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Swimming With Jellyfish – Bucas Grande, Philippines

Snorkeling with the jellyfish in Bucas Grande, Philippines
A jellyfish up close with a snorkeler in the background

Last month I was travelling through the Philippines. We spent 5 days visiting a friend on the Island of Siargao, famous for its surfing break Cloud 9, and relatively unknown otherwise (for now). He took us around to all the cool things he’s discovered on the island, including a set of water caves a few hours away by boat. Apparently we lucked out with our timing, because the caves were nothing compared to what was going on in a nearby cove. I guess it’s seasonal, but every year a nearby protected lagoon becomes a breeding ground for jellyfish.

Paddling clear water over a reef in the Philippines
Paddling through the crystal clear water out to Tojomon Lagoon by canoe to swim with the Jellyfish

After a 3 hour boat ride from Siargao, we arrived at the Sohoton Eco-Tourism Park off the island of Bucas Grand. Basically it was a small covered wooden platform above the water on stilts, in an inlet off the coast. They loaded us up onto smaller canoe style boats, each of us with our own “captain”, and we began paddling through some smaller coves and lagoons. The ride alone was awesome, with some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen (shallow too), above white sands and coral reefs. Soon enough we began seeing little brown jellyfish, one by one, then in groups of a few or so, and a little further in they were literally EVERYWHERE. The locals told us they don’t sting you, and we could pick them up, swim with them, snorkel, whatever we wanted. The lagoon is called Tojomon Lagoon, or just Jellyfish Lagoon.

Tons of jellyfish, Bucas Grande Philippines
Tons of Jellyfish at the surface of the water

Not much more that I can say about it, it was like nothing I’ve ever done before, we spent about 30 minutes snorkeling with them, taking videos and photos, then headed back. I think the photos do it more justice than anything I can write, it was one of the highlights of my travel career.

Holding & eating a jellyfish, Philippines
Eating a jellyfish in the Philippines

There was one incident though (pretty sure a freak accident)… A friend of mine was taking photos with no mask, and we think may have been stung on his exposed eye, because his eye was completely irritated and pretty much of no use the rest of the day. Don’t think it’s much to worry about, especially if you don’t take your mask off. Pretty sure if he could do it over again he still would, that’s how cool this place was.

Dudes Swimming With Jellyfish Philippines
Underwater Photo of Swimming With Jellyfish in Bucas Grande, Philippines

If you’d like to swim amongst a massive school of jellyfish in crystal clear warm waters, visit the island of Bucas Grande in the Philippines. Catch a boat to Sohoton Ecotourism Park, we spent a solid day getting there and back from Siargao, I’m guessing there are other islands within range (I think Surigao is also), and I believe you can stay nearby at a resort for multiple days and explore other areas. We did the cave trip as well, which was still very cool and worth doing, but nowhere near as good as the jellyfish. I believe it cost something around $5 US for both. You can contact them at 09594235793 (at least this is the number they gave me at the time of my visit in August of 2011).

Grabbing jellyfish underwater, Philippines
Grabbing one of the jellyfish for the photo

They are working on growing the ecotourism park, so it’s likely it will be changing over the next couple of years, I recommend getting there as soon as possible, we were the only ones there at the time.

Sohoton Ecotourism Park Jellyfish Lagoon Videos

An underwater video as the boat passes through the Jellyfish Lagoon

This underwater video was taken while swimming and snorkeling with the Jellyfish, looking all around so you can see how many there really are (and how deep the lagoon is)

Bucas Grande Jellyfish Lagoon Photos

7 Good comments on "Swimming With Jellyfish – Bucas Grande, Philippines"

  • Pinoy Travel Freak  @ Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 2:54 AM

    amazing sea creatures! I’m from the Philippine but haven’t been to this place. love those picture! can’t wait to go there next year.

    -Gabz

  • Taz  @ Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Awesome! I have been hearing and reading about Sohoton for a long time now. Been wanting to go there! Hoping to see it soon.

  • Sweety_girl0690  @ Monday, January 9, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    wow the place so awesome,im so excited to come there soon..
    see yeah soon jellyfish

    jessie

    • Mike  @ Monday, January 9, 2012 at 11:12 PM

      Just looked it up because we visited in August and I know the lagoon has a certain jellyfish season.  I read it’s from January to September though, so it should just be starting for you.  You’re going to love it, have fun Jessie!

  • Your_mom  @ Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    put that jellyfish down. there’s no reason to mess with them. 

  • Chewey1984  @ Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    I would like to know what camera did you use? It really gve justice to the experience. Great
    Pictures. I would like to use the same camera when i go there :)

    • Mike  @ Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      The above water shots were on a Canon EOS Rebel T2i (US Model, EOS 550D in Europe). Underwater photos were taken with the Olympos Stylus Tough 8000.

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