Surigao Del Sur: Hinatuan Enchanted River

Located in Talisay, Hinatuan in the province of Surigao del Sur, Hinatuan Enchanted River is famously known for its Pepsi blue waters and unfathomable depth.
Enchanted River
Famously known only as Enchanted River, this beautiful destination is actually an underwater spring that eventually flows down to the sea. What most people don't know is that the water that comes out of the spring is actually brackish waters. (It means that the water is a mixture of fresh and salt water.)

Posing for documentation (and bragging rights)
In the past years, several diving expeditions have tried (and failed) to find out the source of Enchanted River. To date, the mysteries of Enchanted River is still unsolved by man. Check out the map below and see how far the divers have reached.
Enchanted River Map (from
Experts all agree that the river is connected to the sea due to the variety of salt-water fishes that come and go in the river. These fishes are one of the attractions of the river.
 Fish of different sizes come up the river during feeding time.
Fish Feeding Time is a must watch attraction.
It's Fish feeding time!
Fishes jump for joy during feeding time.

Swimmers can go back to the water several minutes after Feeding Time. If you're planning to take a dip, I highly suggest that you rent a life jacket and goggles to fully enjoy your swim.

UPDATE! Starting March 5, 2017 swimming has been disallowed in the river until further notice. 
My sister-in-law enjoyed her swim...
same goes to my wife...

... and of course me too.
Aside from its unfathomable depth, another thing that makes the river "enchanting" is its Pepsi-blue waters. Anybody snorkeling in it would surely love the HD view of the deep part of the river.
Float back and relax
The unique water color proves to be a very picturesque background
Enchanted river is one of the best places to visit in Eastern Mindanao
Lucky for me, my wife's family supported me on my travels.
A newly constructed "toll" charges visitors P20 as registration fee. Expect at least two more "registration" sites that would charge you from P10-20
Another registration site, another P20 pesos
Looks like:
The Pepsi Blue soda

The taste and calories.

Getting there:

Option 1: Manila- Butuan City - San Franz - Hinatuan 
Estimated Travel time: 4-5 hours (including air travel)
From Manila, board a plane heading to Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte.
From there, board a bus heading to Davao. Tell the conductor to drop you off at San Franz (San Francisco) in Agusan Del Sur.
Once there, look for vans that would take you to Hinatuan in Surigao Del Sur...

Option 2: Manila -Davao City - Hinatuan
Estimated Travel time: 8-9 hours (including air travel)
From Manila, board a plane heading to Davao City, Davao Del Sur.
From there, head to Ecoland Terminal and board a bus heading to Mangagoy. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Hinatuan Terminal... 

Expect a bumpy 12 kilometer ride
The bridge of faith... When we passed this bridge we were warned not to stop because several support frames were stolen. Whew!
12 kilometers of dirt road. Lucky for us it didn't rain.
From Hinatuan, your only option is to hop on a motorcycle locally known as habal-habal. They usually charge 100 pax. However, the unwritten rule is that the habal-habal leave once they reach the capacity of 3 passengers. So if you're alone and you're in a rush expect to pay the full load of P300. You could ask them to wait for you for your return trip but expect to be charged extra.

Overall ratings


  1. we've always been mystified by this river the moment it caught our attention.. we'll definitely go there someday soon..... thanks for this post! :)

    ~ Melay

    1. Hope to see you and your hubby achieve that goal. =) You're welcome Melay!

  2. I enjoyed to read this. Its very informative and taught me something I didnt know about this place in the philippines. Very often im surprised of things ive never seen before or even knew existed and this is one of them. Had you not been informative of the long road going in, I would not have been prepared should I ever be able to visit this place. Good job.

    Frankie T.

    1. Thanks a lot Frankie T. I wish you a safe travel and swimming experience in the Enchanted River.

      This comment made my day. =)

  3. Nice Neil!
    I also already knew this crystal clear river from internet long years ago, and still curious about it.
    I do enjoy read your article about how you explain the Pepsi-blue-looking water and how expeditions had tried to find the end point of the cave. Great!

    Anyway, this kind of river also can be found in my country, since Philippines and Indonesia are the same archipelago countries.
    The name is Labuan Cermin Lake, in Biduk-Biduk Village, Berau, East Borneo.
    It also a double layered water: Turquoise colored water at the surface is fresh water. And beneath is salt water. You can see a clear vision of color gradient if you dive down to 3 meters.

    You can see the photo here:

    Thanks for sharing!

    "It's not just about the destination, but the journey"

    1. Hey george! Thank you so much for this Info. I would surely visit it someday. Thank you!

  4. You can get answers to your questions about the Enchanted River from the latest post of

  5. You can get answers to your questions about the Enchanted River from the latest post of

  6. Which is better Pepsi or Coke?
    ANSWER THE POLL and you could receive a prepaid VISA gift card!

    1. If there is a Coke Blue, it would be a fair match. LOL.


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