Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have your own private island beach? I’m a lucky wife because for our anniversary, Larry booked us a private island cove at my father’s hometown, Surigao. If you are the nature-loving quiet type who enjoys the quiet serenity of being really far from the city (and with this, I really mean too remote you can’t leave because you really are on an island), then, Bucas Grande is perfect for you.
Bucas Grande Island is known for its crystalline lakes, underwater caves, and stingless jellyfishes. It is the least touristy island I have ever been to, and to get there takes about a two hour van ride to the port from the airport, and then about 30 minutes boat ride to the island. While there are other resorts to stay at in the area, please note that the experiences I will be sharing here are all about our stay on the private island cove.
What to Bring: Swimsuit, Sunblock/sunscreen, food and drinks, binoculars (for birding), camera
Tip: Skip Manila traffic and fly direct to Surigao del Norte. We scored this private island cove via airbnb, with everything prearranged, from airport pick-up to boat transfer (and back). There’s a Gaisano supermarket near the airport to get your supplies but it’s better to buy food at the local market.
So what are the things we did that you might enjoy on the island? Here are a few:
1. Row your own boat and explore the islands.
As we were on an island in the middle of nowhere, we were provided with our own boat (at no extra charge). Unlike other island hopping adventures we have had where we had to have a boatman, having our own boat felt freeing and empowering because we were able to paddle wherever and whenever we wanted. We were also provided with snorkeling masks, fins, and life vests, so no need to worry if you don’t know how to swim. With our boat, we were able to get to our other destinations – the jellyfish lake, kayaking lake, and well, just around.
One of the best things about island hopping is snorkeling. For people who need a life vest to swim (like myself), snorkeling is our best bet to exploring the marine world. I personally enjoy it as it gives me a different view of the world, seeing and appreciating fishes, corals, and other life forms. Also, it’s sweet to snorkel while holding hands with your mahal (trans. beloved).
3. Kayak and appreciate nature.
Like the boat, we were also provided with our own kayak (again, at no extra charge). There is a lake tucked at the back of the island, which is only accessible by foot. From our private cove, it takes about ten minutes to get there (there’s a trail). When you get on your kayak, you would initially think that the lake is small, but you will be pleasantly surprised once you get past the tall boulder somewhere near the center. You’re in for a treat and be prepared to kayak til you drop. Oh, the lake is calm so you would not get the “adrenaline rush” that you would when you go rafting or kayaking in open rivers. What you would get is this great view of the islands hugged by trees, and of the many endemic birds.
To get to the island, fly to Surigao del Norte. Here’s a link to the private island cove just in case you want to treat yourself.
Be grand in Bucas Grande!
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