Visiting the Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

clear blue water of the enchanted river of Hinatuan Surigao del Sur

Back in 2010, a friend of ours from Butuan City posted on Facebook some photos taken during his family's weekend trip to a certain place called the Enchanted River. What struck us  the most was the clear blue water of this river, something we found amazingly unusual. We were still new in travel blogging back then and most of our trips were concentrated in Luzon and Visayas. We promised ourselves that the Enchanted River would be number one on our list of destinations should we visit the Caraga region in the future.

We finally got the chance to realize this dream in November 2012. As promised, the Enchanted River, located in the town of Hinatuan in the province of Surigao del Sur, was the first item on our itinerary. From Butuan City, we travelled to Bislig City, which would be our base during our weekend trip around Surigao del Sur.

November 2 being a holiday, we anticipated that the site would become packed by tourists. So we got up early to make it at 7:00am at the Enchanted River. When we arrived, there were already few families busy setting up their rented cottages.

After taking a few photos, we joined the other visitors swimming at the side of the river. We were surprised to find out that the river has brackish water (mixture of fresh and salty water). The road leading to the river gives an illusion that the river is in the middle of the jungle. In contrary, the Enchanted River is located near the sea. It gets its fresh water supply from an underground spring which flows out to the sea, thus creating the river.

The saltiness of the water plus the river's calmness made it very ideal for swimming. For the first time, we were able to swim in deep water (95 feet) without having to wear life vests. If you are lucky, you will be able to spot some fishes swimming few meters below you.

We really had a fun and memorable experience at the Enchanted River. We wanted to stay a little longer to have some more swim and witness the feeding of the fishes at 12:00noon. But from the time we arrived, there has been a steady flow of visitors arriving, a sign that the Enchanted River is truly gaining popularity.

We felt mixed emotions as our habal-habal ride drives back to the town. On the one hand, we felt heavy hearted because we really want to spend more time and enjoy the river. On the other hand, we felt fulfilled because our dream to see and experience the Enchanted River finally came true.  

How to get there:

from Butuan City
There are domestic flights from Manila, Cebu and Davao to Butuan City. From Butuan City, you can either take a van (at the airport) or a Bachelor bus (at the bus terminal) bound for Mangagoy. Tell the driver/conductor to drop you off at the Hinatuan bus terminal. Travel time is 4-5 hours. (see below: *from Hinatuan Bus Terminal)

from Bislig City/Mangagoy
At the bus terminal, take a Bachelor bus bound for Butuan. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Hinatuan bus terminal. Travel time is about 30 minutes. (see below: *from Hinatuan Bus Terminal)

*from Hinatuan Bus Terminal
Take a habal-habal and tell the driver to bring you to the Enchanted River. We were charged a roundtrip rate of P100 per person (=P200) and we added another P200 as tip (the driver had to wait for us for three hours). Habal-habal ride to the Enchanted River takes 20 minutes per way.
How to get back

to Butuan City
From the Hinatuan bus terminal, take a Bachelor bus bound for Butuan. Travel time is 4-5 hours.

to Bislig City/Mangagoy
From the Hinatuan bus terminal, take a Bachelor bus bound for Mangagoy. Travel time is about 30 minutes..

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