The Cagayan River or Río Grande de Cagayán is the longest and largest river in the Philippines, running through Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the country. It originates in the Caraballo Mountains and traverses the province of Nueva Vizcaya, serving as a natural boundary between the provinces of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya. The river flows through several provinces in the Cagayan Valley Region of the Philippines, including the provinces of Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, and Cagayan. It spans approximately 505 kilometers (314 miles).

As it courses through the valley, it cuts through a broad alluvial plain, providing sustenance to the rice paddies and fields that line its banks. The river’s water supports the agriculture and irrigation systems in the region, contributing to the prosperity of the communities along its path.

The river offers breathtaking views along its banks, with lush landscapes, forests, and occasional rock formations that create an awe-inspiring backdrop for those exploring or boating along its length. Visitors can take boat tours or river cruises, providing a relaxing way to experience the beauty of the river and the surrounding scenery. Activities like kayaking and whitewater rafting are available in certain sections, providing an adrenaline rush for enthusiasts.

Throughout its meandering journey, the river collects numerous tributaries, significantly adding to its volume. The major tributaries are Ilagan River, Mallig River, Magat River and Pinacanauan River. The Cagayan River eventually flows into the Luzon Strait in the northern part of the island, not far from the city of Aparri. This exit point allows the river to meet the waters of the Babuyan Channel.

The Cagayan River plays a crucial role in the region’s economy, supporting agriculture and providing transportation and livelihood opportunities for the communities along its banks. It also serves as a primary route for the transportation of goods and people, enhancing trade and connectivity in the region.

Cagayan River Location Map


Cover photo by Jereme R

Additional Information

Read more about Luzon and the Cagayan Valley Region. Check out the links below to learn how to get there, what to do, what to see, when to go, where to stay and many more helpful information about this attraction.

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