The majestic Enchanted River is located in municipality of Hinatuan in the province of Surigao del Sur. If you are planning to visit Enchanted River, unfortunately, there is no airport in Surigao del Sur. However, Enchanted River is accessible via Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City or Butuan City airport. Geographically, the Bancasi airport in Butuan is the nearest airport to Enchanted River.
How to get to Enchanted River from Manila
1. Manila City to Butuan City
The fastest route to Enchanted River is via Butuan Airport. Book a flight from Manila to Butuan. The Philippine based budget airline Cebu Pacific has 3 flights daily from Manila to Butuan. Alternatively, you may also book your Butuan flight via Philippine Airlines. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Tip: Book the earliest flight to Butuan so that you’ll arrive in Hinatuan on or before noon time.
2. Butuan City to Hinatuan (Surigao del Sur)
Once you arrive in Butuan’s Bancasi Airport, you may ride a bus or van to Hinatuan terminal.
By bus – From Bancasi airport, just locate the multicabs in the area and tell the driver that you are going to Butuan bus terminal. Fare is 10 Php per person. In Butuan terminal, ride a bus (Bachelor bus lines) bound to Bislig. Just tell the driver to drop you off the Hinatuan terminal. Bus fare is approximately 200 Php and travel time is 5 to 7 hours.
By van – Walk few meters from the Bancasi airport’s departure area and you will find vans bound to several municipalities and cities. Just look for the van headed to Bislig or ask the driver if the van is passing through Hinatuan Terminal. Fare is 350 Php and travel time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.
Since I didn’t want to waste time, I decided to ride a van instead of a bus. I soon later regretted it as the van had numerous stopovers, just like the buses. I also learned from the owner of Marky’s Hostel, the accommodation where I stayed during my Hinatuan visit, that vans do not provide accident insurance to its passengers unlike with buses.
Tip: If you are on a budget and after security and safety, ride a bus going to Hinatuan. Note though that most of the buses are non-airconditioned.
3. Hinatuan Terminal to Enchanted River
In Hinatuan terminal, habal-habal drivers will approach you and offer their service to Enchanted River. A two-way trip from Hinatuan terminal to Enchanted River costs 300 Php good for 2 persons. Habal-habal travel time to Enchanted River from Hinatuan terminal is approximately 30 minutes.
Tip: You may also arrange Tinuy-an trip with your habal-habal driver for an additional price. In my case I paid 1,200 Pesos for Enchanted River and Tinuy-an falls trip. I was offered a cheaper rate than the standard tour rate which is 1,500 Pesos.
Enchanted River Entrance Fee + Other Fees
|Children 4 ft below||5 Php|
|Senior citizen / PWD||34 Php|
|Kubo (15 PAX)||200 Php|
|Nipa Hut (6 PAX)||150 Php|
|Umbrella (4 PAX)||150 Php|
Since I’m alone, I did not rent for a shed or a cottage. I just paid the 40 Php for the entrance fee including the environmental fee.
Enchanted River Operating Hours
Note that the river is open to the public daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM only.
Tip: Plan your visit on a weekday and during the morning. The area gets crowded during weekends and during noon time and afternoon.
Enchanted River Itinerary and Budget
|7:40 AM||Arrived in Bancasi airport|
|8:00 AM||Van left for Bislig||350 Php|
|11:30 AM||Arrived in Hinatuan|
|11:40 AM||Habal-habal to Marky's Hostel||10 Php|
|11:45 AM||Checked-in at Marky's Hostel||200 Php|
|12:15||brunch at Leng-Leng||55 Php|
|1:00 PM||Habal-habal to Enchanted River||300 Php|
|1:30 PM||Arrived in Enchanted River, paid entrance fee||40 Php|
|1:50 PM||Habal-habal to Tinuy-an falls||900 Php|
|3:05 PM||Arrived in Tinuy-an falls, paid entrance fee||50 Php|
|3:45 PM||Bought souvenirs, snacks||410 Php|
|4:10 PM||Habal-habal with a Manobo tribe member||150 Php|
|4:20 PM||Habal-habal back to Marky's hostel|
|5:30 PM||Arrived at Marky's Hostel|
|8:00 PM||Dinner at Drawde's Tudlo Hakop||90 Php|
|8:30 AM||breakfast at Leng-Leng||92 Php|
|10:30 PM||pedicab from Marky's Hostel to Hinatuan Terminal||5 Php (+15 Php tip)|
|10:35 AM||Arrived Hinatuan Terminal|
|12:23 PM||Bus to Butuan (I wated almost 2 hours for an airconditioned bus, sadly there was none so I ended up riding an ordinary bus)||197 Php|
Related Blog Post: Accommodation near Enchanted River Surigao – Marky’s Hostel
Other travel tips / Things to consider
- There are no ATMs in Hinatuan. Ensure to bring enough money before traveling for Enchanted River.
- You can do Enchanted River and Tinuy-an falls in one day. It is highly recommended to spend a night in Hinatuan to rest.
- The mobile and internet signal in Hinatuan proper are fairly decent but expect poor internet signal in Enchanted river and Tinuy-an falls.
- Habal-habal can only accommodate 2 persons. Hire multiple habal-habal if you are travelling in a group.
- Swimming is allowed on a certain part of the river. Local tourism has prohibited swimming in the deeper part (darker blue) of the river to ensure that fishes are protected.
- Do not wear sunblock if you are planning to swim in the river. Locals say that sunscreens can be toxic to the fishes and other sea creatures in the river.
- And, please include your habal-habal driver in your lunch or snacks. If you have spare money, give them tips. The tourism industry in Surigao del Sur is struggling since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.