Turquoise blue water, 3 stages of waterfalls and canyoneering – there’s really nothing to complain about… except perhaps the crowds. Kawasan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines but it’s difficult to enjoy it in all its glory when you have hundreds of people to share it with. We recently visited and were completely blown away despite our high expectations. Having the entire place pretty much to ourselves made a huge difference. When we arrived, the falls were empty but at 2 pm, it was PACKED and we couldn’t wait to get out of there. So, here’s our guide to visiting Kawasan Falls without the crowds and on a budget!
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How to avoid the crowds
Kawasan Falls can be reached very easily by any point on Cebu so weekends are always a lot busier. The best way to beat the crowds is to go on a weekday and early in the morning – we’re talking 7am early. If you’re coming from Cebu City, the bus takes 3.5 – 4 hours and buses don’t start running until around 5 am so it’s impossible for you to get here until after 8 or 9 am. Instead, we recommend that you stay in Moalboal the night before. The bus from Moalboal only takes 30-40 minutes. We arrived at 7:30 am and had the whole place to ourselves with the exception of 2 other people. The restaurants weren’t even open! This meant we could just enjoy the place free of noise and touts and take plenty of photos without a tonne of people everywhere.
If you plan on going canyoneering, it’s best to visit the waterfalls first. The iconic photos of Kawasan Falls are taken at the first waterfall but the last waterfall is just as beautiful. There is a short uphill walk to the others and we also enjoyed these to ourselves early in the morning.
The cheapest way to get to Kawasan Falls
A pre-booked canyoneering tour is around 1,500-1,700 pesos and restricts your freedom to explore the falls before starting the canyoneering. Most tours start around 8 am so by the time if you finish your canyoneering trip, the falls will be busy. The cheapest and easiest way to get to Kawasan Falls is by bus. From Cebu City, go to the South Bus Terminal and hop on any bus bound for Badian. From anywhere else, just wait on the main road and wave down a bus heading south. Let the driver know you want to go to the main entrance of Kawasan Falls (rather than the canyoneering entrance) and from there, it’s a 20-minute easy walk to the main the waterfall. Buses are quite frequent and have no set timetable so you don’t need to book in advance.
Bus from/to Moalboal: 15-20 pesos ($0.50AUD / $0.35USD) each way (depending on if the bus has air-conditioning)
Bus from/to Cebu City: 130 – 150 pesos ($4AUD / $3USD) each way (depending on if the bus has air-conditioning)
Kawasan Falls entrance fee: 40 pesos ($1AUD / $0.75USD)
Canyoneering: 1,000 pesos ($26AUD / $20USD)
Locker: 100 pesos ($2.60AUD / $2USD)
Total per person from Moalboal: 70 pesos ($2AUD / $1.50USD) or 1,070 pesos ($29AUD / $22USD) with canyoneering
Canyoneering: is it worth it?
If you love adventure, then canyoneering is a MUST! Rather than booking a tour company in advance, we picked a guide after we finished exploring the falls for ourselves. Mike gave us a great price and we recommend that you get in contact with him on Facebook. A guide is compulsory and there are a couple of different registration points so there is no way to avoid this or get through on your own.
The canyoneering starts at a separate entrance which can only be reached by motorbike. From there, it’s a 30-minute hike to the river. The great thing about canyoneering at Kawasan Falls is there are many different options to suit your adventure level. You can go crazy and do every cliff jump varying from 1 – 10 metres (I highly recommend this option, it was a tonne of fun) or navigate around these if you don’t feel comfortable jumping. But come on, you’re already here, so give it a crack! The canyoneering starts upstream and you will travel down the river until you reach the third waterfall at Kawasan. For safety, every person is required to wear a life jacket and helmet. You will be traversing through some pretty slippery and rocky areas so come prepared to get wet and wear good shoes!
What to bring
- Water and snacks
- Camera / GoPro
- Sandals / water shoes / runners if you are canyoneering. Thongs/flip flops if you’re not.
- Dry bag if you have it but not absolutely necessary
Do you have any other tips for Kawasan Falls that you think we should share? Let us know in the comments below!