Sohoton Cove can be found on the island of Bucas Grande, in Surigao, Philippines. To get there, you can either take a 2 hour boat ride from beautiful Siargao island, or one coming from Hayanggabon port in Surigao Del Norte.
Since I was already in Siargao, I took the tour from there (General Luna). It was a beautiful trip...I loved seeing the lush green hills and untouched beaches lined with coconut trees along the way. Some had massive waves breaking on them, just like the famous surfing spots in Siargao.
Along the way, we passed mining operations that have scarred and discolored the landscape on the other side of the water. Local fishermen claim that their catches have dwindled due to all the disruption and sediment in the water. I did not take any photos, but there was a stark contrast between the lush beauty of Bucas Grande on our right, and the barren, dusty hills on our left.
(Click photos for more info)
Anyhow, as long as you stay focused on the beauty of Bucas Grande, you'll love it. We passed local fishermen and they seemed friendly. I loved seeing all the corals just below the surface in the lagoon! Very cool, and I hope the boat operators are always careful to not damage them.
We did not stay at Club Tara Resort (pictured above), but judging by the reviews I read online afterward, we didn't miss much. From what I've read, people recommend stopping to take pictures there, but staying overnight is not really worth it.
You may notice that I haven't included a single picture of the actual cave, and I admit, that is kind of funny. It's because for me, the most beautiful part of Sohoton was the boat ride there, and the landscapes and lagoon around the cave. If you've already seen a few caves, I don't think this one will impress you much.
The fact that you can swim into the entrance of the cave is kind of cool I guess. Once you climb up into the cave, there's also a 6 or 7 meter cliff jump back down into the water. This will give thrill-seekers their fix!
This was pretty cool. It's a lagoon that fills up with stingless (harmless) jellyfish. Apparently there are hundreds and hundreds of them, depending on the time of year. There is some confusion about whether or not you are allowed to swim with them, though. On my visit, one official told me it was OK, while another said it is not.
There might have been 50 jellyfish in the lagoon at that time...but they were spread out over a large area, so there might only be one within 2 meters of you at any given time. The photos I've seen online show jellyfish everywhere, so I do hope the decline is a seasonal thing, and not something brought on by tourist activity.
By the time my group finished seeing the jellyfish, we were quite hungry. We did buy fresh fish, vegetables, and rice at the market to bring with us, but we found that the cooking fees were a bit high. I don't know if it would be the same for every tour, but it's good to know what to expect. I recommend asking your guide about this before you leave.
Sohoton Cove and Lagoon reminds me a bit of Palawan. Honestly, unless you have a lot of time and money, if you've already seen Palawan, you might want to skip Sohoton. Almost everybody agrees that is just too expensive. It's totally worth it if your group is large enough to keep costs down, though.
Make sure you negotiate with your tour guide, and ask about any and all fees. The environmental / entry fees are very steep, and don't forget the snorkel rental and cooking fees if you're bringing lunch. Just so you know, there were 6 of us in my group, and I think it was worth it.
If you haven't already, check out my Siargao post for more island love:)
- Nathan Allen
*Note: I incorrectly labeled "Sohoton Cove" as "Sohoton Cave" in the title. There is a separate place called "Sohoton Cave" in the province of Samar.
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