Canyoneering in Kawasan Falls was one of my favorite things to do in the Philippines. Kawasan Falls is a beautiful spot on Cebu Island, where you can swim in clear turquoise water surrounded by lush green forests with the noise of powerful waterfalls rushing in the background.
For the more adventurous travellers out there, canyoneering is a great way to explore this natural beauty.
In this guide I will be sharing with you everything you need to know about visiting and canyoneering in Kawasan Falls, including how to get there, what to bring, whether you should book a tour or not, and what to expect.
Before you go, don’t forget to check my Philippines packing list to make sure you have everything for your trip!
- 1 What is canyoneering?
- 2 About Kawasan Falls
- 3 How to Get to Kawasan Falls
- 4 Should you do a Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Tour?
- 5 What to expect when canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
- 6 What to bring canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
- 7 Best place to stay to go canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
What is canyoneering?
‘Canyoneering’, also known as ‘canyoning’, refers to traveling down a canyon through a mix of activities like climbing, hiking, cliff diving, swimming and other similar fun activities.
It essentially means to travel down a river or canyon. It’s quickly becoming a popular activity to do in canyons all over the world, if you’re travelling somewhere that offers the opportunity to do it, I would highly recommend it!
It might sound a bit scary but if you do an organised tour it will always be carried out in safety, and you’re guaranteed to have a lot of thrilling experiences and fun!
About Kawasan Falls
Located in one of the tourist hotspots in the Philippines, Kawasan Falls is one of the most popular and most visited spots in the island of Cebu.
Specifically, Kawasan Falls are found in Badian, near Moalboal (another popular tourist hotspot) in Cebu. It’s especially famous for the clear turquoise color of the water that runs through the falls.
It is the perfect spot for canyoneering as Kawasan Falls in Cebu offers all the activities that compromise canyoneering: swimming, climbing, hiking, cliff diving and so much more.
Aside from canyoneering, it’s also a friendly spot for family get-togethers and a perfect spot to relax, unwind and enjoy a casual afternoon.
The main pools of the river with the bigger waterfalls have food shacks and picnic tables where you can relax, just be prepared to be sharing those spaces with a lot of people! It’s a very cool spot to visit even if you don’t want to go canyoneering.
How to Get to Kawasan Falls
If you are in Moalboal, it is a 45 minute journey to get to Kawasan Falls. Moalboal is closer than other major locations so if you can, I would recommend staying there before visiting Kawasan Falls, it will be easier and much cheaper, too!
You can get a taxi from Moalboal to Kawasan. There are also local buses that depart to and from Moalboal to Kawasan everyday. There is the option of renting a scooter for 200 PHP a day, or you can negotiate with a tuk-tuk driver to take you there.
If you rent a car for a day it will cost you around 3,000 PHP and you can negotiate to have the car take you to Kawasan Falls, as well as another nearby waterfall and the famous viewpoint Osmeña Peak.
From Cebu City
If you are coming from Cebu City, there are buses that run from the city to Kawasan in the South Bus Terminal. You can take all of the buses going to Bato via Barili. It’s approximately three hours to get to Kawasan from Cebu City via bus.
Please do take note that you MUST take the one going to Bato via Barili as the one that going to Bato via Oslob stops at the Eastern side, when the Kawasan Falls is on the opposite side on the west.
If you are coming from Oslob, you should first take a bus ride to Bato then change to a bus that goes to Badian or Cebu City through Barili. The journey will take one and a half hours and the total price is around 100 PHP.
Should you do a Kawasan Falls Canyoneering Tour?
There are various local shops near the Falls (even in Moalboal) that offer Kawasan Falls canyoning / canyoneering tour packages. While there is this option, is it worth it to do one?
In my opinion, yes, absolutely. You should NEVER go canyoneering alone. If you don’t know the area well and do not have well-informed knowledge about whether the river is dangerous or not, it is much better for you to join a tour.
Even if you are travelling in a group, it is still much better to join a proper canyoneering tour with a local and knowledgeable guide to ensure your safety.
Rivers and canyons can be sneaky and there might be hidden rocks or currents in spots that seem safe, you don’t want to be that person that jumps in recklessly, gets injured and then ruins everyones holiday.
You can book yourself on a canyoneering tour once you arrive at Kawasan Falls. There are plenty of local shops there that offer canyoneering tour packages. Or you can take the option of booking one beforehand in Moalboal.
The benefit of booking one in Moalboal is that it will include the transfer from your accommodation and back. You can also book online if you want to be sure to have it booked in before you arrive.
We booked our canyoneering tour in Moalboal with our hostel for 1,500 PHP. This included all the canyoneering gears (life jackets and helmets) as well as guides, breakfast before we set off, lunch after canyoneering, and the pick up and drop off back to Moalboal.
You can also rent shoes for 100 PHP. My trainers were pretty dirty so I just decided to use those and take this as an opportunity to give them a wash (it worked pretty well)!
What to expect when canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
Tours usually start very high up the river and end at the main waterfall pool of the actual Kawasan Falls. Kawasan Falls tour packages usually last for around four hours.
When we first got off our transfer we were wondering where the hell we were, as the initial hike is far from any water, with cool views over the Cebu landscape.
After about 15 minutes of walking with a view you will have to walk down some steep steps that take you by the river, where your canyoneering adventure will start!
There will be lots of sections with small jumps where you can slide down the rocks that look like small waterfalls. There is no need to worry as the water has naturally made the rocks very smooth – like a natural slide and water park.
For most of the tour you will be walking alongside the riverbed and sometimes through it.
You might find yourself walking in the shallow parts of the river with water up to your thighs, swimming through the river and sometimes climbing over rocks to get across.
There are three main waterfalls that make up Kawasan Falls. If you’re doing a canyoneering tour you will visit them from the top one, which is less visited, down to the final one where most of the tourists (even the ones that don’t go canyoneering) stop to enjoy the falls.
To go down these big waterfalls there are some pretty high jumps that you can do and dive into the lagoons, a pretty exciting experience! If you’re not comfortable doing big dives don’t worry, there is always also the option of climbing down next to the waterfalls.
The two biggest jumps are 10 and 12 metres respectively. There is also a spot by one of the biggest waterfalls with a rope swing, where you can jump off and do a Tarzan-like dive into the turquoise water of Kawasan Falls.
Towards the end, after the big waterfalls and jumps, the walking becomes easier. You won’t be walking in the river anymore but mostly alongside it on dry land, with a proper path and steps.
There are no jumps in the final pool and waterfall, here you can simply float and relax and enjoy a drink from one of the many food shacks.
What to bring canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
As little as possible! You’ll be swimming, sliding and jumping in waterfalls so you don’t need to bring much.
I literally only just had a GoPro on me, but at times I did wish I had money with me as I got thirsty and hungry and there were multiple shacks where I could have bought snacks.
Some useful things you could bring with you or wear to go canyoneering in Kawasan Falls include:
- A dry bag if you want to bring your phone, money and other essentials
- One of those transparent pouches for your phone if you don’t have a dry bag and don’t need anything else other than your phone
- Or even better, a GoPro to document your canyoneering
- Shorts for the girls, you don’t want to slide down the waterfalls in bikini bottoms as you might scratch your bum on the rocks
- Shoes you don’t mind getting wet
Best place to stay to go canyoneering in Kawasan Falls
As mentioned earlier Moalboal is the easiest place to stay to then reach Kawasan Falls. Not only that, it’s also the cool backpacker area. It’s a lovely town with shops, bars and restaurants along the beach, and a popular spot also for snorkelling and scuba diving with turtles and sardines.
We stayed at MoHo Hostel in Moalboal. It’s a very decent hostel with big beds in the dorms with curtain for privacy. It has very cheap drinks (50 PHP for a rum & coke and they have 2-for-1 happy hour every night!) which makes it a very sociable hostel, with people coming from outside to drink there.
Perfect if you want to socialise but maybe not so much if you want to sleep!
If you book your Kawasan canyoneering tour with them they will include also breakfast. If you want something more quiet my friend Annie stayed at West Coast Beach House, closer to the sea, and said she loved it.
Have you been canyoneering in Kawasan Falls before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
Even if you don’t try this experience in Kawasan Falls in the Philippines I highly recommend trying canyoning at some point in your life. Jumping, sliding and swimming in a canyon sound like a crazy way to spend your day but trust me, it’s lots of fun and you’ll be glad you’ve done it.
Kawasan Falls in Cebu is an especially good place to do it thanks to the turquoise water and beautiful surroundings. All in all, one of the best days I spent in the Philippines!
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