Dao Falls in Samboan is one of the most popular waterfalls in South Cebu, with an incredible trek leading up to it. Having been to Dao Falls a few times now, we definitely consider it one of our favourites, mostly because of the insanely beautiful hike upriver that takes you to the falls.
It’s not a long trek and can be easily enjoyed in just a couple hours, so we paired our Dau Falls trip with an additional stop at Candayvic Falls, directly above Dao Falls. It was one of the best days we had in South Cebu and we absolutely recommend checking out both falls while you’re in the area.
HOW TO GET TO DAO FALLS
Dao Falls is located in the town of Samboan in South Cebu. It’s super easy to find on Google Maps as it has a pin. If you need help with directions, the locals will be able to point you in the right direction and there’s plenty of signage at the turn off along the highway.
It’s at least 4 hours from Cebu City to Dao Falls, so we absolutely recommend staying in Moalboal or Oslob and exploring the south from either of those bases. Check out our South Cebu series here for some inspo.
WHAT TO BRING TO DAO FALLS CEBU
Prepare for your trip to Dao Falls with our must have travel essentials.
Waterproof backpack & phone case: Earth Pak 35L or 55L Heavy Duty Backpack, IPX8 Waterproof Phone Case Included (click for price)
Quick dry microfiber travel towel: Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Travel Towel (click for price)
Insulated water bottle: Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Water Bottle (click for price)
Hiking Sandals: Teva Women’s Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price), Teva Mens Hurricane Hiking Sandals (click for price)
If you’re interested in photography and/or videography this is the gear we can’t live without:
To see our complete camera gear read this post here.
HIKING TO DAU FALLS SAMBOAN
The hike to Dao Falls isn’t all that challenging and only calls for moderate fitness levels. It starts off with a steep decline into the jungle below, but the path is paved and it’s not very far. The sketchiest part is definitely the bamboo bridge, but they were talking about fixing some of the holes so maybe they’ve done that since our visit.
The trail leads you to the river in the canyon and from here you walk upstream for around 20 minutes or so. It’s a beautiful trail alongside crystal blue cascades and dense tropical forest. There have been landslides in this canyon which is why helmets in particular spots are definitely required, just to be safe!
Our favourite part of the whole Dao Falls trek is the snake, well that’s what we call it anyway. It’s an S shaped bend in the canyon right before the falls, with deep, milky blue water and a small waterfall at one end. It’s such a picturesque spot and we could spend hours taking photos and videos there. For us, it’s even more magical than the actual waterfall.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT DAO FALLS SAMBOAN
Just after the snake is a sketchy staircase going up the side of the canyon and up to Dao Falls. This is where you get your first glimpse of the main waterfall and the lower levels cascading over the rocks.
The grand finale of Dao Falls is the 40 metre waterfall at the very end of the canyon. It’s a very unique landscape, almost as if someone’s taken a big scoop out of the rock wall. The bowl at the bottom is filled with pristine, blue water, and is deep enough for a refreshing dip.
We so desperately wanted to get drone photos from the bottom but we couldn’t get a strong enough GPS signal. After a swim and a little chill time we made our way out of the canyon and back up to our car. From here we flew our drone and were able to see the full cascades of Dao Falls.
VISIT CANDAYVIC FALLS
The small waterfalls above Dao Falls are part of Candayvic Falls, a stunning jungle paradise that flows down into Dao Falls. After our trip to Dao Falls we continued our adventure to Candayvic Falls, a much lesser known waterfall but absolutely somewhere you should visit while you’re in town. Read our guide to Candayvic Falls here.
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WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTH CEBU
Southern Cebu is where all the adventure is at, from waterfalls and whale sharks to island hopping and diving. When visiting anywhere in the south, the best place to stay is Moalboal. It has the most accommodation options, and is a fun little town with dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars. Check out our top four picks below for where to stay in Moalboal.
BUDGET/HOSTEL: CHIEF MAU
Right on the main strip of Panagsama Road you’ll find Chief Mau, a fun and social hostel that dubs itself the chillest place in town. Clean, modern and affordable, boasting a restaurant, bar and billiards, Chief Mau is a favourite amongst backpackers
MIDSCALE: ADAM’S VIEW HOTEL
Simple but with all the amenities and facilities you need – including a massive pool – Adam’s View Hotel is our top pick for those looking for a little more luxury than a backpackers. Located in the main town, Adam’s View Hotel is right next to Gaisano Mall, but still close enough to the action of Panagsama Beach to remain convenient.
LUXURY: TURTLE BAY DIVE RESORT
If you have deep pockets and an appreciation for the finer things in life, Turtle Bay Dive Resort is the place for you. Tucked away on a private cove in the quieter part of town, this luxury resort is perfect for couples looking for a little exclusivity.
AIRBNB: LRS APARTMENT
We can personally attest to how great LRS Apartment is, having spent two weeks there. Aside from a beautiful private pool, the apartment itself is modern, well furnished and spacious enough for a couple. (And a cat!) It’s just a 5 minute drive from the hustle and bustle of the restaurants and bars along Panagsama Road, but far enough away to offer a little peace and quiet. We can’t recommend LRS Moalboal enough!
MORE CEBU TRAVEL GUIDES
Candayvic Falls Samboan
Kabutongan Falls Malabuyoc
Inambakan Falls Ginatilan
Kawasan Falls Badian
Montpellier Falls Alegria
Cancalanog Falls Alegria
Binalayan Falls Samboan
Balaygsawa Falls Samboan