Philippines : Travel guide to Coron, Palawan

The Philippines was everything that I had dreamt of and more! I had always had this archipelago nation very high on my list of places to travel to for more reasons that one – beaches, culture, food and more. I usually try to never repeat destinations when I travel but there are a few places that I visit for the very first time and I just know I’ll travel back there in a heartbeat. The Philippines is 100% on that list! In this blog post I am sharing a full travel guide to CORON, but before I jump into that here is some general info about the Philippines as a destination.

WHY THE PHILIPPINES ?

The Philippines has over 7000 islands, making it the second largest archipelago in the world! For the past couple of years tons of Philippine islands are being repeatedly ranked as the best islands in the world. Having traveled to a ton of islands so far, I can tell you without a doubt, this is definitely one of the most beautiful island regions I have ever been to in my life – there is no doubt about that.

Top islands in the Philippines to visit are El Nido, Coron, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Siargao and more. Choosing which island to go to is always the first task; especially since the country has so much to offer you are spoilt for choice when it comes to decide your itinerary. Each island is so unique and diverse ; you are guaranteed an incredible tropical vacay no matter what island you choose to go to. It all depends on what you are looking for  – for instance if you want sprawling white sandy beaches Panglao in Bohol, or Boracay is for you ; but if you want marine life, incredible lagoons limestone cliffs – El Nido and Palawan are the ones for you!

Since we had a full week in the Philippines we decided to split it over 2 different islands – BOHOL and CORON. In this blog post I will be sharing a travel guide to Coron; however before I jump into it I wanted to generally talk about island hopping in the Philippines.

 

SOME TIPS TO ISLAND HOP IN THE PHILIPPINES :

Another big factor which will help you decide which islands to visit is your island transfers. Having island hopped in a few countries in the past where it was super easy and convenient (like in Greece!), I thought that the only disadvantage in visiting the Philippines is the inconvenience of island transfers. Most of the popular islands are all spread out so very few might have a convenient ferry ride between them. The only other option to do is flights. While there are local flights that fly between islands – schedules are erratic, they are notorious for cancellations during bad weather and also don’t fly out 7x days a week (depending on the route they are scheduled to fly out few times per week). So planning your transfers in advance is definitely essential.

Like our situation – if there are no inter island transfers for your islands on the day that you want, the safest route would be to plan your transfers to and from Manila; even though it can be time consuming. This is what we did to break it down :

Fly from San Francisco to Manila –> Manila to Bohol –> after 3 days we flew from Bohol back to Manila –> Manila to Coron –> after 3 days Coron to Manila –> Manila to San Francisco 

If you do end up planning your transfers through Manila, one thing to definitely keep in mind is to keep a sufficient amount of time between flights (atleast 3-4 hours) to account for transfers within Manila terminals. There are 4 terminals in Manila and they are at 4 different locations – meaning you will have to take a bus transfer from 1 to another with luggage. And if you know anything about Manila traffic – it is CRAZY! During one of our transfers we took over 45 minutes just going in a bus from one terminal to another; even though it was just under 5 miles apart.

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES :

The best time to visit the Philippines is during the dry season from November to April. This is a region you want to travel during the good season, cos it gets hit very often with typhoons during the wet season! Just in 2019 they were hit with 20 typhoons! And we narrowly missed one (it hit in early December the day after we left!). Typhoons are rare in December but this year it did happen. So if you want to totally avoid chances of being stuck in a hurricane – Feb to April would be your best bet.

 

INTRO TO CORON : 

Coron belongs to the beautiful province of Palawan – which was the very reason for my long yearning desire to visit the Philippines! Palawan is often touted as one of the most beautiful island regions in the world and there is no doubt why. Of the 7000 islands in the Philippines, the region of Palawan itself has 1780 of them – holy moly !! This is where you will find unspoilt white powdery sand beaches, azure lagoons and lakes , incredible marine life, towering limestone cliffs and so much more. We specifically chose Coron cos it was a lot more laidback and less touristy than the main island of Palawan or El Nido. It never ever felt over crowded or touristy at any point.

A quick fun fact – the island you actually land on is called “Busuanga”. No one can actually stay on the island of Coron (just about 10-15 minutes away from the port at Coron town proper on Busuanaga) as it is owned by the indigenous people. And Im so glad it is that way – this is what keeps it so sacred, serene and special.

 

HOW TO GET AROUND CORON :

When you are in Busuanga chances are you will be staying in and around “Coron Town proper” which is where the port is. We found that the easiest way to get around was tuk tuks and bikes.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN CORON :

During our time in Coron, we stayed for 3 days at the cutest boutique hotel on Busuanga island called The Funny Lion. WE loved our stay and it was super conveniently located close to town. Read more about our stay in my blog post here. 

 

THINGS TO DO IN CORON :

1 ) CORON ISLAND TOUR :

The beauty of Coron is 99% on the water so the best way to see the destination is by doing multiple day boat tours or venture out on a boating expedition for a couple of days. You can visit all the attractions in Coron via boat and each one has an entrance fee as well so definitely come prepped with cash handy. There are 2 ways you can do boat tours in Coron – Boating expeditions or day tours. In THIS BLOG POST I have listed all the details for each of them. So make sure to check it out for tips to plan yours :).

The Coron island tour is the most popular boat tour which takes you to the highlights of beautiful Coron. We hired a private boat so that we could plan our own schedule and timings. We started our tour super early (730am) so that we could get to some of the spots before it got crowded. It definitely pays off to head out early! Depending on what you want to do and how much time you have you might want to plan what highlights you want to see. Both Anush and I aren’t divers and not big on snorekling either so instead we wanted to visit some lakes for swimming, lagoons, beaches and other picturesque spots. If you are a diver – you are going to LOVE Coron cos this is one of the best diving spots in the world so I have heard! And even if you arent a diver like us – you are certainly in for a visual treat!

 

Here are some of the highlights of beautiful Coron island that we did :

1 ) Siete Pecados 

Overlooking Siete Pecados

 

2 ) Kayangan Lake 

Sparkly emerald waters of Kayangan lake

 

3 ) Twin Lagoon

UNREAL twin lagoon

 

4 ) Banul Beach

Banul beach is spectacular! The water, sand and views are everything..

5 ) Sunset Lagoon 

Blues for days at sunset lagoon

Other highlights that you can add to your tour that are also popular in Coron are – Barracuda Lake (great diving spot), CYC beach (only free attraction in Coron!), Skeleton Wreck (known for diving too), Beach 91, Malwawey Reef & Coral Garden, Atwayan beach and more. Check out my BLOG POST for more from this day.

 

2 ) ISLAND HOPPING TOUR : 

For the second tour, we chose to do an Island hopping tour in and around Coron. Like the Coron island tour, this also has visitation fees to visit these islands (depending on which ones you choose to go to) so keep cash handy.

Coron Bay has tons of incredible deserted islands, sandbars and everything that you can consider a tropical dream – all with postcard perfect beaches, white sands and blue waters. Since the islands are about 1.5 hrs away by boat from Coron port, I also found that the islands were less crowded that the attractions on Coron island. A win-win in my books cos that means private beaches for the most part!

Coco beach

Since ours was a private tour again, we could design our own itinerary so here are the islands we chose to do :

1 ) Ditaytayan Sandbar 

Pinch me moment at this incredible sandbar

2 ) Coco Beach 

Cocos on coco beach

3 ) Malcapuya Island

Magical Malcapuya – my faveee beach of the trip!

Other islands we didnt go to that you could consider – Banana Island, Bulog Dos Island, etc. More details in my BLOG POST HERE.

 

3 ) CATCH THE SUNSET OVER CORON BAY :

Sunsets in Coron are amazing! If you are looking for a bar with a great view – we loved the one at the Funny Lion called Pride Rock– they have a nightly happy hour from 4-7pm. While you are there you can also try their restaurant “the Hunt” . We had dinner here all 3 nights and it was amazing! We especially loved their Saturday grill buffet night.

Pride Rock at Funny Lion

 

Listing out few other things to do in Coron that we didn’t do but are popular to do if you have more time :

4 ) HIKE MOUNT TAPYAS : 

Mount Tapyas is the second highest mountain in Coron. It is 210 meters above sea level. The peak, which takes approximately 700 steps to reach, offers majestic views of Coron Town as well as neighboring lakes like Kayangan Lake, Twin Peaks and Lagoon, Siete Picados and the Calamines group of islands.

 

5 ) MAQUINIT HOT SPRINGS : 

This hot spring is located in Maquinit Village, approximately 5 kilometers from Coron Town. There are two small and one large naturally occurring saltwater springs said to be heated by a volcano, with temperatures ranging from 39 to 40 degrees Celsius.

 

6 ) CALAUIT SAFARI PARK : 

Calauit Safari Park is a wildlife sanctuary in the Philippines which was originally created in 1976 as a game reserve featuring large African mammals, translocated there under the orders of Ferdinand Marcos during his 21-year rule of the country. Today, populations of giraffe and zebra still roam the park!

 

GET INSPIRED TO VISIT CORON :

 

Ditaytayan sandbar – absolutely magical!

Deserted beaches are so common in unspoilt Coron!

This mermaid having way too much fun in Banul Beach.

The most insane azure shades of blue in twin lagoon!

EAT ….

SLEEP …

BEACH …

…REPEAT! (look at that delicious island spread!)

Swimming in Kayangan Lake

Kayangan lake viewpoint

We love you Coron and will definitely be back!

 

Shop my looks from this blog post :

 

Hope this guide helps you if you are planning to visit Coron in the future. Catch my Bohol guide in this blog post.

Thanks for stopping by. xoxo

Jyo

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