in butuan city, take bachelor tour bus for surigao city. at bad-as junction, take a van for hayanggabon port in claver.

  16. Hi,

    How much is your tour packages.

    What are the inclusion of these.

    Are the jelly fish is visible by August?

    Hope to have your reply.

    Thank you.

    • hi mamu,

      please reach sohoton national park info desk for packages. there is no assurance that the stingless jellyfish would still be available by august. last year by june, it has totally disappeared! i suggest to check it from the info desk before your trip. enjoy!

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