Cagwait is about 32 kilometres (20 mi) southeast of Tandag, the capital town of Surigao del Sur. It is bounded by the towns of Bayabas on the north, Marihatag on the south, the Diwata mountains on the west and the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has a total land area of 21,410 hectares (52,900 acres).
Cagwait has an all-weather port at Barangay Bitaugan West (named Aras-asan Port by the Philippine Ports Authority) secured by the natural protection of Arangasa Islands. It has also an abandoned aerodome made and used by the private planes of Aras-asan Timber Company, Inc. (ARTIMCO) during its peak of timber operation in the late 1970s.
Barangay Poblacion is the seat of governance while the center of trade of the municipality is in Barangay Aras-asan. It houses three (3) rural banks, two (2) pawnshops, three (3) bakeshops, a radio station, a public terminal and public market. Telecommunication is at par with other neighboring municipalities using cellular phones, internet via GPRS, and cable television are available. There are also good tourist inns, beach resorts and homestay (bread and breakfast). Motorized tricycles, jeepneys, and buses ply its roads and concrete highways.
Cagwait is the home of the now defunct company ARTIMCO, Inc., which happened to be one of the largest suppliers of timber in the country. Its concession is a sanctuary of the Philippine Eagle as validated by Charles Lindbergh during his wildlife campaign visit that made him also discovered the beautiful white-sand beach cove of Cagwait which he called similar to that of Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.