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Mapanuepe Lake, Zambales Is An Overlanding & Off-Grid Camping Haven For Outdoor Adventurers

Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales is an off-grid camping paradise

If you close your eyes and imagine what paradise would look like, you’d often think of a vast green landscape with a bright blue sky while birds chirp in the trees—Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales has all of that and more.

Using a 4×4 vehicle on the overlanding trail provides a thrilling driving experience before getting to the secluded campsite. However, there’s also a route for those who use smaller vehicles, such as sedans and motorcycles. You can pitch a tent, ride a boat, swim, and try fishing in this tucked-away paradise.

New Zealand of Zambales

New zealand of zambales
Cows grazing nearby
Image credit: Jessie Brian Nardo

Locals and regular visitors agree that the clearing where you set up camp here resembles the green pastures of New Zealand (NZ), hence the nickname “NZ of Zambales”.

Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales and Mt. Pinatubo view
The view of the lake and mountain

Image credit: C Jay Lucio

Simple but never dull, camping in Mapanuepe Lake provides a literal respite after the journey there. It’s a beautiful place to breathe in fresh air and enjoy a slow day while looking over the serene lake and majestic Mt. Pinatubo.

Things to do in Mapanuepe Lake, Zambales

lake mapanuepe with food
Eating by the Lake

Image credit: Christopher Piga

There are no resorts or restaurants on the campsite at Mapanuepe Lake. It is a vast open space surrounded by nothing but nature and a few livestock and wildlife, suitable for those who want to experience camping without huge crowds, network signals, and electricity.

mapanuepe lake in zambales camping
Camping with a view of Mt. Pinatubo
Image credit: Juson Bulatao

Aside from enjoying an unadulterated camping experience, you could also bring a pole for fishing, rent a boat to explore the lake or bike along the trails.

You could also ask the local guides to help you correctly set up a bonfire at night for roasting marshmallows and even singing around the campfire.

Mapanuepe boating
A docked boat along Lake Mapanuepe

Image credit: HM Acupan

Adventure outdoors responsibly

Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales - 1A
Sunset view by the lake
Image credit: Jessie Brian Nardo

The beauty of camping right in front of Mapanuepe Lake, Zambales, is experiencing nature in its rawest form. The place has no fancy facilities, just the vast land covered in lush green grass, pine trees, the lakes, and a great view of Mt. Pinatubo.

So all visitors are expected to camp responsibly and leave no trace, meaning you take everything you came with, especially the trash.

Lake Mapanuepe in Zambales overlanding trail
SUVs on their way to the camp on the overlanding trail
Image credit: Emman Villaverde

The locals also remind everyone who brings vehicles to the campsite to be mindful of where to park. The grass completes the New Zealand-like ambiance of the place and serves as food for their livestock, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain its integrity.

Try overlanding and camping in Mapanuepe Lake in Zambales

Driving to their destination on an off-road vehicle is the best part of the journey for veteran adventurers. Still, in Mapanuepe Lake, the journey and the destination offer a fantastic way to disconnect from the world and just enjoy nature.

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Cover image adapted from: Jessie Brian Nardo