Tourist Spots in Mindanao: Top 49 Must-Visit Beaches, Islands, Mountains & Waterfalls!

Mindanao, in the southern part of the Philippines, is a treasure trove of beautiful places waiting to be explored. From lush mountains to crystal-clear waters, this island has it all. Here’s a simple guide to the top 49 tourist spots in Mindanao that you should not miss.

Is It Safe to Travel to Mindanao?

Travel safety in Mindanao varies by area and can be impacted by both local and broader national security issues. The Philippine government has declared a “State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao. This indicates that while there may be a general concern about safety due to lawless violence, it does not blanket the entire region uniformly. Travelers are advised to monitor local media closely and adjust their plans according to new information. Further emphasizing safety concerns, on December 3, 2023, there was a reported terrorist attack in Marawi City, resulting in fatalities and injuries, highlighting that terrorist attacks could happen anywhere in the Philippines, including Mindanao.

However, it is also important to note that not all areas in Mindanao carry the same level of risk. Canada recently updated its travel advisory, removing Dinagat Islands from the list of places to avoid non-essential travel, along with other areas in Mindanao like Bukidnon and Camiguin, suggesting that these locations might pose less of a threat to safety. Additionally, a perspective shared by local sources suggests that the security situation may not be as dire across the entire island as often perceived, and that many parts of Mindanao remain safe and welcoming to visitors.

To ensure the most up-to-date and comprehensive advice, it’s crucial to consult multiple sources, including travel advisories from your country, local news, and information from travel professionals familiar with Mindanao.

Top 49 Must-Visit Tourist Spots in Mindanao

Siargao Island

This surfing paradise boasts some of the best waves in the world, making it a must-visit for surfers and adventure seekers. Its laid-back atmosphere and stunning natural beauty, including pristine beaches and crystal-clear lagoons, make Siargao a tropical haven.


Known for its lanzones fruit festival, Camiguin is an island province offering a variety of attractions from hot springs to a sunken cemetery that’s now a diving site. Its volcanic landscapes and natural beauty invite relaxation and exploration.

Samal Island

Just a short ferry ride from Davao City, Samal Island offers a retreat with its white sandy beaches, clear waters, and numerous resorts. It’s an ideal destination for those looking to unwind or engage in water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving.

Tinuy-an Falls, Surigao del Sur

Often compared to Niagara Falls because of its wide curtain of water, Tinuy-an Falls is a breathtaking three-tiered waterfall. It’s surrounded by lush greenery, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers.

Enchanted River, Hinatuan

A stunningly clear and deep blue river rumored to be enchanted. This hidden gem in Surigao del Sur attracts visitors with its mysterious depths and the folklore surrounding its unexplored caves and underwater passages.

Mount Apo, Davao

As the Philippines’ highest peak, Mount Apo is a dream trek for many hikers. The challenging trails lead adventurers through diverse ecosystems, hot springs, lakes, and a view at the summit that’s absolutely rewarding.

Aliwagwag Falls, Davao Oriental

Considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines, Aliwagwag Falls is a majestic series of cascading waters amidst lush forest. It’s a captivating sight and offers refreshing pools for swimming.

Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

A serene lake in the highlands, known for its cultural significance to the T’boli tribe. Visitors can enjoy cultural immersion, explore seven waterfalls via a thrilling zip-line adventure, and indulge in the tranquility of the lake.

White Island, Camiguin

An uninhabited sandbar that offers expansive views of Mt. Hibok-Hibok and the sea. Its bareness is its beauty, providing a serene spot for sunbathing, photography, and enjoying the horizon where sky meets sea.


This off-the-beaten-path destination offers unspoiled islands, rich marine life, and a glimpse into the Sama-Bajau culture. Its remote location promises an adventure for those looking to explore untouched beaches and vibrant underwater ecosystems.

Zamboanga City

Known as ‘Asia’s Latin City’, Zamboanga City is famous for its colorful vinta boats that showcase the rich and vibrant culture of the local Badjao and Tausug people. Visitors can also explore the historic Fort Pilar, a 17th-century Spanish fortress, and the bustling seafood market.

Britania Islands, Surigao del Sur

This group of 24 islands and islets offers pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it ideal for island hopping, swimming, and picnicking. Each island has its own charm and is relatively undeveloped, providing a serene escape.


Known for its vast pineapple plantations, Bukidnon offers a refreshing Highland climate and attractions like the Dahilayan Adventure Park, which boasts one of the longest ziplines in Asia. It’s an agri-tourism destination perfect for nature lovers and thrill-seekers.

Dahican Beach, Mati

A 7-kilometer stretch of white sand famous for its excellent surfing and skimboarding conditions. Dahican is also a sanctuary for sea turtles and a popular spot for beach camping and watching the sunrise.

Monfort Bat Sanctuary, Samal Island

Hosting the largest colony of fruit bats in the world, this conservation site provides an opportunity to witness millions of Geoffroy’s Rousette fruit bats up close in their natural cave environment.

Gumasa Beach, Sarangani

Referred to as the “Boracay of the South” because of its white sand beaches and turquoise waters, Gumasa Beach offers a more secluded and peaceful alternative to the more famous beaches in the Philippines.

Naked Island, Siargao

A stark and stunning 200-meter-long sandbar with no vegetation, making it perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and enjoying uninterrupted views of Siargao’s aquatic landscape.

Cagayan de Oro

Known as the “Adventure Capital of the Philippines,” Cagayan de Oro offers thrilling white-water rafting experiences along the Cagayan de Oro River, plus adventures like rappelling and zip-lining nearby.

Iligan City

Often called the “City of Majestic Waterfalls” because of its numerous waterfalls, including the famous Maria Cristina and Tinago Falls. The city is an ideal spot for nature treks and refreshing swims in natural pools.

Mount Hamiguitan, Davao Oriental

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its pygmy forest where trees naturally dwarfed over centuries form a unique natural bonsai landscape, providing a distinct ecosystem that supports diverse wildlife including the Philippine Eagle.


This region offers a mix of ecotourism spots and vibrant cultural experiences, spanning adventures in the vast Lake Sebu, visits to the T’boli communities, and the tuna-rich city of General Santos.

Hinatuan Bay, Surigao del Sur

Home to the mystical Enchanted River and stunning, less-traveled beaches that provide a quieter alternative to the well-known tourist spots, ideal for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

Tinago Falls, Iligan

Nestled in a deep gorge accessible by 500 steps, Tinago Falls is a breathtakingly beautiful waterfall where visitors can swim in its cool, azure pool or rent a raft to go under the cascading water.

Davao City

As one of the largest cities in the Philippines, Davao offers a blend of urban comforts and natural attractions. Home to the Philippine Eagle Center, it provides sanctuary to the endangered Philippine Eagle and the majestic Mount Apo.

Surigao del Norte

Beyond being the gateway to Siargao, it features attractions like Bucas Grande, known for its enchanting lagoons, and the Sohoton Cove where non-stinging jellyfish can be found, making it a unique swimming experience.

Mantigue Island, Camiguin

A small island known for white sandy beaches, clear waters, and a marine sanctuary with a diverse ecosystem. A perfect spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and enjoying tropical island serenity.

Dapitan City

Historical city where Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was exiled. Visitors can see the Rizal Shrine and learn about his contributions to the country’s history.

Surigao City

A busy urban center that serves as the jump-off point to various surfing spots and island adventures in Surigao del Norte. It’s a hub for commerce and transportation in the region.

Sarangani Bay

Known for clear waters ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and a diverse range of water sports. It’s also an important habitat for protected marine species.

Apo Island, Davao Oriental

Not to be mistaken with the country’s highest peak, Mount Apo. Apo Island is a diver’s paradise with stunning coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.

Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur

A place rich in Maranao culture, offering visitors an opportunity to explore local traditions, cuisine, and crafts from the region.

Pagadian City

Famous for its inclined tricycle design adapted to hilly terrains and for providing access to a number of quiet, scenic beaches in the region.

Zamboanga del Norte

The region offers diverse attractions from historical sites to natural wonders including diving spots that showcase the rich marine biodiversity of the area.

Lanuza, Surigao del Sur

This town provides a laid-back atmosphere for surf enthusiasts and beachgoers looking for a more subdued experience than other high-profile surf locales.

Balut Island, Sarangani

Known for its volcanic landscape, hot springs, and vibrant marine ecosystem ideal for snorkeling and diving adventures.

Tagum City, Davao del Norte

Celebrated for its festivals and events, as well as its eco-parks that provide family-friendly outdoor activities.

Barobo, Surigao del Sur

A coastal town noted for its beautiful scenery and agricultural land, offering a pastoral, peaceful retreat.

Matanao, Davao del Sur

With its picturesque landscapes and fertile soil, Matanao is known for its agricultural produce and scenic beauty.

Kidapawan City

Serves as the main gateway to Mount Apo for climbers; it’s also known for its hot springs, brought to life by the geothermal activity in the region.

Tandag City, Surigao del Sur

Famous for its sandy beaches, of which Cagwait White Beach stands out for its powdery white sand and relaxing vibe.

Kapalong, Davao del Norte

Offers ecotourism wonders like caves, waterfalls, and lush landscapes perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Mati City, Davao Oriental

Known for Dahican Beach’s surf and skim spot and the cultural and historical exhibits of the Subangan Museum.

Isulan, Sultan Kudarat

A town filled with historical and cultural landmarks, reflecting its rich history and the diversity of Mindanao.

Bislig, Surigao del Sur

Home to Tinuy-an Falls, often nicknamed the “Niagara of the Philippines,” and the serene Lawigan Beach.

Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte

Recognized for its refreshing climate and scenic views of rural landscapes and the nearby mountains.

Malapatan, Sarangani

Offers visitors a chance to enjoy unspoiled beaches and immerse in the local culture of the indigenous groups in the area.

Talakag, Bukidnon

Known for its cool climate, dense forests, and theme parks that are well-suited for family-friendly adventures.

Cotabato City

Explore the rich cultural heritage of the city and visit the majestic Grand Mosque, the largest in the Philippines.

Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte

A coastal city steeped in history due to Rizal’s exile, boasting attractions like the Dakak Beach Resort with its gorgeous sandy beaches and water activities.

In conclusion

Mindanao stands as a magnificent testament to the Philippines’ vast natural beauty, cultural richness, and spirited adventure. As we have explored, this vibrant island offers an astonishing array of destinations for every type of traveler. From the idyllic shores of Samal and Siargao Islands to the majestic heights of Mount Apo, and from the serene cascade of Tinuy-an Falls to the lush landscapes of Bukidnon, Mindanao is a mosaic of breathtaking sites waiting to be discovered. Each of the top 49 must-visit beaches, islands, mountains, and waterfalls showcases the diverse wonders of Mindanao, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in its unique beauty and charm.

While concerns about safety have been a topic of discussion, a mindful approach to travel—recognizing areas of peace as well as those requiring caution—opens up a world of possibilities for exploration and adventure. Armed with knowledge, respect, and a spirit of adventure, visitors can safely experience the enchanting allure of Mindanao’s most prized destinations. Let Mindanao’s natural wonders captivate your senses, its vibrant culture enrich your experiences, and its unparalleled landscapes call you to adventure. Mindanao is more than just a destination; it’s a journey into the heart of the Philippines’ untamed beauty.

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