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Cagayan de Oro City: Travel Guide + 3 Days Itinerary

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One thing comes to mind when you hear Cagayan de Oro City: adventure! The capital city of Misamis Oriental is best known for white water rafting, as well as nature and adventure parks. It’s also considered the gateway to northern Mindanao since nearby provinces are easily accessible from here.

P.S. Visiting here soon? Don’t forget to read our separate post on the Top Things to do in Cagayan de Oro.

How to get to Cagayan de Oro

By air

The easiest way to get to Cagayan de Oro is by air.

  • From Manila or other airports, take a local flight to Laguindingan Airport. Travel time is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • From the airport, ride a van to Cagayan de Oro city proper (P200 per person). Travel time is 45 minutes, depending on traffic.

By water

2Go Ferry also has a Manila-Cagayan de Oro route. Travel time is 30 hours.

How to get around

There are taxis, jeepneys, motorelas and habal-habals to take you around the city.

Booking apps Grab and Angkas are also available.

Best Things to do in Cagayan de Oro

Here are the best activities you can do in Cagayan de Oro.

1. White water rafting

White water rafting in Cagayan de Oro

If you’re visiting CDO, the one activity that you shouldn’t miss is white water rafting. This is a half-day activity wherein you have to ride an inflatable raft and navigate the waters of Cagayan River.

I recommend booking your activity with CDO Bugsay. You will be fetched from anywhere in the city and then travel for 1 hour to the jump-off point for the rafting. Rafting takes 2-3 hours depending on the river current.

Here is our experience on White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro.

You can contact CDO Bugsay at: Facebook | 09173284729.

Rates: Beginner course – P1200 per person / Advance course – P1800 per person.

2. DIY city tour

The city offers attractions such as public parks, museums and markets. Take a half-day to explore the city via commute or simply charter a habal-habal to take you to these places.

  • Gaston Park
  • St Augustine Cathedral
  • Vicente de Lara Park
  • Plaza Divisoria (Golden Friendship Park)
  • City Museum
  • Museum of Three Cultures
  • Museo de Oro in Ateneo de Cagayan’s Xavier Center for Culture and Arts
Museum of Three Cultures in Cagayan de Oro
Museum of Three Cultures.

3. Explore Mapawa Nature Park

There are several nature parks which can be found in CDO, but the most popular one is the Mapawa Nature Park.

This is a 2500-hectare forest reserve in the mountains of Malasag, just 30 minutes away from the city. Here you can enjoy gorgeous views, experience wildlife encounters, and do activities in the wild. If you want a challenging activity, try rappelling in a waterfall.

Rates: Entrance fee – P70 per person / Bed and Breakfast – P650 per person (min 5 pax) / Dorm-type accommodation – P350 per person (min 10 pax) / Other activity fees

Mapawa Mature Park - rappelling in waterfall
Rappelling in waterfall. (Photo credit to Mapawa Mature Park)

4. Day trip to Bukidnon

It’s possible to do a half-day or whole-day trip to Bukidnon from Cagayan de Oro. The most common places to visit are the Del Monte Pineapple Farm and Dahilayan Nature Park.

From the city, ride a bus or van to Camp Phillips. Then ride a jeep to take you to the pineapple farm. Here you can take picture at the iconic pineapple statue or the plantation and eat at their restaurant.

Del Monte Farm in Bukidnon
Del Monte Farm in Bukidnon.

From there, take a habal-habal to Dahilayan Nature Park. If you’re heading there directly from the city, there are vans that drop off directly at the park. You can also avail of the park’s packages which includes round-trip transportation.

There are various activities you can try in Dahilayan Nature Park including the 840-meter zipline which is considered Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline and a 120-feet freefall ride. You can get an all-in ride package for about P1000 per person or avail of each ride separately.

Rates: Dahilayan Nature Park entrance fee – P100 per person / P600 zip all you can + P100 photo copy

Zipline in Dahilayan Adventure Park
Zipline in Dahilayan Adventure Park.
Dahilayan Nature Park - free fall ride
Free-fall ride.

5. Day trip to Iligan City

Iligan City is dubbed as the “City of Majestic Waterfalls”. In a day trip, you can visit the waterfall triumvirate: Tinago Falls, Mimbalot Falls and Maria Cristina Falls.

From the city, head to Bulua Terminal and then ride a bus to Iligan. Once you get off at the terminal, there are habal-habals offering to tour you to the waterfalls.

Here’s our separate post on our Day Trip in Iligan City.

Rates: Habal-habal tour is P600-700 per person.

Tinago Falls in Iligan City
Tinago Falls.

Others

There are also beaches in Cagayan de Oro — specifically Rohan, Centinela, Bonbon and Opol beaches. However, they aren’t as beautiful as that in other places such as Cebu. You can visit these beaches if you want to have a relaxing afternoon along with other local guests.

If you are with kids, you can also visit the Seven Seas Waterpark and Malasag Gardens.

For other activities, check out our separate guide on Top Things to do in Cagayan de Oro.

Where to eat

If you’re staying in the city proper, you are walking distance to malls including Ayala Centrio, Gaisano and SM where you can easily find restaurants. There are also restaurants within the city that are highly recommended for their local dishes.

For a more detailed food guide, check out separate article on Where to Eat in Cagayan de Oro.

1. Cucina Higala

Cucina Higala is one of top-rated restaurants in CDO. It has a beautiful old-world ambiance and offers great local dishes.

Some of the best ones include sinuglaw (Cagayan’s signature dish), surol (chicken soup in coconut milk), humba and kare-kare. They also offer pompano, which is a flavorful, delicate fish.

Where to eat in CDO: Cucina Higala
Steamed pompano.

2. Kagay-anon Restaurant

Kagay-anon Restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Come here if you want to taste authentic Cagayanon dishes including ostrich salpicao, baked clams, liempo and sweet & sour pork. They also have veggie side dishes.

3. Panagatan

Every local in Cagayan knows about Panagatan. It’s a seafood restaurant offering favorites such as grilled squid and fishes, steamed shrimps, kinilaw and more. They also have bilao specials for groups.

The original branch of Panagatan is located along the National Highway, about 20 minutes drive away from the city proper. It is open air and has great ocean views especially at night. For those staying in the city proper, it also has a branch in Ayala Centrio Mall.

Nigh Life: Lifestyle District

If you’re looking for a place to hang out at night, check out the Lifestyle District. It houses restaurants and bars, with live band performances on selected nights.

The Lifestyle District is walking distance from Gaisano and Ayala Centrio malls.

Another place check out is the Sky Bar, which is also located at the city proper.

Where to Stay

Cagayan de Oro is the gateway to its neighboring provinces so you can book your stay here even when taking day trips to Bukidnon, Iligan or Camiguin — unless of course you plan to stay overnight in any of these places.

I suggest staying in the city proper so you are close to establishments such as malls and restaurants and also several minutes away from the terminals. Here are some accommodations you can look at:

Budget options:

Most recommended hotels in CDO:

Kat in Seda Centrio Hotel

3 Days Itinerary in Cagayan de Oro

Here’s a sample 3 days itinerary in Cagayan de Oro

Day 1
Arrival in Laguindingan Airport
Check in at accommodation
Morning – Mapawa Nature Park
Afternoon – city tour

Day 2
Morning – white water rafting
Afternoon – Half-day trip to Bukidnon (Del Monte Pineapple Farm, Dahilayan Nature Park)

Day 3
Day trip to Iligan
Back to CDO / check out of accommodation / buy pasalubong
Flight back to Manila

You may also want to check out our 5 Days Itinerary to CDO, Bukidnon, Iligan and Camiguin.

Budget and expenses

Budget depends on how many you are in the group and activities you wish to avail (e.g., rides in the Dahilayan Nature Park or activities in Mapawa Nature Park). If you are a couple, a safe budget would be P7000-8000 per person (excluding flights).

 

Has our Travel Guide to Cagayan de Oro been helpful to you? Do you have questions or suggestions? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

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