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Overview

At the southern end of the Philippines archipelago, Mindanao is vast and varied, covering every kind of terrain, from palm-fringed beaches to jungle-covered volcanoes. Everything that attracts travelers to the Philippines can be found here — teeming coral reefs, perfect sands, bubbling hot springs, jungle waterfalls, tribal villages, frenetic festivals — but the island's reputation is marred by an ongoing insurgency between Islamic separatists and the Philippine government. Certainly, some parts of the island are best avoided — particularly the southern islands and the area around Cotabato — but much of Mindanao is trouble-free, and this is ...

At the southern end of the Philippines archipelago, Mindanao is vast and varied, covering every kind of terrain, from palm-fringed beaches to jungle-covered volcanoes. Everything that attracts travelers to the Philippines can be found here — teeming coral reefs, perfect sands, bubbling hot springs, jungle waterfalls, tribal villages, frenetic festivals — but the island's reputation is marred by an ongoing insurgency between Islamic separatists and the Philippine government. Certainly, some parts of the island are best avoided — particularly the southern islands and the area around Cotabato — but much of Mindanao is trouble-free, and this is the best place in the Philippines to connect with the indigenous culture that existed on the islands before the arrival of the Spanish and Americans. There are sprawling cities dotted all around the island, but the highlights of Mindanao are on the north coast, where volcanic Camiguin and wave-lashed Siargao call out to fans of island adventure. As well as rugged trekking, excellent diving and spectacular surfing — best experienced at Siargao's Cloud Nine break — the island boasts pristine national parks, home to species that are only just being cataloged by scientists.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The eastern most island in the Philippines
  • Language: Cebuano, Filipino, Spanish, and English
  • Currency: Philippine Peso
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to June, avoiding the annual rains and the typhoon season.