These major islands are part of the Calamian Archipelago that serves as the border between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. Coron is such a wonderful island that’s not just home to stunning beaches and other natural formations but also to a UNESCO World Heritage Tentative Lister, Coron Island Natural Biotic Area.
I bet you haven’t heard of those interesting things about Coron before. It’s not enough to just know that there is a marvel of lagoons, white sand beaches, tranquil shores, and popular tourist spots there. Now read on to find out the important things you should know before planning a trip to Coron, Palawan.
Coron Palawan weather comes in 2 major seasons, which are wet and dry. The dry season is from October through May and the wet season is between June to September.
What’s interesting about Coron’s weather is that it’s not consistent with the other islets or municipalities in the province. This is due to the ocean and wind currents that differ from different parts of the archipelagic province.
The best time to visit Coron Palawan is during the dry season, of course. That’s when the sun is shining brightly over the shores of the beaches around where you can get some tan and chill out with a cold beer or coconut juice.
February and March are the peak summer months and is the most ideal time to visit given that there is almost zero chance of rain during that time. These months are just right before the hottest period of the year starts so the heat won’t be unbearable and just enough for a golden tan and a great time to soak in the waters.
How to Get to Coron Palawan
There are different ways to get to Coron Palawan, depending on where you’ll be coming from. If you’re coming from Manila, of course, traveling by plane is the fastest. If you’re just on a neighboring island, then you have boat transfers.
It all sounds so simple, but you can’t just hop on the said modes of transportation without knowing the costs, travel time, risks, and other transportation concerns. So to help you with your budget planning and ensure your safety, here’s a complete guide to getting to Coron Palawan.
Manila to Coron
Skyjet, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) operate direct flights from Manila to Coron. One-way ticket costs start at 2900 PHP/ 55 USD. During peak seasons, the price of one-way tickets can soar up to 11,400 PHP/ 220 USD so booking your flights way ahead of your trip is highly recommended.
The flight only lasts between 40 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on the flight you choose. Take note that Manila has 4 different airport terminals, so make sure to check your ticket for your departure terminal. The terminals are not so close to each other, so it would be a hassle to arrive at the wrong one.
Here are the usual departure terminals for each airline:
- Skyjet: Terminal 4
- PAL: Terminal 2 or 4
- Cebu Pacific: Terminal 3 or 4
The plan will land at the Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Coron. It is 23 kilometers away from the Coron town, so you have to pre-arrange your airport-town transfers. There are also vans readily available right at the exit of the arrivals, but you’re more likely to get ripped off from that.
The fare for these vans waiting outside the Coron airport is only 150 PHP/ $2.80 and hiring the entire van is 1500 PHP/ 30 USD. Just make sure to keep that in mind to prevent being scammed. Travel time from the airport to the town proper is 30-40 minutes.
Note that if you’re coming to Coron from Cebu or Clark, you’ll also have to travel by plane. Ticket costs for these flights are more competitive, priced as low as 1545 PHP/ 31 USD.
Going on a ferry ride is not a commonly taken mode of travel from Manila to Coron. This is because travel time takes up to 11 long hours. The fare is much cheaper though, only priced by 2Go Travel for as low as 1400 PHP/ 27 USD for a basic ticket. You can visit their website to check out the ticket classes and book them.
The mega value class, which is the cheapest, offers a bunk bed space. These are air-conditioned rooms, and any lower-priced tickets are already non-air-conditioned. Since this is an overnight trip, it’s best to opt for the class that will provide you the comfort you need.
The ferries depart from Pier 4 of North Harbour in Manila every Friday at 7 PM and arrive at 6 AM the next day. When you get to Coron, you’re just a 15-minute walk away from the town center.
If you’re carrying a few pieces of luggage, there are local transports available at the port. It’s still highly suggested that you just arrange a transfer with the hotel you’re staying in as most of them offer this service anyway.
El Nido to Coron
Getting on the ferry is the cheapest and most used option. The route may be longer but at least it won’t burn a hole in your wallet. There are two kinds of ferries that transfer tourists from El Nido to Coron: the slow and the fast.
The difference between the two is self-explanatory, but the costs of the fare are not far from each other. A ride on the slow ferry costs 1300 PHP/ 25 USD while the fast ferry is 1700 PHP/ 33 USD.
That price gap is surprising given the large contrast of their travel times. The slow ferry is a full 6-hour ride that even extends up to 9 hours depending on sea conditions. The fast ferry only takes 3-4 hours.
The high-speed ferry is a great deal with its inside and outside seatings, air-conditioning, and a TV. The slow ferries don’t have those, which would be more ideal given the long wait in them. However, the fast ferries are simply more advanced compared to the slow ferries that are only basic wooden longboats.
Going to Coron from El Nido by plane is a pretty short flight (40 minutes) as the distance is only 130 kilometers, and it’s just a straight line you’ll be flying in. Add the obviously much better comfort of being on a plane when moving from one island to another.
Unfortunately, you don’t have plenty of flight options for this trip. As a matter of fact, you only have one airline operating this flight, and that is AirSWIFT. This boutique airline even operates only four times a week on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The cost of the tickets is also double the fast ferry or even more during peak times. This is a viable option for you if you have the money to spend away on a quick, comfortable island transfer. The lowest flight ticket costs 3152 PHP/ 61.98 USD and could surge up to 8165 PHP/ 161 USD.
Puerto Princesa to Coron
There are 2Go Travel ferries that leave every Wednesday and Saturday at 11:59 PM from Puerto Princesa and arrives in Coron at 3 PM the following day. You can check out the classes of the tickets and book what you’ve selected here.
The least expensive ticket on this ferry is 1589 PHP/ 31.25 USD with the taxes and fees already included. Since 2Go travel is a bigger vessel unlike the ferries from El Nido to Coron, one can expect quality overnight sailing on these ferries.
Getting Around Coron
Coron is just a small island town, so it’s ideal to walk and take in the breath-taking scenery around. If you need to move to a slightly farther area, you can also take a tricycle ride for only 7 PHP/ 0.14 USD per trip.
Most tourists rent a scooter, however. It’s the best way to get around Coron by yourself without the hassle of dealing with fares. Also, it’s fun to get lost a little on your own while on such a heavenly location.
If you want to see the islands closeby, you can also rent a boat with a driver who knows the islands for 1250 PHP/ 25 USD per day.
10 Things to Do in Coron
Now that you know the best time to visit Coron and how to get there, it’s time to get to the sights and activities on the island. You’ve probably seen pictures, heard stories, and read some articles about Coron Palawan attractions. Still, I bet you’ve mostly just learned about the white sand beaches. You should know that Coron also has an abundance of history mostly seen under its clear, turquoise waters.
On September 24, 1944, 24 Helldiver bombers attacked the Japanese supply fleet hiding in Coron. Escorted by 96 Hellcat fighters, they blew the Japanese ships apart for the 15 minutes they had before their fuel get too low to make the 340-mile return to their aircraft carrier. Their attack was a cruel success that left the best underwater wrecks popular among divers.
Don’t worry, this list won’t be all about diving. But it’s nice to know that Coron is more than just a wonderful getaway destination, right?
Experience the Magic in Coron Bay
Coron Bay is where all the magic of the island begins. The cerulean waters surrounded by tall limestone cliffs will make you feel like you’re in the movie Avatar. The amazing seascape can definitely inspire a writer to create a dystopian novel set in this unbelievably fiction-like island.
There are many shipwrecks here in the bay as this was the target for the 1944 fleet bombing. These wrecked ships influenced the growth of natural reefs, making the spot even more ideal for diving and snorkeling.
There are plenty of island tours that will guide you through Coron Bay while making stops at lovely swimming spots and viewing sites. Trust me, those viewpoints will leave you speechless as you take in the bay’s glory.
Visit the Kingfisher Park
Visiting the Kingfisher Park is the best way to stir up your beach lounging. It is a mangrove and bird site where you can also spot other animal species and plants exclusively found in Palawan.
Bird-sighting and investigating natural life are not the only things you can do at this park, too. You can always join The Mount Lune Santo Trek and the Starry Night Tour. The most popular day activity here though is kayaking around the mangroves to get closer to the fascinating wildlife in Coron.
There are several local tour guides who will guide you in joining the said activities. When kayaking the mangroves, you’ll also be accompanied by a local to help you navigate the waters and ensure your safety.
Dive in the Barracuda Lake for the Underwater Mountains
Barracuda Lake is known for its mind-blowing underwater rock formations. Just when you thought Coron Bay was already dystopian enough, this inland lake just adds these out-of-this-world giant rocks in the mix.
The lake is part of many divers’ bucket lists. It’s not only for the rocks under the water but the lake’s salt and freshwater composition. There is indeed no other dive spot as extraordinary as this one. If you’re not an experienced diver, you can always prearrange a guided diving activity in the lake online.
In case you were wondering why the lake was named as such, it’s from an old myth about a barracuda that used to lurk in the lake. The cave that is 35 meters deep into the waters and can only be penetrated by advanced divers is said to be the home of this beast.
Take a Hot Bath in Maquinit Hot Springs
Take the challenge and soak into the 39 to 40C hot springs in Coron. If you’re not daring enough to do it, at least consider these hot bath benefits:
- It enhances your mood
- Relieves muscle pain
- Helps you sleep better
- Relieve cold and flu
- Reduces blood pressure, good for the heart
- Burns calories
- Soothe irritated skin
- Makes you feel more awake
This is why the Maquinit Hot Springs is popular among those who are on vacation from their stressful jobs or traveling after a heartbreak. Whether you’re dealing with those or not, a hot bath in the hot springs will still do you some good.
Just remember that the trick to surviving the heat of the water is by submerging your entire body at once. Don’t move, and give it a minute until your body finally adapts to the temperature. Your body will just melt relaxingly into the hot bath.
Head to the hot springs in the evening too when the temperatures in the air are already low. It’ll give you an even more therapeutic experience in the hot springs, along with the view of the spectacular bright stars and moon in the sky.
Join Historic and Island Tours
The best way to visit all the major islands in Coron is by going on a guided tour. These tour packages do not cost much and already cover boat transfers, meals (sometimes), and entrance fees to some destinations.
If you want a private tour guide who can show and tell you more insider bits about the islands you want to see, you can hire one from Rakuboss. This site is a marketplace for a variety of skills from different professionals like graphic designers, writers, virtual assistants, and tourist guides, among many others.
If you’re sticking to the common group tours, here are the details of the different packages’ so you can pick whichever fits your preference:
Coron Island Tour Island Escapade Tour
This tour takes you to the quiet beaches of Coron. Here, you’ll be going to the islands of Malcapuya, Banana, and Bulog Dos. These sites are all remote, made just for the traveler who wants to escape reality for a while.
The tour is priced 1700 PHP/ 33.34 USD. Here’s what you should look forward to in these three underrated islands of Coron (definitely a great deal for the cost):
- Malcapuya: This is dubbed the best of all the islands in the tour package. Its long stretch of soft beige sands is can be compared to what was once the asset of Boracay. A nice contrast to the softness of the Malcapuya shores are the unique rock formations along them.
- Banana: 1.5 hours away from Coron Town, Banana Island is the ultimate remote island of Coron. This serves as the lunch stop for the tours as this is where they stay the longest. The cyan waters touching the powdery shores extend into an ombre shade of colors as they reach the sea, dramatically turning into teal and finally into a deeper shade of blue.
- Bulog Dos: Bulog Dos has possibly the clearest water you’ll ever see. It also has immaculate, chalky shores. It’s just a small beach but it has enormous rock formations where you can take great pictures. You’re all alone on the island, so you might as well take as many over-the-top vacation photos as possible.
Historic Culion Tour
Colon has a neighboring small town called Culion, the Island of No Return and home to rich history. When entering the town, you’ll be greeted by a typical provincial town charm and an old church on top of a hill. Everything in there will just make you feel like you’re traveling back in time.
You’re probably wondering what exactly took place in this town many years ago. If you’re a local, you’re probably trying to recall whether you’ve read this in the history textbooks in school before or if it’s simply not that known. It’s the latter.
The reason why the history of Culion didn’t make any major recognition in textbooks is because it has always served as a place for isolation. On May 27, 1906, 370 passengers from two ships found their new home here after coming from Cebu.
These people would be the first inhabitants of the town, and it wasn’t exactly the sweetest story. Plenty of them were forced to leave their lives and loved ones behind Cebu. They were never allowed to sail back home.
That is because in 1904, an Executive Order was released to establish Culion as a leper colony. So these first settlers of the island were the patients who were then ordered to be shut away from the rest of the world.
Of course, the disease was cured years later with the help of multi-drug therapy. However, the long period of seclusion town didn’t scale the town as big as the Coron Town, for example. The area continues to be a rising tourist destination, though.
For only 1700 PHP/33.34 USD, you can walk around this little town and see the structures that sheltered the patients and medical workers. You should visit the Culion Museum to see the materials the isolated residents used in their long period of battling the disease.
Coron Town Tour
You should take a short Coron Town tour before you indulge in the beach life on the remote islands. The town of Coron has a vibrant culture, which has been popular among its visitors from all over the world.
Stroll around the town with a guide who’ll tell you stories about the famous landmarks around, the people, the dialect, and the cultural things Coron Town’s people uphold to this day. This half-day tour will walk you through all that and even onto the top of Mt. Tapyas where you can see the town from a bird’s eyeview.
Join this tour for only 700 PHP/ 13.76 USD.
Calauit Safari Tour
Yes, Coron has a safari where you can feed exotic animals like zebras and giraffes.Calauit Safari is also home to the endemic and endangered animal species of Palawan. This tour is great, especially for kids and animal lovers.
The trip starts with a boat ride which takes you from Coron Town to Calauit Island. This journey alone is refreshing as you’ll be passing by gorgeous nature views along the way. For 2500 PHP/ 49.16 USD, you can join the tour which includes a buffet picnic lunch in nice beach cottages on Calauit Island.
Go on a Culinary Adventure at Levine’s
Coron wouldn’t be such a nice place to relax for a while without its good food. Levine’s is one of the island’s popular shacks on the beach. The shack’s locations is a good spot to see the sunset perfectly.
What’s even more appealing about this place is that you get to watch such a luxurious view while eating budget meals. Yes, Levine’s offers budget food, making it a favorite for the backpackers.
The menu also offers a wide selection of dishes, but it’s the various kinds of sisig you should come here for. They have tofu sisig, beef sisig, and octopus sisig. It’s indeed a culinary adventure.
For as low as 120 PHP/ 2.5 USD, you can get a nice meal to go with a nice sunset viewing at the end of the day. Hanging out here at Levine’s after a long day of touring the islands would be the perfect way to end your day.
Address: Coron Town Proper, Coron, Palawan
Open everyday from 7 AM – 11 PM
See World War II Wrecks under the Busuanga Waters
The World War II Wrecks under the Busuanga Water is indeed a must see in Coron Palawan. Busuanga Island, west of Coron Island, is every diver’s obsession in the area. It has all the sunken pieces of history you just want to touch and see.
These wrecks are still from the 1944 bombing of WWII Japanese ships. This where most massive vessels from that fleet can be found. You can even swim inside these ships as there are dive shops around offering “wreck dives” that help you navigate the colorful reefs and moss covering the ships.
Hang out in the Hidden Lagoon
Also known as the Twin Lagoons, the hidden lagoons are named so due to how they hide and reappear according to tidal changes. The lagoons are two small lakes that are inside limestone cliffs where clear sapphire waters flow.
During low tides, you can see the water surface right below the limestone archway. You can swim through that to enter the other lagoon. The water has an uneven temperature so expect to swim around spots that are warmer or colder than the other parts.
Be One with the Schools of Fish in Siete Pecados
Yes, you can swim with the schools of fish in Siete Pecados. This popular diving site is also known for being “the fish site” as you can see vibrant-colored corals, bright reefs, and large schools of tropical fish here.
Siete Pecados is not one of the destinations in Coron that are most likely included in tours. So you’ll need to hire a private boat to get here. You can ask your hotel to arrange a private tour for you or contact guides to help you with the trip.
If you’re not a diver, you can just snorkel in Siete Pecados as well. Talk to a tour guide to set up the gears for you. For diving, there are plenty of diving shops scattered on the island of Coron so that’s basically the most accessible activity for you there in Coron.
See the Panoramic View of Coron from Lake Kayangan
Many articles will only tell you how Lake Kayangan is such a good place to swim. It’s actually weird how not many Coron guides say something about the view from this area. The lake has a view deck where you can see the entire island and the way the lake’s waters just drop into a bigger pool.
Don’t just waste your time at the lake by swimming. You can also go on a 15-minute hike or estimated 300 stairs to see the forest surrounding the waters. The combination of this mystical jungle and the beguiling lake has been a subject to many legends about kind spiritual beings roaming around.
I don’t believe in those myths, but Lake Kayangan is pretty enchanting with it being composed of 70% freshwater and 30% saltwater.
Where to Stay in Coron
You’re probably wondering where to stay now that you’re convinced that you should definitely visit Coron Palawan. For Coron Palawan hotels, I have a few recommendations for every kind of traveler.
There are many nice hotels in Coron, but there is no guaranteed satisfaction if you’ll only be booking one based on budget alone. You have to know whether the hotel is safe enough or as fun as you’d imagine your island lodging to be.
To save you from the long hours of researching and selecting the best hotel for you in Coron, here are my suggested Coron Palawan hotels that I assure you’ll have an awesome time in.
Staying in hostels is the best choice for backpackers who are interested in meeting different people from various cultural backgrounds. Although all islands in the Philippines have plenty of social people around for you to meet, it’s still better to stay at a place where everyone’s just in the mood to start conversations with fellow backpackers.
Let’s also not forget the programs and parties hostels host to keep the socialization alive and your vacation extra memorable. To get that experience in Coron, book your stay at Ecocio Backpackers Hostel & Bar. Their rates per night can go as low as 179 PHP/3.52 USD.
That price is for a bed space inside a 6-bed room. The hostel also has free Wi-Fi in all rooms and common areas, a bar, BBQ facilities, restaurants, room service, and laundry service among many other convenient features.
Just take note that all rooms are not air-conditioned. They only have fans. They have mosquito nets covering the beds to protect you from mosquito bites, though.
For Families and Groups
Seeing Coron with your family or group of friends is a memorable way to enjoy the island. However, not all hotels on the island are fit for groups. Add the fact that in one group, there are always differences in interests.
To make sure everyone bonds despite those differences, you need a hotel that can put you all together in one place to relax and catch up with each other. The best hotel for that is the Coron Underwater Garden Resort.
The resort has its own outdoor swimming pool that is right under the rooms of the hotel. There’s even a stairway that connects the hallway of the hotel down to the pool. A room for 2 adults and one kid under 12 years can cost as low as 2926 PHP/ 57.54 USD per night.
This includes free breakfast, a sea view, and well-lit rooms that will make you feel the spirit of the island life. The resort is already a great deal for such price. Check out other rooms on their site and see different themes for the interior.
Coron is one of the best places for a honeymoon or just spending quality time with your significant other. However, you can always go wrong with planning a romantic Coron trip by not pre-arranging your tours or simply picking a hotel that won’t give you that absolute alone time with your partner.
The Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel make a delightful stay for couples. This 48-room hotel is right beside the bay. Its rooms have full glass windows that keep you close to the sea at all times. Imagine waking up to a beautiful sunrise with your loved one or retiring to a romantic room after watching the sunset at the hotel’s outdoor lounge.
Just make sure to really save for your romantic Coron trip as the rate for one night here starts at 7440 PHP/ 146.3 USD. Anyway, it’s all worth it anyway, especially if it’s for your significant other’s birthday or if you’re celebrating an important milestone in your relationship.
Local Insider Tips
Before you plan a sweet trip to the gorgeous Coron Palawan, make sure to know all the things you should avoid to stay safe the entire time, especially if you’re a foreigner. Read this guide we made about local dangers and how you can avoid them when traveling to the hottest tourist spots in the Philippines.
Most of the tours mentioned above are in groups, however you can always make a DIY travel itinerary that fits your budget more or covers the destinations you want. Even if you do so, you’ll still have to avail group tours as most boat transfers to the islands are arranged that way.
Also, you can assure your safety more when getting around in that fashion. There are many sites on the island that only locals know as well, and you shouldn’t miss them. The people arranging the tours are locals to the province, and it would be very much appreciated if you can give them tips for their only source of income.
Many of these people are teens or parents fending for their families by boating or helping tourists see their beautiful province. Then lastly, enjoy your trip and laugh along with the other travelers and the locals you’ll meet along.