How to get to Enchanted River from Manila + Itinerary , Budget and Travel Tips

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 (Agusan del Sur)

Bancasi Airport, Butuan City (Agusan del Norte)

Bancasi Airport, Butuan City (Agusan del Norte)

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 (Agusan del Sur) to Hinatuan (Surigao del Sur)

Once you arrive in Butuan’s Bancasi Airport, you may ride a bus or van to Hinatuan terminal.

Butuan Bus Terminal

Butuan Bus 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

Hinatuan Terminal, Surigao del Sur

Hinatuan Terminal, Surigao del Sur

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.

Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

Enchanted River in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

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

Entrance Fee  
Adult40 Php
Children 4 ft below5 Php
Senior citizen / PWD34 Php
Sheds/Cottages
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

Time Expense
7:40 AMArrived in Bancasi airport
8:00 AMVan left for Bislig350 Php
11:30 AMArrived in Hinatuan
11:40 AMHabal-habal to Marky's Hostel10 Php
11:45 AMChecked-in at Marky's Hostel200 Php
12:15brunch at Leng-Leng55 Php
1:00 PMHabal-habal to Enchanted River300 Php
1:30 PMArrived in Enchanted River, paid entrance fee 40 Php
1:50 PMHabal-habal to Tinuy-an falls900 Php
3:05 PMArrived in Tinuy-an falls, paid entrance fee50 Php
3:45 PMBought souvenirs, snacks410 Php
4:10 PM Habal-habal with a Manobo tribe member150 Php
4:20 PMHabal-habal back to Marky's hostel
5:30 PMArrived at Marky's Hostel
8:00 PM Dinner at Drawde's Tudlo Hakop90 Php
Day 2
8:30 AMbreakfast at Leng-Leng92 Php
10:30 PMpedicab from Marky's Hostel to Hinatuan Terminal5 Php (+15 Php tip)
10:35 AMArrived Hinatuan Terminal
12:23 PMBus 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.

Comments

One Armed Wanderer

An IT Operations analyst by profession, Ed started solo traveling last year when his friends (who used to be his travel buddies) started settling down. Born with a short left arm, it did not hinder him to continue traveling and exploring the Philippines. He may have limitations but he is using what was given to him.. feet to walk and wander.

E-Mail: ed@edpuno.com
iMessage: ed@edpuno.com

2 Comments

  1. Hi, sir Ed. There are actually ATMs in Hinatuan if you visit the town center, which is a few kilometers away from the terminal. We have ATMS from Rural bank DBP, and I think Landbank as well – just ask the locals or the motorela/trisikad drivers for directions.

    Comment on: “There are no ATMs in Hinatuan. Ensure to bring enough money before traveling for Enchanted River.”

    Sightseer Pinay

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