When it comes to swimming spots in the Philippines, beaches often take centre stage — for good reason! But while the country’s white sand beaches may be captivating, the archipelago’s tropical magic doesn’t stop there. Beyond our pristine shores, the Philippines is also home to tidal pools, rock pools, and secluded lagoons in abundance. Tucked away in scenic landscapes that are often off the beaten path, these are the strikingly beautiful swimming holes in the Philippines for adventurous travellers.
Natural swimming holes you must add to your Philippine bucket list
1. Magpupungko Tidal Pool – Siargao, Surigao del Norte
Here’s the thing: the Surfing Capital of the Philippines offers much more than just ride-worthy waves. Beyond the famous Cloud 9, hip cafes, and thriving nightlife, Siargao is home to spectacular island scenery, from boundless coconut fields to sun-drenched shores.
On top of our Siargao wish list is Magpupungko Tidal Pool, a strikingly blue tidal pool facing the ocean. When the tide is low, it’s the perfect depth for a refreshing swim, while jagged boulders protect the swimming spot from the tumultuous ocean. Here, you’ll see a good mix of tourists and locals enjoying a relaxing swim and cliff-jumping.
Make sure to visit during the low tide, though; when the tide is high, the entire pool area becomes completely submerged. Low tide in this area typically comes between 10am and 12pm.
2. Hinatuan Enchanted River – Surigao del Sur
Few swimming holes in the Philippines can live up to the mesmerising beauty of Hinatuan Enchanted River, a saltwater river flowing into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Hidden deep in the jungles of Surigao del Sur, the waters of this spring river glow an almost unearthly shade of blue — it seriously looks photoshopped, even in real life! No one’s quite certain where the
Although the pristine river is tempting, don’t just jump in. Tourists are prohibited from swimming in the biggest part of the natural pool; instead, make your way to the official swimming area if you’re planning a refreshing dip. (A swim is highly recommended, of course.)
3. Bel-At Tidal Pool – Samar
Strangely shaped limestone formations, crystal-clear waters that are an unreal shade of blue, and a lush mangrove forest that adds a splash of green to the coast — the seascape at Bel-At Tidal Pool in Biri, Samar is almost other-worldly. The waters are so shockingly clear that you can see straight to the bottom, even from way up on the top of the colossal rock formations!
Indeed, Biri Island is home to some of the most gorgeous swimming holes in the Philippines. Besides the Bel-At Tidal Pool, there’s also the saltwater pool between the Magasang and Magsapad rock formations. Best of all? Few tourists make their way to this corner of Northern Samar, so you’ll likely have the place to yourself.
4. Tangke Lagoon – Iloilo
Travelling to Iloilo? A lot of local tourists make the Islas de Gigantes (Gigantes Islands) a part of their itinerary for its white-sand beaches and gorgeous sandbars. But did you know that this popular tourist attraction hides one of the most enchanting swimming holes in the Philippines?
Meet Tangke Salt Water Lagoon. It’s easy to fall in love at first sight with the calm green waters of this natural saltwater pool; surrounded by limestone cliffs, it almost feels like you’re cut off from the rest of the world. Fair warning: You’ll have to climb over the jagged rocks to reach the lagoon. Most travellers will concur that the idyllic swimming spot is definitely worth the effort, though!
5. Hinagdanan Cave Pool – Bohol
Deep in beautiful northern Panglao lies a magical little sinkhole known as Hinagdanan Cave Pool. Discovered by a farmer clearing his land, it has now become one of the popular swimming holes in Bohol, Philippines. Cool, crystalline waters offer a pleasant swim when the summer heat gets too much outside, while the stalactites hanging overhead lend a unique vibe to the natural pool. Hinagdanan Cave Pool is only a few metres deep but there’s more than enough space to enjoy a dip, even if there are other tourists around.
Another hidden gem worth visiting for a swim are the hypnotic blue waters of another Bohol cenote: Cabagnow Cave Pool in Anda. The pool in Combento Cave is also a tourist favourite.
6. Animasola Island – Masbate
Sail off the coast of Burias in Masbate for a breezy swim on Animasola Island. It’s not one of the best-known swimming holes in the Philippines, but the island is definitely worth a trip with colossal rock formations, a pristine white sand beach, and dazzling blue waters. But we’re extra dazzled by the natural rock pools behind the cliffs — for us, these are the most eye-catching swimming spots on Animasola Island!
7. Cabongaoan Death Pool – Pangasinan
Normally, we’re not gravitating somewhere that’s described as “death.” An exception: the Cabongaoan Death Pool. Hidden on the far right side of the white sand Cabongaoan Beach in Burgos, Pangasinan, this natural rock pool promises the most exciting swim you’ll have on vacation.
First, you’ll have to climb over huge boulders and jagged formations. On the other side of this trek lies the infamous pool. And if you visit in the afternoon, you’ll see exactly why it’s been dubbed Death Pool with huge waves crashing against the rocks and water splashing violently over the heads of the travellers brave enough to venture close. Don’t worry when the waves are too violent to risk a swim in the Death Pool; there are smaller and calmer tidal pools around that offer a much more chill dip.
8. Pangabangan Tidal Pool – Dinagat Islands
Willing to travel far to dive into some of the most spectacular swimming holes in the Philippines? Time to start planning your trip to Dinagat Islands, home to the jaw-dropping Pangabangan Tidal Pool, also known as Blue Lagoon. Sublime blue waters, lush foliage, and limestone cliffs hiding the pool from plain sight — is this paradise? It’s easy to believe so! We also enjoy that the waters are calm, so it’s relatively safe and easy to enjoy a swim in the Pangabangan Tidal Pool.
There you go; some of the most incredible spots for a swim around the country. You’re definitely in for an unforgettable time at these enchanting swimming holes in the Philippines! Which one of these are you looking forward to travelling to the most? Maybe we’ll even see you there.
Featured image credit: raksybH via Canva Pro