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Enchanted River Surigao del Sur travel guide

Yes, the rumors are true. The Enchanted River is truly a breathtaking sight. The Enchanted River, also called the Hinatuan River, is testament to Mother Nature’s awesome glory. You can’t help but be at a loss for words when you see this majestic river that has crystal clear water and a riverbed that seems to be an abyss.

The truly enchanting Hinatuan River is located in Barangay Cambatong, Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines. It flows through Hinatuan Bay, which is about half a kilometer away. Interestingly, though, it’s not clear if the water at the Enchanted River comes from the sea or if it emanates from a spring. I wonder if there really is a definite answer.

Enchanted River is THIS gorgeous. No photo editing needed!

enchanted river surigao del sur

Due to the increasing number of Enchanted River visitors, the local government has placed huts, a mini function hall, tables and chairs, shower areas and has also offered life jackets for rent. You can also see uniformed LGU personnel around the resort. To also make sure that the river is protected and preserved, the local government has come up with a management team/council that will take care of it.

enchanted river surigao del sur

My family and I went on a weekend so as expected, there were lots of people. We managed to secure a picnic table with umbrella and a couple of chairs.

We ordered food from one of the stalls just a few meters away from the Enchanted River resort entrance. Locals sell cooked rice, fresh seafood and offer to cook them for you for a very minimal fee (usually Php 20 per kilogram – you can haggle). I recommend that you patronize these local vendors 🙂

enchanted river surigao del sur

My brothers and I know how to swim pretty well so we no longer rented life jackets. I still recommend that you rent one, though, especially if you can’t tread that long or if you’re a bit scared of the seemingly bottomless pit and of large fish.

Speaking of fish, feeding time for the fish at Enchanted River takes place at 12 noon. A bell will be rung, the “Hymn of Hinatuan” will be played and swimmers will be requested to alight from the water. Schools of fish will appear.

enchanted river surigao del sur

There’s a section where there’s shallow water (the shallowest part I swam in was a little above my knees). You can see a rope line with a buoyancy ball that marks the start of deep water. There are also lifeguards on duty. You just really have to be very careful when you swim at the deep area.

Swimming is only allowed up to 5 PM. After that, no one is allowed to go near the river. According to a legend, “ethereal beings” start to “take over” the Enchanted River. There’s even a story of a father and son who allegedly saw “two long haired, alabaster-skinned women bathing under the full moon” and then dissipated with a trail of fireflies. Whether the story is true or not, I guess we can all still agree that the Enchanted River is truly captivating.

enchanted river surigao del sur

Entrance fee is Php 30.00 per person (less than US $1). Huts, tents, tables and chairs are available for  rent. The picnic table with umbrella plus several chairs we were able to rent for Php 200. Life jacket rental is Php 15.00 per hour.

enchanted river surigao del sur

Since I only had goggles on, this was the only deepest that I could go. Will bring snorkeling gear next time! By the way, I wore aqua shoes. Very convenient!

enchanted river surigao del sur

This is me at the deepest part of the river 🙂 Used my GoPro Hero 3 black for this shot and all the other underwater shots in this post.

My family and I truly had an amazing time at the Enchanted River. Can’t wait to go back!

* Except for the first photo which is courtesy of LoveThisPic.com, the rest of the photos are taken and owned by Mindanaoan.com

How to get to Enchanted River in Surigao del Sur, Philippines:

My family and I rented a van. If you want to do the same, contact Happy Cool Runnings Renting a van is definitely a lot more expensive but there were 5 of us and my family always values convenience especially during long road trips.

From Manila, fly to Butuan or Surigao.

From Butuan, take the bus going to Bislig. However, please take note that you need to take the buses that have signboards with “Mangagoy” on them. Best if you tell the driver or conductor to drop you off at the Hinatuan Terminal. Travel time from Butuan to Bislig is 5 hours. From the Hinatuan Terminal, you can take the habal-habal (Php 200 for the entire motorcycle, round trip. Each habal-habal can take in two passengers max). If you’re lucky, there may be multicabs for rent as well.

WARNING: The road isn’t concreted yet so expect a really bumpy ride! From the crossing, it will still be a 12 kilometer ride towards the Enchanted River.

From Surigao’s Langihan Terminal, take either a bus or van heading to Mangagoy but make sure that you get dropped off only at Bislig.

From Davao, take a bus going to Bislig (again, take note that the bus has a “Mangagoy” signboard).

You may also want to contact the Hinatuan River Resort Management: 0920 259 5554

Next up: Tinuy-an Falls, the Philippines’ “Niagara Falls” 🙂 In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

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