Enchanted River Surigao del Sur: Hinatuan’s Swimming Haven

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The clear waters of Enchanted River

Enchanted River is one of the main tourist attractions in Surigao del Sur. It is usually flocked by local tourists during the weekends and holidays. It’s a spring river that flows east to the Pacific Ocean. It also has an underwater cave system opening at 30 meters below the surface. It still has an unexplored area beyond the 82-meter depth. One of the major highlights of this landmark is it’s clear waters exposing the river’s depth and structure.


via Cagayan de Oro

  1. Book a flight to Laguindingan Airport. This is the main city airport of CDO located between the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have direct flights to Laguindingan from Manila and Cebu.
  2. From the airport, take a shuttle to CDO City Proper. We took the LAX Shuttle which has stops at Centrio Ayala Mall and Agora Integrated Bus Terminal. Drop off at Agora Eastbound Integrated Bus Terminal. Travel time is around an hour.
  3. From Agora Bus Terminal, ride a bus to Butuan City. Bachelor Express and Rural have hourly trips to Butuan. Drop off at Butuan City Integrated Bus terminal. Travel time is 5 hours.
  4. From Butuan, ride a Bachelor Express bus to Bislig. Ride a bus with signboard to Mangagoy. They use the signboard Mangagoy which is the commercial center of Bislig. Drop off at Hinatuan Integrated Bus Terminal.
  5. From Hinatuan Integrated Bus Terminal, Hire a habal-habal to bring you to Enchanted River. Travel time: 40 minutes.

We entered Mindanao via CDO as part of our 9-day Mindanao adventure to Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Butuan, CDO, Iligan and Camiguin. CDO is probably the farthest entry point. Other possible entry points are via Butuan City or via Tandag flights. You may fly in to Butuan instead of CDO to cut the 5-hour bus ride from CDO-Butuan. If you fly in from Tandag, ride a bus heading south to Barobo or San Francisco then ride a bus bound for Mangagoy, and go down in Hinatuan.


We did not stay the night in Hinatuan but there are available hotels and inns in the town proper. Most of the inns are for backpackers for as low as P200/head.


Enchanted River is one of our stops for our 9-day Mindanao adventure to explore Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, Butuan, CDO, Iligan and Camiguin. After exploring Aliwagwag falls of Davao Oriental (Read more: Aliwagwag Falls Davao Oriental: Most Beautiful Waterfall in the Philippines), Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig (Read more: Tinuy-an Falls Surigao del Sur: Niagara Falls of the Philippines) we dropped by this famous spring river in Hinatuan.

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Hinatuan Bus and Jeepney Terminal

Coming from Tinuy-an Falls, we rode a Butuan bound bus and went down at Hinatuan Bus Terminal. From there, we hired a habal-habal to bring us to Enchanted River. You may also go down at the crossing heading to Enchanted River.

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The road to the river

Once there, there are tables that you could rent. About a hundred meters outside from the entrance, there’s a line of carenderias where you could order food. You may ask the stores to bring the food inside . There are also shower rooms and comfort rooms inside the park. It’s not well maintained though. You may also rent life jackets and goggles. If you have children along with you, best to rent or bring life jackets for them. Life jackets are also advisable to people who are not practiced swimmers.

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Deep blue waters

Don’t forget to watch the fish feeding at 12nn-1pm; though based on our experience, this lasted for only 5 minutes. During fish feeding time, swimmers will be asked to leave the river. Stay on the steps to have a better view.

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Tourists during fish feeding. Yes! It gets crowded.
  • Transportation: Roundtrip habal-habal P300
  1. It’s best to visit Enchanted River early in the morning. Local tourists flock the place during the weekends and it gets REALLY crowded. So visiting early in the morning is ideal.
  2. Fish feeding is from 12nn – 1pm. Stay at the steps so you could have a good view of the fishes.
  3. Do not leave your valuables unattended. Make sure someone is looking after for belongings at all times.
  4. Signal is very weak in the area; only Smart has a quite decent signal.


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