bucas grande to siargao itinerary
Image Credit: Philippinen Nachrichten

Bucas Grande to Siargao Itinerary: All The Top Things To Do In Just 4 Days

The islands of Bucas Grande and Siargao are two different slices of paradise in Surigao del Norte. The former promises enchantment while the latter promises vibrancy. It is common for travelers bound for Siargao to include a trip to Bucas Grande islands, but this can be tricky. If you want to avoid any travel mishaps, read on to see all the top tourist spots and things to do in each destination plus, a very doable four-day Bucas Grande to Siargao itinerary.

Days 1 to 2 – Bucas Grande Islands

Sohoton Bay

sohoton bay

Start off your tour with a boat ride around Sohoton Bay. Marvel at the unique islets that are covered in lush vegetation. Look below you and you can see vibrant reefs and submerged sandbars. See magnificent limestone cliffs that form protective walls around the bay. Bury your feet in the fine, white sand of untouched beaches that surround Sohoton Bay.

Stingless Jellyfish Sanctuary

stingless jellyfish sanctuary
Image Credit: @bucasgrandeisland via Instagram

Bucas Grande is popular for these gentle creatures. You can pay a visit to the sanctuary, but swimming in the water is not allowed as this is their home. If you want a close encounter, you can head to this little corner of Sohoton Bay known as Isla Noah. You will know you’re there once the boatman turns off his engine while you drift neatly into the small cove. The silence itself is so relaxing, and the clear waters will convince you to swim.

Crystal Cave and Bolitas Cave

crystal cave bolitas cave
Image Credit: @iloveastraboy via Instagram

While waiting for the tide to subside, you can do some spelunking first at the twin caves of Bucas Grande—Crystal Cave and Bolitas Cave.

Be amazed at Crystal Cave’s glistening stalactites, stalagmites, and columns, which are slowly carved by Mother Nature for millions of years. And if you’re looking for more adventure, crawl down to Bolitas Cave where you will find weird mushroom-shaped stalagmites and pellet-like stones. Bolitas is the Filipino term for pellets.

Tiktikan Lake

tiktikan lake
Image Credit: @socegirl via Instagram

Just a 15-minute boat ride from the caves is Tiktikan Lake, a hidden lake surrounded by forest-covered cliffs in the middle of an islet. Except for the small viewing deck and a few other structures, this lake is so isolated that it feels like it’s a place the world forgot. Grab a paddle banca that is docked nearby and paddle into tranquility.

Sohoton Cove

sohoton cove
Image Credit: @myo525 via Instagram

We know you’ve been waiting for this. The grandest attraction in Bucas Grande is the modest Sohoton Cove, a gigantic inland lagoon that is only accessible via a large cavern. The cavern, in turn, is only accessible during low tide. Enter into this quiet realm that could only be described as a fairy-tale land—tree-covered rocky islets, mysterious caves, odd rock formations, and the sound of birds and fruit bats echoing. The stillness gives a tranquil vibe that makes boating in here so relaxing.

Days 3 to 4 – Siargao

Cloud 9

cloud 9 siargao
Image Credit: @suolawesi via Instagram

Siargao is the country’s surfing paradise, and Cloud 9 is the heart of it. Uniquely formed undersea cliffs, reefs, and other geological formations cause the powerful waves on this side of the country. The waves are perfect for intermediate to advanced surfers, but if you’re a beginner, you can head to a spot called Little Pony. The surfing culture in General Luna is so awesome that even international celebrities have taken notice and tourists who have been here never wanna go back home.

Naked, Daku, and Guyam Islands

daku island siargao
Daku Island. Image Credit: @jmtaparra via Instagram

Many speak of Siargao for its surf scene, but Siargao is not just about surfing. Surrounding it are beautiful islands that could very well be considered some of the best sandy heavens in the world. There’s Naked Island, a pure-white sandbar that changes shape as the tide changes. There’s Daku Island where a small community of local fishermen gladly catch and cook some fresh seafood for you. And then, there’s Guyam Island, a gem in the middle of the blue. Rent a boat, and explore these islands as part of your surfing sojourn!

Magpupungko Beach And Tidal Pools

magpupungko beach and tidal pools
Image Credit: @surfistatravels via Instagram

An hour’s motorbike ride from General Luna is another amazing natural attraction that is only visible during low tide. The emerald-colored Magpupungko Tidal Pools in the municipality of Pilar look like infinity pools as the sea recedes. These are of varying depth and are teeming with unique marine flora and fauna that have specifically adapted to the unique environs of these pools.

How To Get There

cloud 9 siargao
Image Credit: @romeuy via Instagram

In this itinerary, we chose to fly to Siargao. Our first destination is the town of Socorro, where Bucas Grande is a part of. There are regular flights to Siargao from Manila and Cebu. Alternatively, you may also choose Surigao City or Butuan City as your starting point.

From Siargao airport, take a tricycle to Dapa port. Take a one-hour boat ride from Dapa to Socorro. Remember when we said that the trip can be tricky? That’s due to the limited boat schedules going to Socorro. The first trip usually sails at around 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and the last trip sails at around 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. The only way to be sure of this is to go to the port as early as you can!

When you return to Dapa port after your Bucas Grande trip, it’s already easy to get to General Luna. You can either ride a tricycle or a habal-habal.

Suggested Itinerary

You can always opt for chartered boat trips but those will most likely throw you off your budget, so if you want a time-efficient yet budget-friendly trip, you may follow the itinerary below.

Day 1

12:00 p.m. – Arrival in Siargao Airport, take a tricycle to Dapa
1:00 p.m. – Arrival at Dapa and lunch
3:00 p.m. – Boat ride to Socorro (Bucas Grande Islands)
5:00 p.m. – Arrival at Socorro and register at the tourism office
6:00 p.m. – Check-in, dinner, and free time
8:00 p.m. – Bedtime

Day 2

5:00 a.m. – Wake up
6:00 a.m. – Breakfast
7:30 a.m. – Meet guides and depart Socorro
8:15 a.m. – Sohoton Bay, Crystal Cave and Bolitas Cave, and Sohoton Cove National Park
3:00 p.m. – Depart Sohoton Bay for Socorro
3:30 p.m. – Arrival at Socorro
4:00 p.m. – Free time
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
8:00 p.m. – Bedtime

Day 3

5:00 a.m. – Wake up
6:00 a.m. – Depart Socorro to Dapa
8:00 a.m. – Arrival at Dapa, breakfast, get a tricycle to General Luna (GL)
9:30 a.m. – Arrival at GL, tricycle ride to Cloud 9
10:00 a.m. – Cloud 9, enjoy the waves!

Day 4

5:00 a.m. – Wake up
6:30 a.m. – Breakfast
7:00 a.m. – Meet with guide, start of island hopping
11:00 a.m. – Lunch at Daku Island
12:00 p.m. – Resume island hopping
1:00 p.m. – Return to GL
2:00 p.m. – Arrival at GL, ride motorcycle to Pilar
3:00 p.m. – Magpupungko Tide Pools
4:30 p.m. – Depart Magpupungko Tide Pools
5:30 p.m. – Arrival at Cloud 9
6:00 p.m. – Think of never going back home

Philihappy Pro Tips

Tip #1: Make sure you visit the Socorro tourism office before anything else because they will be the ones to book you a boat for your Sohoton Bay tour. Plus, they can help you find budget-friendly accommodations in town.

Tip #2: Aside from the fees for the Sohoton Bay tour, there will be additional fees for you to enter Sohoton Cove. However, you may opt not to go in the cove.

Tip #3: The easiest way to get around main Siargao island is via tricycle or habal-habal. The LGU has standard rates which you can check out at the tourism office.

Tip #4: Siargao has a lot of surfing instructors. They usually hang out at the beach or in their shops.

Tip #5: The best time to go surfing is from July to November, but you can score decent waves year round.

Tip #6: Bring cash. There are ATMs at Dapa, but sometimes they don’t work.

That seems to be a lot, right? With Bucas Grande’s fairy-tale-like attractions and Siargao’s incredible waves, for sure, you will thank us later. You might even find yourself wanting to stay longer!

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Gian is an avid traveler, adventurer, scuba diver, rock climber, mountaineer, and extreme sports enthusiast. He documents his sojourns in his travel adventure blog Adrenaline Roman...
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