Cagayan de Oro is a province in Northern Mindanao that offers a range of adventures. In fact, it is dubbed as the Adventure Capital of the Philippines. If you love outdoor activities and nature tripping, this is a must-visit. Cagayan de Oro (or more popularly referred to as CDO) is also a gateway to nearby provinces such as Bukidnon, Iligan, and Camiguin. For those planning to come here soon, here we’ve compiled the best Cagayan de Oro tourist spots + things to do in Cagayan de Oro!
- 1. Cagayan River white water rafting
- 2. Museum of Three Cultures
- 3. Explore the city attractions
- 4. Gardens of Masalag Eco-Tourism Village
- 5. Mapawa Nature Park
- 6. Seven Seas Water Park and Resort
- 7. Catanico Falls
- 8. Mambuaya Cave
- 9. Day trip to Camiguin
- 10. Del Monte Pineapple Plantation Farm
- 11. Dahilayan Nature Park
- 12. Chase waterfalls in Iligan
- 13. Paragliding in Hugo Sky Lounge
- 14. Kweba de Oro
- 15. Macahambus Adventure Park
- 16. Try marang and other local fruits
- 17. Eat sikwate and puto maya
- 18. Buy pasalubong
- 19. Celebrate the Higalaay Festival
- Where to stay in Cagayan de Oro
- What to read next:
1. Cagayan River white water rafting
Did you know that Cagayan de Oro is the White Water Rafting Capital of the Philippines? When we visited here, a local told us that you haven’t really been here if you haven’t done white water rafting. It’s truly one of the must-try activities in Cagayan de Oro.
Cagayan de Oro white water rafting is a fun activity that includes navigating through Cagayan River, paddling and passing thru wild rapids. Guides will accompany you in each raft to make sure you enjoy the experience safely. This activity is ideal for both beginner and experienced rafters.
We tried the beginner route for the white water rafting and had a blast. We’d lovelove to do it again!
The jump-off point to the rafting activity is easily accessible from the airport or city proper. It takes at least 2-3 hours for each course to finish, so you should allot a half-day for this activity. Morning and afternoon schedules are available.
2. Museum of Three Cultures
Museum of Three Cultures is a local museum found in Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City. It’s ideal for history buffs and those who’d love to know more about local culture and history in this part of Mindanao.
It features antiques and displays from the three dominant cultures in Northern Mindanao: Visayan Christians, Maranao Muslims, and Lumads. There is also a souvenir store which sells locally made jewelry, shirts, mugs with prints of the local tribes, and more.
3. Explore the city attractions
If you have a whole day to spare, you can do a DIY city tour where you can explore local parks, churches, and museums. Here’s a list of places that you can visit:
- 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
Some of these attractions are walking distance from each other. For the rest, you can take a motorela (which is similar to the tuktuk in Thailand) or jeepney/tricycles.
4. Gardens of Masalag Eco-Tourism Village
The Gardens of Masalag Eco-Tourism Village is an eco-cultural haven located at the slopes of Cugman watershed, with a breathtaking view of the Macalajar Bay. It is ideal for people who love nature, wildlife, and learning about the customs and traditions of the locals of Mindanao.
This village describes itself as “a botanical garden, wildlife habitat and eco-community rolled into one.” Here you can relax and enjoy the surrounding greenery, observe various animals at the mini-zoo, visit the museum, or engage in fun activities such as swimming, crossing a hanging bridge and canopy walk, camping, and more.
Gardens of Masalag Eco-Tourism Village also offers lodgings for overnight stays including villas, cottages, and tents, as well as a restaurant that serves Higaonon dishes.
5. Mapawa Nature Park
Cagayan de Oro has several nature parks where you can relax and commune with nature or engage in outdoor activities. Of these, perhaps the most popular 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.
Some interesting activities you can do include trail biking to a 350-year-old Dao heritage tree, trekking, ziplining and rappelling down a 65-foot waterfall, and more.
6. Seven Seas Water Park and Resort
Looking for some fun family time? Head over to Seven Seas Water Park and Resort, a world-class pirate-themed water park in the Philippines. It features state-of-the-art facilities including 12 water slides, a 5000-sqm dual-wave pool, a 400-meter-long lazy river, and others. It’s a great place for swimming and water adventure.
The waterpark has cottages and cabanas for day trippers.
7. Catanico Falls
Catanico Falls is one of the hidden gems of Cagayan de Oro. It is located off-the-beaten track, along Cugman River, which is about 20 minutes away from the city. Here you can enjoy the cool, refreshing water of the stream and even stay for a picnic in one of the open huts and stone picnic tables. There is a minimal fee for tourists, making the visit here even sweeter!
8. Mambuaya Cave
Mambuaya Cave (formerly known as Monigue Crystal Cave) is a cave found at Barangay Mambua, known for its unique passageways and interesting sights.
The entrance to the cave is a small opening from which you have to crawl and submerge yourself in water, which is flowing from an underground stream. Inside, you can find various stalactites and stalagmites, calcites, transparent crystals, speleothems, and even a water terraces.
Mambuaya Cave is one of the most underrated tourist spots in Cagayan de Oro, but tourists who’ve been here can attest that it’s one of the most beautiful caves in the province.
9. Day trip to Camiguin
Located a few hours away from Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin is a popular day tour destination. In a day, you can visit the most popular tourist attractions in Camiguin, including White Island, Ardent Hot Spring, Tuasan Falls, Katibawasan Falls, Sunken Cemetery, Mantigue Island, and Giant Clam Sanctuary.
There are also great resorts in Camiguin if you wish to stay longer.
10. Del Monte Pineapple Plantation Farm
Another popular day tour from Cagayan de Oro is the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation Farm in Bukidnon. This famous plantation spans 5000 hectares and is home to an iconic pineapple statue, plantations and manufacturing plant where they can and process the pineapples, and American-style houses for its farm employees.
11. Dahilayan Nature Park
Don’t forget to include Dahilayan Adventure Park in your Bukidnon day tour itinerary! This park offers various challenging activities for friends and family.
Try out the Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline, a 840-meter zipline where you’ll pass through the breath-taking forested area of the park for almost a minute. If that’s easy enough for you, step up the game with the Dropzone where you’ll experience a 120-feet freefall ride into a man-made lake.
We tried the dual zipline and it was an exhilarating experience. The glide started out scary at first but just soon after I got to appreciate the view of the forest from above. One of my acquaintances tried the Dropzone and we screamed when she was dropped, but she said that it was super fun as well.
Other activities here include the Skytower Base Jump, Canopy Glider, Python Roller Zipglide, and Ropes Course.
12. Chase waterfalls in Iligan
Iligan is one of the best day trips from Cagayan de Oro. In a day trip, you can visit the three waterfalls in Iligan, which includes Tinago Falls, Maria Cristina Falls, and Mimbalot Falls. You can also have lunch in a seaside restaurant to taste fresh seafood and other local delicacies.
Aside from the falls has a lot of nature and cultural attractions to offer, so you might also consider staying here for longer.
13. Paragliding in Hugo Sky Lounge
If you’ve dreamt of flying, now is the time to make that come true!
Cagayan de Oro is one of the handful locations in Mindanao where you can paraglide. You can experience paragliding in Hugo Sky Lounge in Sierra del Oro Resort, located in Barangay Indahag. The activity entails tandem paragliding with an instructor who assists and controls the drive. You’ll get to enjoy a bird eye’s view of Cagayan de Oro and Macalajar Bay.
Take note that paragliding is a weather-dependent activity, so make sure to coordinate with your tour operator in advance.
14. Kweba de Oro
Kweba de Oro (meaning “Cave of Gold”) is a river cave located in Barangay Lumbia, near Cagayan de Oro City. It is ideal for experienced cavers, as the route here is rather difficult. To get inside, you need to rappel about 130 feet below. You also need to cross passageways with water almost touching the ceiling, leaving only little space to breathe. To exit the cave, you need to do a short dive through a sump (underwater passage) until you emerge outside.
Few people venture to Kweba de Oro, but it is a rewarding experience and one of the most unique Cagayan de Oro tourist spots that you can visit.
15. Macahambus Adventure Park
Macahambus Adventure Park is a nature park geared towards the sporty and adventurous. Located at Barangay Lumbia, it is home to the Macahambus Cave and Gorge and offers various activities such as trekking thru an ancient forest filled with century-old trees, swinging from the top of a gorge, crossing an over 200-feet-high sky bridge that offers a grand view of the gorge and cave, rappelling, and ziplining.
This park in Cagayan de Oro is sure to give you experiences that you won’t soon forget!
16. Try marang and other local fruits
Cagayan de Oro enjoys a continuous arrival of fresh fruits from nearby farms. The prices here are cheaper compared to Manila. You can buy lansones, mangosteen, durian, and marang.
In my last trip to Cagayan de Oro, I finally get to taste marang! It was unexpectedly delicious and the smell isn’t as strong as a durian. Take note though that a lot of hotels and establishments don’t allow durian or marang inside their premises because the fruit smell tends to linger.
17. Eat sikwate and puto maya
Sikwate (tablea hot chocolate) and puto maya (sticky rice) is often eaten as breakfast or merienda. You can find it in Cogon Public Market, the largest local market in Cagayan de Oro. Cogon Public Market is a one-stop shop for locals. Aside from native delicacies, you can also find halal and non-halal meals here.
For other local eats, read our guide on Where to Eat in Cagayan de Oro.
18. Buy pasalubong
There are several favorite pasalubongs you can buy in Cagayan de Oro. Some of these include pastel, sinuglaw, jamon de cagayan, and roasted cashew nuts. You can buy these items in pasalubong centers or malls such as Limketkai Center.
You may also want to bring home fresh fruits from the local market. Just make sure to use a durable plastic or reusable bag instead of box so you won’t have to check the items in the airport.
19. Celebrate the Higalaay Festival
The Higalaay Festival is one of the most awaited events in Cagayan de Oro. It’s held every August 28 in celebration of St. Augustine, the patron saint of the city.
Some of the festival’s highlights include a 3-day culinary show, street dancing competition, parade of floats and icons, and fireworks display.
Where to stay in Cagayan de Oro
Click here to read about my review of Seda Centrio Hotel.
Here are some recommended accommodations you can book:
For budget options:
You can also book discounted rooms of hotels in Cagayan de Oro here.
Has this article on the best Cagayan de Oro tourist spots + things to do in Cagayan de Oro been helpful to you? Do you have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!
What to read next:
Planning a trip to Cagayan de Oro? Here are our guides!
- Cagayan de Oro: Travel Guide and Itinerary
- Cagayan de Oro Tourist Spots + Things to Do
- Cagayan de Oro Restaurants and Local Food Spots
- Where to Stay in Cagayan de Oro: Seda Centrio Hotel
- White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro
Other related articles:
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).