One of the things you should not miss in Siargao is island hopping. You can do a 1-day island hopping tour of Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande and the 3 islands in Siargao: Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island.
Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande and the islands in Siargao are amazing. I love that there is so much green in Sohoton Cove — there were numerous lush islets surrounded by clear emerald water. And of course, island hopping in Siargao was enjoyable for me as I’m a certified beach lover.
Hali and I did this day tour as part of our Surigao del Sur/Surigao del Norte trip a while back. The tour is convenient because it covers the best islands in the province and it’s considerably cheap compared to visiting each spot separately.
From Dapa Port in Siargao, we rode on our tour boat for an hour before reaching the registration site for the Sohoton Cove tours. We paid the entrance and other miscellaneous fees and off we went.
Here’s our tour on Sohoton Cove in Bucas Grande and the tri-islands in Siargao.
Bucas Grande is an island in the eastern part of Surigao del Norte. It’s blessed with nature attractions including powdery-sand beaches, offshore islets, inland lakes and caves.
The best places to see in Bucas Grande are Sohoton Cove and Jellyfish Sanctuary.
Sohoton Cove is a maze of beautiful islets and caves. The only entrance is a low-hanging cave accessible only during low tide. It’s easy to get lost inside Sohoton Cove because there are a lot of pathways, so the tour guides have developed a marking system to find their way. A horseshoe-shaped rock formation marks the entrance and exit to Sohoton Cove.
We have two destinations in Sohoton Cove: Hagukan Cave and Magkukuob Cave.
Hagukan Cave is also called the “Snoring Cave”, referring to the sound of the waves crashing through the cavern’s roof. The entrance to the cave is submerged underwater, so you have to dive to get inside.
I wasn’t a good swimmer so the guides had to pull me inside. I held my breath for 6-7 seconds and my shorts almost got pulled down by the current LOL. Inside the cave, it was dark and the water glowed in a luminous green light. There are stalactites inside but we didn’t see it because of the darkness. There was nothing to hold onto except the cave walls, so we had to keep paddling to stay afloat. It was eerily beautiful and the experience is definitely one I won’t forget.
Our next stop is Magkukuob Cave. Inside, you need to wade in waist-deep water. There are mineral-encrusted stalactites and stalagmites adorning the cave interior. You then need to come outside to a cliff and then jump from a 5-meter-high diving board. This is how people get back to the boat. Sounds exciting? Hali thought so. I stayed in the boat and volunteered to take photos.
There are other spots in Sohoton Cove but currently these are the only ones open to the public.
The Jellyfish Sanctuary is one of the most known tourist spots in Bucas Grande because it’s home to stingless jellyfishes. Actually, a marine biologist explained that the jellyfishes still sting, but mildly that people can’t feel it. The sanctuary is formerly called Tujoman Lagoon since it was originally inhabited by sea urchans or “tujom”.
The best time to go is from March to July, which is the prime jellyfish season.
To get to the lagoon, we had to transfer to paddle boats that fit only 2 people. Each of us was accompanied by a local guide, so Hali and I were in separate boats. The view on the way to the lagoon was as grand as everything else in Sohoton Cove. We were surrounded by emerald water and undisturbed fauna.
We reached the lagoon and watched the jellyfishes swimming in the water. In the past, tourists were allowed to swim here but it has since been prohibited to protect the jellyfishes. We were still allowed to touch them whenever they float to the surface. I touched one and it felt like a gelatin, thick and soft.
Overall, I fell absolutely in love with Bucas Grande. To me, it’s one of the best places to visit in the Philippines.
Island hopping in Siargao
After a seafood lunch at the Sohoton Boat Terminal, we started the second part of our tour: island hopping in Siargao. Here we visited Naked Island, Daku Island and Guyam Island.
This is a small round-shaped island with literallly nothing but sand. There are no cottages, stores or trees. Because it’s located in the middle of the sea, the waves are strong all around the island.
Prepare your sunscreen, shades and hat.
“Daku” means big and Daku Island is the biggest one among the 3 islands. It also offers one of the best beaches in Siargao, with fine sand and turquoise water. The island is bigger than Naked Island and Guyam Island. There are stores where you can buy food and water.
Guyam Island is often the last island in the itinerary because it’s the closest to the mainland (about 15 minutes from General Luna). The island is dotted with coconut trees. There are restaurants where you can enjoy meals with a view. It has a tiny beach, and the surrounding area is rocky with small pools.
You can also snorkel in Guyam Island.
We spent the rest of our afternoon here in Guyam Island before going back to our accommodation in Siargao.
Personally, I find that there are better island hopping experiences elsewhere but the fact is Siargao is one of my favorite places in the country and everything about it is endearing to me. As such, this activity is also something that I would recommend.
Where to book Sohoton Cove and Siargao tours
You can do this tour DIY or you can book a joiner tour. Here are the current rates (Updated as of 2019).
This is ideal if you’re in a large group and you want to save costs. Look for a boat operator in Siargao and haggle prices as there are no standard rates for this itinerary.
- Island hopping to Bucas Grande and Siargao: around P4000-5000 (good up to 10)
- Entrance and miscellaneous fees: around P400-500 per person
You have to pay for your own breakfast and lunch. Usually, tourists stop for lunch at the Sohoton Boat Terminal.
Local travel agencies offer this tour for around P1500-1600 per person including lunch.
You can also book the Sohoton Cove and Siargao Tour via Klook.
Where to Stay
These are the best resorts in Bucas Grande:
- Club Tara Resort | Book discounted rooms here
If you want to support the local community in Bucas Grande, patronize the community-managed lodgings, such as:
- Cinnamon Island Cottage
- Tiktikan Lake Cottage
- SIFAI Cottage
Planning to stay in Siargao? Here’s our pick of the Best Resorts in Siargao.
Things to know before you go
- The tour normally starts at 6 or 7AM and ends at 5PM. As you will be traveling to two different locations (Bucas Grande and Siargao), manage your time well. Otherwise you might not complete all the tri-islands in Siargao.
- There are other places to see in Bucas Grande, including Isla Noah Lake, Tiktikan Lake, Lubogon Lagoon and various private resorts and beaches. If you want to visit these, you should book a whole tour dedicated to Bucas Grande.
- Locals believe that there are spirits in Sohoton Cove. Be respectful and act appropriately.
- Ask your guide if you can stop at Club Tara Resort for some IG-worthy snaps!
Here are some useful contact information for your Sohoton Cove (Bucas Grande) and Siargao tour:
- Soccoro Tourism Office (Sohoton Cove): Facebook
Has this post about Sohoton Cove and Siargao tour helped you? If you have any suggestions or questions, let us know in the comments section below!
What to read next:
Visiting Siargao soon? Check out the rest of our articles on Siargao:
- Siargao: Travel Guide and 5 Days Itinerary
- Island hopping in Siargao: Guyam, Daku, Naked Islands + Sohoton Cove
- Sugba Lagoon, Kawhagan Island and Pamomoan Island in Del Carmen, Siargao
- Best Resorts in Siargao
Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).