Top 15 Best APAYAO TOURIST SPOTS + Things to Do

Apayao Tourist Spots: Discover the Best Things to Do in Apayao Province

Apayao Province is a hidden gem in the Cordillera Region of the Philippines, boasting a dynamic landscape marked by pristine waterways, thriving old-growth forests, and subterranean wonders. As the home of the Isnag tribe, the province also celebrates a vibrant indigenous culture and noteworthy environmental conservation policies. Visitors to Apayao can expect to be treated to a unique, authentic, adventurous, and educational experience.

One of the main draws of Apayao is its abundance of natural wonders. Tourists can explore the Lussok Crystal Cave, a stunning underground world filled with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, or take a dip in the refreshing waters of Maxibab Falls and Carmella Falls. For those who prefer a more challenging adventure, Mt. Solo offers a challenging hike that rewards climbers with a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. Other must-see tourist attractions in Apayao include the Dupag Rock Formation, a cluster of jagged limestone boulders that presents a real challenge to climbers, and the Maton Underground River, which takes visitors on a scenic boat ride through a network of underground caves and tunnels.

Natural Wonders of Apayao

Apayao province is home to a plethora of natural wonders that will leave visitors in awe of its beauty. From underground rivers to majestic waterfalls, Apayao offers nature lovers a unique and unforgettable adventure.

Dupag Rock Formation by Omell Cruz via Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho FB Page
Dupag Rock Formation by Omell Cruz via Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho FB Page

Dupag Rock Formation

Tucked away in the lush Apayao province lies the majestic Dupag Rock Formation, a breathtaking natural wonder that has been shaped by the wind and rain over thousands of years. Visitors can explore the area and marvel at the unique shapes and patterns of the rocks, which stand 7 to 8 feet tall.

Climbing each one is no easy feat, so it is highly suggested that each guest don the proper footwear and protective gear to avoid accidents. But the effort is worth it as the highest peak, aptly named Father Rock, offers a sweeping view of the neighboring fields, rivers, and valleys. It’s no surprise that the unique topography of the area made it the preferred hiding place of locals and insurgents during past wars and guerilla uprisings.

To reach the labyrinth of limestone boulders, visitors must take a 30 to 45-minute trek up a hill, where various fruit-bearing trees—chesa, namot, and tebbeg, to name a few—serve as shade and shelter to visitors and different species of birds. Embark on a journey to the Dupag Rock Formation and discover a captivating landscape that will take your breath away.

Gololan Falls by Carol Ann Talattag Antonio via FB
Gololan Falls by Carol Ann Talattag Antonio via FB

Gololan Falls

For those seeking an unforgettable adventure, visiting the stunning Gololan Falls in the Cordillera Mountains of Apayao, Philippines, is a must. Surrounded by lush forests and natural pools, visitors can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

The journey to Gololan Falls involves a trek through scenic trails and river crossings, immersing travelers in the untouched beauty of Apayao’s wilderness. Hiring a local guide who is familiar with the terrain is advisable to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Despite its remote location, the journey to Gololan Falls offers a unique opportunity to explore the unspoiled natural wonders of Apayao and connect with its pristine wilderness.

Lussok Cave by Tony Corado via Apayao Tourism FB Page
Lussok Cave by Tony Corado via Apayao Tourism FB Page

Lussok Cave and Underground River

For adventurous souls seeking to explore the mysterious underworld, the Lussok Crystal Cave and Underground River are must-see destinations. With winding tunnels and glittering rock formations, these unique natural wonders offer an awe-inspiring glimpse into the hidden depths of the earth.

Visitors can explore the seven-chamber Lussok Crystal Cave in Barangay Dagupan in Apayao’s capital, Luna, a former hideout for local rebels and Japanese soldiers during World War II. For an unforgettable experience, take a 200-meter boat ride through the Lussok Crystal Cave and Underground River.

Manacota Cave and Underground River
Manacota Cave and Underground River

Manacota Cave and Underground River in Luna, Apayao

Have you ever wanted to experience a truly unique adventure? Look no further than the Manacota Cave and Underground River in Marag, Luna, Apayao! Here, you can take a scenic path to the entrance and marvel at the crystal clear water and beautiful cave.

But the real adventure begins when you take a ride on the rapids inside the cave! You’ll be accompanied by a couple of boatmen, one steering with a single blade paddle and the other keeping the boat balanced. As you travel 700m of crystal-clear water in Marag Valley, you may even spot various species of fish, such as tilapia, carp, eel, and palilang.

And depending on the weather conditions, the water level can rise as high as 30 to 40 feet, leaving trunks and branches lodged in the cave’s ceiling. So what are you waiting for? Come experience the thrill of shooting the rapids inside a cave!

The Agamata National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

A paradise for nature lovers, Agamata National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Calanasan, Apayao, and is home to an abundance of rare species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. With its delaminated forestland straddling the Ilocos Norte – Apayao boundary, this protected area is the perfect destination for those seeking to explore the wonders of the natural world.

From hiking and camping to nature tripping and birdwatching, the Agamata National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary has something for everyone. With no tourist facilities, this is the perfect opportunity to experience the beauty of nature in its most raw and untouched form.

Mount Solo photo via Provincial Government of Apayao
Mount Solo photo via Provincial Government of Apayao

Mt. Solo

A visit to Mt. Solo, the tallest mountain in Apayao, is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. With its challenging terrain and breathtaking views, it is no wonder why it is considered one of the most sought-after destinations in the region. From the summit, you can take in the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it an unforgettable experience.

Historical Landmarks

Apayao province boasts a rich history and culture that can be seen in its historical landmarks.

Mataguisi Church Ruins

Located in the province of Apayao in the Philippines, Mataguisi Church is an incredible building steeped in centuries of history, dating back to the colonial era. It stands as a symbol of the local community’s strong faith and commitment to preserving their religious traditions, and its unique architecture and design make it a must-see landmark for history buffs.

Originally built in the 1600s by Spanish missionaries, it was destroyed during the Philippine Revolution in 1899, yet the ruins remain to this day, serving as a reminder of the province’s colonial past and providing visitors with an insight into the region’s cultural heritage.

Outdoor Activities

Apayao Province is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. There’s something for everyone, from swimming and diving to hiking and adventure. Here are some of the best outdoor activities to do in Apayao:

Bayugao Falls

Hidden away in the municipality of Luna lies Bayugao Falls, a three-layered waterfall composed of six cascades and three decks of natural pools. Rising about 12 meters from each other, the second pool is the most suitable for swimming, with a depth of 10 meters.

A fallen tree trunk in the second pool adds a unique character to the falls, making it an ideal spot for a refreshing dip. Located just a few kilometers away from the Poblacion, Bayugao Falls is a testament to the beauty of Apayao and a reminder of why this province is known as “Cordillera’s Last Frontier of Nature’s Richness”.

Maton Underground River

Its crystal-clear river runs through high-rise, vertical rock walls of mountains. Its invigorating, cold water is suitable for swimming, diving, and rock climbing. Surrounded by lush forests and massive boulders, Maton River is an enchanting stream in Lower Maton. It flows into a small cascade and drains into a small pool at the bottom.

There are numerous pools fit for swimming and boating. Along the lower Maton, there is a favorite pool with a small cascade. Its waters are cool and crystal-clear. There are numerous rock formations in the area, which are ideal spots for jumping. Oh, the highest of these is a 15-foot outcrop. This is a must-try for every daredevil. For the more laid-back visitor, the varying levels of the riverbed make for a good back massage. Just make sure to find a surface sturdy enough for you to lie on!

Apayao Province offers a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventurer, or just looking for a relaxing escape, there’s something for everyone in Apayao.

Festivals and Local Culture

Apayao Province is known for its vibrant festivals and rich local culture.

Say-am Festival

The Say-am Festival of Apayao is a vibrant celebration of the unique culture and traditions of the Isnag people. Every February 14, visitors can experience the excitement of the festival with its colorful street dances, cultural presentations and grand parade.

It is a joyous occasion for the Isnags to express their gratitude to the higher supreme unseen, ALAWAGAN, through rituals, pep songs, native chants and dances such as TALIP and TAD-DO. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this wonderful celebration!

Major Towns and Municipalities

Apayao Province is divided into eight municipalities: Luna, Pudtol, Calanasan, Flora, Kabugao, Conner, Santa Marcela, and San Isidro. Each of these municipalities has its own unique charm and attractions that are worth exploring.

Luna is a small town known for its rice terraces and scenic views of the Cordillera Mountains. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the town’s rice fields and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

Pudtol is home to the Maton Underground River, a popular tourist attraction that features a natural underground river system. Visitors can take a boat ride through the river and marvel at the stunning rock formations and crystal clear waters.

Calanasan is the largest municipality in Apayao and is known for its lush forests and scenic waterfalls. The town is also home to the Isneg Museum, which showcases the rich culture and history of the Isneg people.

Flora is a bustling town that serves as the commercial center of Apayao. Visitors can explore the town’s markets and sample local delicacies, such as the famous “pinikpikan” chicken.

Kabugao is a charming town that is home to the Dupag Rock Formation, a cluster of jagged limestone boulders that measure around 7 to 8 feet high. Climbing to the peaks presents a real challenge especially if you are not an experienced climber.

Conner is known for its scenic rice terraces and crystal clear rivers. Visitors can take a dip in the town’s natural swimming holes or hike through its lush forests.

Santa Marcela is a small town that is home to the Lussok Crystal Cave, a natural wonder that features stunning rock formations and crystal clear waters. Visitors can take a guided tour through the cave and marvel at its beauty.

San Isidro is a quiet town that is known for its scenic views of the Cordillera Mountains. Visitors can take a leisurely hike through the town’s rice fields and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

Getting to Apayao

Apayao is a province located in the Cordillera Region of Luzon in the Philippines. It is a remote and less explored destination that offers a unique experience to travelers seeking adventure and nature trips. To get to Apayao, visitors can choose from several transportation options depending on their budget and preferences.

By Bus

The most common way to get to Apayao is by bus. Several bus companies operate daily trips from Manila to Tuguegarao City, the capital of Cagayan province. From Tuguegarao, travelers can take another bus or van to reach Apayao. The travel time from Manila to Tuguegarao is around 12 hours, while the travel time from Tuguegarao to Apayao varies depending on the destination and transportation.

By Van

Another option to get to Apayao is by van. Some van operators offer direct trips from Manila to Apayao, but the travel time is longer than taking a bus. The advantage of taking a van is that it is faster and more convenient, especially for travelers who want to avoid the hassle of transferring from one vehicle to another.

By Air

Currently, there are no commercial airports in Apayao, but the nearest airport is located in Tuguegarao City. The Tuguegarao Airport serves several airlines that operate flights to and from Manila, Clark, and other domestic destinations. From the airport, travelers can take a bus or van to reach Apayao.

Best Time to Visit Apayao

Apayao is a province in the northernmost part of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. It is a perfect destination for travelers who want to explore its unique beauty. The province offers stunning natural scenery and vibrant cultural experiences that awe visitors.

The best time to visit Apayao is during the dry season, which runs from November to May. The weather is generally sunny during this period, and outdoor activities and sightseeing are more enjoyable. The temperature is also cooler, making it perfect for exploring the province’s natural wonders.

The rainy season in Apayao is from June to October, characterized by frequent rainfall and occasional typhoons. While the province is still accessible during this period, visitors may encounter difficulties traveling to some tourist spots due to the weather conditions.

Visitors who plan to visit Apayao during the rainy season should be prepared for the weather by bringing appropriate clothing and gear. They should also check the weather forecast before traveling to the province.

Accommodations in Apayao

Apayao Province offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets and preferences. From traditional homestays to modern hotels, visitors can find a place to stay that meets their needs.


For travelers looking for an authentic experience, homestays are a great option. Homestays allow visitors to stay with a local family, experience their way of life, and learn about their culture. There are several homestays in Apayao that offer comfortable accommodations and delicious home-cooked meals.

Hotels and Resorts

For those who prefer more modern amenities and services, Apayao also has a few hotels and resorts. These accommodations offer comfortable rooms, restaurants, and other facilities such as swimming pools and spas. Some of the hotels and resorts also offer tour packages that include guided tours to the province’s top tourist spots.

Guesthouses and Inns

Guesthouses and inns are also available in Apayao. These accommodations offer comfortable rooms at affordable rates. They may not have as many amenities as hotels and resorts, but they are a great option for budget-conscious travelers.


For adventurous travelers, camping is a great option in Apayao. The province has several campsites that offer a unique experience of sleeping under the stars. Visitors can pitch their tents and enjoy the natural beauty of the province.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the must-visit tourist spots in Apayao Province?

Apayao Province is home to many breathtaking natural wonders and unique cultural experiences. Some of the must-visit tourist spots include the Dupag Rock Formation, Maton Underground River, Lussok Crystal Cave, Maxibab Falls, and Carmella Falls. Visitors can also explore the stunning nature views, exciting waterfalls, and lush forests of the province.

What are some popular built attractions in Apayao?

In addition to its natural wonders, Apayao Province also has several popular built attractions. These include the Calanasan Church, the Luna Watchtower, and the Apayao Provincial Capitol. Visitors can also explore the vibrant culture of Apayao during the annual Indigenous Games Festival, a celebration that features traditional sports, music, and dance performances by the province’s indigenous communities.

What makes Mt. Solo in Apayao a must-see destination?

Mt. Solo is a must-see destination in Apayao Province due to its stunning natural beauty and unique hiking experience. Visitors can hike to the summit of the mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The hike is challenging but rewarding, and visitors can also explore the nearby rice terraces and traditional villages.

What are some of the unique delicacies to try in Apayao?

Apayao Province is known for its unique and delicious cuisine. Some of the must-try delicacies include the Pinikpikan, a traditional dish made from chicken that has been beaten to death, and the Inun-unan, a dish made from fish that has been marinated in vinegar. Visitors can also try the province’s famous rice cakes, which come in a variety of flavors and are often served during special occasions.

What are some nearby tourist spots to visit from Apayao, such as Abra or Benguet?

Apayao Province is located in the Cordillera Administrative Region of the Philippines, which is home to many other popular tourist destinations. Visitors can explore nearby provinces such as Abra, Benguet, and Ifugao, which are known for their stunning natural beauty and unique cultural experiences. Some of the must-visit tourist spots in these provinces include the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Sagada Caves, and the Baguio City.

What are some historical places to visit in Apayao?

Apayao Province has a rich history and is home to several historical sites and landmarks. Visitors can explore the Calanasan Church, built during the Spanish colonial period. The Apayao Provincial Capitol is also a popular destination, featuring a museum showcasing the province’s history and culture.

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