Surigao Del Sur Travel Guide

Overview of Surigao Del Sur

Surigao Del Sur is situated on Mindanao's northeastern shore, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is about 50 kilometers wide at its widest point and 300 kilometers long. The province of Surigao del Norte borders it on the northwest, Davao Oriental on the southeast, the Pacific Ocean on the east, and the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur on the west and southwest. The province is separated from the rest of Mindanao to the northwest by the Diwata Mountain Range. Surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, this hidden gem offers a delightful mix of natural wonders and cultural treasures.

Explore the enchanting Hinatuan Enchanted River, where its crystal-clear blue waters captivate the senses and create a magical ambiance. Marvel at the Tinuy-an Falls, known as the "Little Niagara of the Philippines," as its majestic cascades create a captivating sight.

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental, is a special place filled with diverse plants and animals. In the Surigao del Sur part, travellers can find the famous Philippine eagle.

This protected area has different types of environments like forests and grasslands, making it a crucial spot for protecting nature. Travellers can go on walks to explore its unique landscapes and help keep this special place safe.

Surigao Del Sur is a haven for thrill-seekers with its exciting cave exploration, river tubing, and hiking opportunities. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the locals, immersing yourself in their rich heritage and traditions.

Where to Go

Enchanted River

A must-visit destination, the Enchanted River in Hinatuan is renowned for its clear blue waters. Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and witness the daily fish feeding sessions. The river is surrounded by lush greenery, creating a magical ambiance.

Tinuy-an Falls

Often referred to as the "Niagara Falls of the Philippines," Tinuy-an Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall located in Bislig. The cascading waters create a beautiful curtain-like effect, and the area is perfect for picnics and water activities.

Britannia Islands

Embark on an island-hopping adventure to the Britannia Islands in San Agustin. This group of islets boasts pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers and snorkelers.

Hinayagan Cave

Explore the fascinating underground world of Hinayagan Cave in Tagbina. This cave system features impressive stalactites and stalagmites, creating a captivating environment for spelunking enthusiasts.

Bislig Baywalk and Ocean View Park

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Bislig Baywalk and Ocean View Park, offering stunning views of the bay and the Pacific Ocean. It's an excellent spot for relaxation and taking in the coastal scenery.

Hagonoy Island

Visit Hagonoy Island in Tandag, known for its white sand beaches and turquoise waters. The island is a tranquil getaway with opportunities for swimming and beachcombing.

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary

While a part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Davao Oriental, the buffer zone extends to Surigao del Sur. It is home to various species of flora and fauna, including the iconic Philippine eagle.

Mabua Pebble Beach

Marvel at the unique beauty of Mabua Pebble Beach in Tandag, where instead of sand, the shore is covered in smooth pebbles. It's a great spot for a peaceful seaside walk.

Cagwait White Beach

Relax on the powdery white sands of Cagwait White Beach, often referred to as the "Boracay of Caraga." The beach is known for its long stretch of fine white sand and inviting azure waters.

What to Do

Explore Tinuy-an Falls

Visit Bislig to witness the stunning Tinuy-an Falls, often called the "Niagara Falls of the Philippines." Enjoy the scenic beauty and take a bamboo raft to get up close to the cascading waters.

Swim at Enchanted River

Head to Hinatuan to experience the magical Enchanted River. Enjoy swimming in its clear blue waters and witness the enchanting fish feeding activities. Snorkeling is also a popular activity here.

Island Hopping in Britannia Islands

Discover the beauty of Britannia Islands in San Agustin through island hopping. Enjoy white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. Snorkeling is a must to explore the underwater wonders.

Caving in Hinayagan Cave

If you're into adventure, explore Hinayagan Cave in Tagbina. Marvel at the cave's unique formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. It's a thrilling experience for spelunking enthusiasts.

Relax at Cagwait White Beach

Unwind at the powdery white sands of Cagwait White Beach. Known as the "Boracay of Caraga," it offers a serene environment for beach lovers.

Visit Mount Hamiguitan

Discover the diverse flora and fauna at Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. Explore trekking trails and witness the iconic Philippine eagle in its natural habitat.

Bask in Mabua Pebble Beach

Enjoy the unique shoreline of Mabua Pebble Beach in Tandag, covered in smooth pebbles. Take a leisurely walk along the coast and appreciate the distinctive landscape.

Experience Bislig Baywalk and Ocean View Park

Take a relaxing stroll along the Bislig Baywalk and Ocean View Park. Enjoy panoramic views of the bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Engage in Water Sports

With its coastal beauty, Surigao del Sur offers opportunities for water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. Check with local operators for available activities.

When is the Best Time to Visit Surigao Del Sur

The dry season, which typically spans from November to April, is considered the best time to visit Surigao del Sur. During these months, the weather is generally characterised by sunny skies and lower chances of rainfall. The pleasant and dry conditions create ideal circumstances for exploring outdoor attractions such as Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, and the Britannia Islands. Travellers can enjoy water activities, island hopping, and trekking.

The wet season in Surigao del Sur, from May to October, comes with more rain and occasional storms. However, it has a unique charm, making the landscapes even more vibrant. The waterfalls, rivers, and greenery look especially splendid during this time. It is a great period for travellers who appreciate lush and tropical scenery, although there might be occasional rain showers.

How to Get to Surigao Del Sur

By Air

The most convenient way to reach Surigao del Sur is by air. The nearest airport is the Sayak Airport (SUG) in Siargao Island, which is approximately 5 to 6 hours away from the provincial capital, Tandag City. Several airlines operate flights to Siargao from major cities like Manila and Cebu. Upon arrival at Sayak Airport, travelers can take a land transfer, usually by van or bus, to reach Surigao del Sur.

By Sea

Another option is to travel to Surigao del Sur by sea. Surigao City has a seaport that serves as a gateway to the province. Various shipping lines operate ferry services connecting Surigao City to cities like Cebu, Manila, and other nearby islands.

The sea journey provides a scenic approach to the province, allowing travellers to enjoy coastal views and maritime landscapes. Once in Surigao City, land transportation options such as buses, vans, or rental cars are available for the onward journey to different parts of Surigao del Sur.

By Car / Bus

For those who prefer overland travel, getting to Surigao del Sur by car or bus is an option. The province is accessible by well-maintained highways and roads. Travellers coming from major cities like Davao or Butuan can use buses or private vehicles.

Car rental services are also available for more flexibility in exploring the province. Bus terminals are scattered across key cities, providing a more economical transportation choice. Once in Surigao del Sur, various local modes of transportation, including tricycles and jeepneys, can be used for short-distance travel within the province.

How to Get Around

By Taxi / Ride-Sharing Services

In Surigao del Sur, taxis are commonly available in urban centers like Tandag City and Bislig. While traditional taxis are prevalent, ride-sharing services may not be as widely used in this province as in larger urban areas.

By Car / Motorcycle

Exploring Surigao del Sur by car or motorcycle offers flexibility and freedom. Car rental services are available in major cities, providing tourists with the means to explore the province at their own pace. Well-maintained roads connect key destinations, and having a car allows for easy access to attractions like Tinuy-an Falls and Enchanted River.

Motorcycles, locally known as habal-habal, are a common mode of transportation for short-distance travel and reaching more remote areas. Renting a motorcycle can be a practical option for those comfortable with two-wheeled transportation.

What to Eat

There is a wide range of dining options in Surigao Del Sur that cater to various budgets and preferences.

Local Food

For those in search of affordable and authentic local cuisine, exploring the area's stalls and restaurants is highly recommended, including Balai Uno, Bravo Restaurant and La Carinderia.

Fresh Seafood

The island is renowned for its seafood, and visitors have the opportunity to explore restaurants such as JC2 Seafoods Haus, Erve's Restaurants & Seafood, Wakat Sea Breeze, and Spin.

Western Food

In Surigao del Sur, travellers can enjoy more than just local dishes – there's a variety of tastes, including Western food, available at several restaurants throughout the province such as Angel's Burger, LadyMarj SnackHauze and Magkono Restaurant.

What to Buy

When in Surigao del Sur, travellers can explore the diverse local offerings, including the iconic T'boli dreamcatchers, handwoven items, fresh seafood, Lingig longganisa, abaca products, Mindanao coffee, and surfing gear. Embrace the culture by supporting local artists and enjoying unique delicacies. The province's coastal location ensures a variety of fresh seafood options, while its abaca production is reflected in handicrafts like bags and hats.

Lingig longganisa provides a taste of local cuisine, and Mindanao coffee allows travellers to savour the region's coffee culture. Additionally, consider engaging in water sports with locally sourced surfing gear. Overall, Surigao del Sur offers a diverse range of souvenirs and experiences that capture the essence of the region.

Where to Stay

When visiting Surigao del Sur, consider staying in accommodations that align with your planned activities and attractions. For a nature-centric experience, eco-friendly options near Tinuy-an Falls or riverside lodgings near the Hinatuan Enchanted River are recommended. Explore hotels in Bislig City for convenient access to Tinuy-an Falls and nearby attractions, or opt for locations in San Agustin or Hinatuan when planning to explore the Britania Group of Islands. Tandag City, the capital, offers a central base.

For a more immersive experience, homestays in local communities provide an authentic touch. Utilise online booking platforms to secure your stay in advance, considering factors like location, reviews, and budget to make your visit to Surigao del Sur enjoyable and comfortable.

What to Bring

  • Bring sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun's rays.
  • Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for beach outings, while a pair of sturdy walking shoes may be useful for hiking or exploring.
  • If visiting during the wet season, a compact umbrella and a lightweight rain jacket can come in handy.
  • Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle, particularly if you're engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Ensure your electronic devices stay charged by bringing the necessary travel adapters.
  • While there are ATMs in urban areas, having some local currency can be useful, especially in more remote locations.

What to Wear

When packing for a trip to Surigao del Sur, it is essential to consider the tropical climate and the activities you plan to engage in. Lightweight and breathable clothing is recommended due to the warm and humid weather. Pack comfortable clothing suitable for outdoor adventures, such as shorts, T-shirts, and swimwear.

Things to Note

  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm weather, and use sunscreen to protect against the sun. Consider bringing insect repellent, particularly if you plan to explore nature reserves.
  • The local currency is the Philippine Peso (PHP). While ATMs are available in urban areas, it's advisable to have some local currency on hand, especially in more remote locations.
  • Keep a list of important contacts, including the local emergency numbers, contact information for your accommodation, and the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Filipino and English are widely spoken, but learning a few basic Filipino phrases can enhance your travel experience and interactions with locals.

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