Cavinti Falls - one of the best waterfalls in Laguna
Guides and Itineraries,  Philippines

Day Trip Guide to Cavinti Falls (aka Pagsanjan Falls) in Laguna

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I can still remember reading about Cavinti Falls as a kid at school. Seeing it in person in my 30s is such an amazing feeling! A large waterfall with a secret cave, set amidst dense foliage and huge boulders — it truly is worth writing about in books.

Cavinti Falls is a 90-meter-high waterfall with a secret cave hidden behind the water curtain, called the Devil’s Cave. It was formerly known as Pagsanjan Falls but has since been renamed to Cavinti Falls since it is located within the municipality of Cavinti. It goes by Magdapio Falls among locals, based on a folklore.

I visited here as part of Cavinti Tourism’s #CavintiTour2023.

Our visit to Cavinti Falls

Our group met early morning at Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park in Cavinti. There are ways to reach the waterfall from there: via a foot trail, a canoe ride, or a combination of both.

At the tourism site, the staff gave a short orientation. At this time, the canoes were unavailable so our only option to get there was trekking.

The trek takes about 1 hour and involves foot trails, 589-step metal ladders, and 2 vertical rappelling.

Cavinti Falls jump-off point
At the jump-off point. (Photo by Nicole Paler)
Cavinti Falls - trekking
Trekking. to the waterfall (Photo by Nicole Paler)
Cavinti Falls viewdeck
At the viewdeck. (Photo by Nicole Paler)

The route started easy. We walked down a concrete road that snakes down the mountain side. Then we reached a foot trail and eventually our first real adventure: vertical rappel. Basically, you are fitted with a harness and then hooked up in a rope; you then hold onto the rope while standing upright as a guide belays you down. It sounds easy enough but it can scary if it’s your first time!

The vertical rappel was enjoyable, but admittedly I screamed a little near the end because the drop went faster. It was an amazing feeling to survive. Haha.

After that, it was a series of steep climbs through metal ladders and then another vertical rappel.

Cavinti Falls vertical rappel
Vertical rappel (going up) (Photo by Tina Punzal)

Then we finally reached the base of Cavinti Falls.

Cavinti Falls aka Pagsanjan Falls
Cavinti Falls. (Photo by Nicole Paler)
Kat in Cavinti Falls or Pagsanjan Falls
Hello there. 🙂 (Photo by Nicole Paler)

It was beautiful. The waterfall was loud as gushing water fell down the wide basin. There were huge boulders and concrete seats where you could take pictures with Cavinti Falls in the backdrop. A boating station rents lifevests for free.

Cavinti Falls aka Pagsanjan Falls
(Photo by Tina Punzal)
Cavinti Falls aka Pagsanjan Falls
(Photo by Tina Punzal)

We took photos of the waterfall and then rode a balsa that would take us to the Devil’s Cave. This was a really fun experience. Guides helped pulled the balsa towards the waterfall until we were directly under the stream. Honestly I was half-laughing — and half-drowning with the strength of the downpour. Then the guides turned the balsa around to take us back.

Cavinti Falls balsa ride
(Photo by Alquin Bautista)
Group photo in Cavinti Falls
Balsa ride in Cavinti Falls. (Photo by Alquin Bautista)

Some people in our group had so much fun that they went for a second round at the balsa ride.

After that, we trekked back to the registration site. It. Was. Exhausting. We had to climb back up all those steep ladders. The hardest part was the vertical rappel chutes, because this time we were not going to be pulled up by the harness — instead, we had to manually climb up. The ladders are vertical, so it requires arm strength, and it’s not advisable to take a rest midway because the longer you take, the more you will get tired. Thankfully, we managed to survive that as well.

Overall, visiting the Cavinti Falls was one of the highlights of our stay in Cavinti, Laguna. I can’t wait to go there again, but with a canoe ride next time!

How to get to Cavinti Falls

Cavinti Falls (formerly known as Pagsanjan Falls) is located in the municipality of Cavinti, Laguna, about 2.5 hours away from Manila.

You can visit this waterfall either via Cavinti or Pagsanjan. To get here via commute:

  • From Manila, ride a bus going to Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
  • (Cavinti route) Once in Sta. Cruz, ride a jeep bound for Cavinti (or a jeep bound for Lumban and then get off at Cavinti). Then charter a tricycle to Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park.
  • (Pagsanjan route) Once in Sta. Cruz, ride a jeepney and get off at the Pagsanjan tourism office.

Via Cavinti

The jump-off point at Cavinti is at Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park. Here you need to register and then pay the appropriate fees.

You have to 2 options to reach the waterfall:

  • Trekking. The trek going to the waterfall takes about 1 hour, and the trek back takes about 2 hours.
  • Canoe ride. This involves a 30-minute trek and then a canoe ride to the waterfall.

A popular option is to trek to the waterfall so you can experience the vertical rappels and ladders and then take the canoe on the way back.

Via Pagsanjan

From Pagsanjan, you need to head to the tourism office for registration. Via this route, you will take a canoe ride (also called Shooting the Rapids) for 1 hour to reach the waterfall.

Cavinti Falls Rates

Here are the current rates for visiting Cavinti Falls (Updated as of 2023):

Via Cavinti (per person)Trekking: P350
Trekking + canoe ride on exit: P750
Canoe ride (round trip): P1100
Via Pagsanjan (per person)Canoe ride: P1350

*Minimum of 2 pax. If you are a solo traveler, you still need to pay for 2 people.
Other feesBalsa ride and lifevests at the falls are free

Reminders and Tips

  • What to wear: Swimming attire or drifit shirt and shorts. There is a restroom in the waterfall area, so you can also bring a change of clothes. If trekking, make sure that you are wearing durable sandals.
  • Things to bring: Bring a drybag to keep your essentials safe. Bring your own water and snacks, since there are no stores in the waterfall area. If you have an action camera, you can get great shots in the waterfall balsa ride.

Other things to note:

  • Did you know that Cavinti Falls is a popular day tour activity from Manila? Klook offers a private day tour to Cavinti Falls, including transfer, canoe ride to the waterfall, and lunch.
  • Monitor the weather before your visit. Cavinti Falls is closed to visitors during inclement weather for safety reasons.
  • If you plan on trekking, better start early in the morning to avoid the harsh sun rays during your hike.
  • At the Pueblo El Salvador Nature Park, you can find stores, a restroom, and a shower area. At the Cavinti Falls area itself, there are no commercial stores, but there are restrooms.

Contact

For inquiries about Cavinti, you can contact CTSOA via Facebook.

Has this guide to Cavinti Falls/Pagsanjan Falls been helpful to you? If you have questions or comments, let us know in the comments section below!

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