Coron is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE I’VE VISITED (so far :P). It is a gorgeous destination with a small town feel and an endless number of islands and beaches to explore. Coron is a first class municipality in the province of Palawan, other popular destinations include El Nido and Puerte Princessa.
3 Day Guide in Coron, Palawan: An Island Paradise
Manila to Coron (Busuanga), Palawan
Flying to Coron, we used Cebu Pacific and took the first flight out of Manila, an early 6:25am.
It’s always best to try to leave as early as possible to make the most out of your trip. The flight is about an hour on a small domestic plane. The flight attendants usher you out and your luggage is immediately brought to a pick up area, no conveyor belt here. You can see as the last luggage and passenger get off the plane they do a quick clean and the passengers for the next flight start to board.
We bought our tickets for $180 USD per person (round trip including fees and taxes) – this is peak season (December). If you go during low season you can find tickets as low as $100.
Day 1: Explore The Town
» The Market «
In the middle of a dirt area near the ocean, the market is a great place to visit to see all the fresh meat and fish for the day. See locals buy their groceries for the day and maybe pick up some for yourself. (Warning: If you don’t like seeing animal parts freshly displayed, you should avoid this area)
» Lualhati Park «
The park by the ocean. Get a view of Coron Island and all the boats coming in and out of the harbor
» Coron Harvest: Cashew Factory «
A favorite, Coron Harvest is a cashew factory serving the cashews a la garlic, brittle and roasted. They cost 50-200 pesos depending on the flavor and bag size. When you enter the small shop you can see pictures of famous celebrities visiting the store.
» Mount Tapyas Hill Viewdeck «
Coron offers a beautiful view of the city proper and Coron Island at Mount Tapyas. There is no fee to go up the mountain. The steps are made out of cement so no need for walking/running shoes for this journey and every few steps there are landings and shaded areas for those that need a break. We just wore slippers going up.
After 724 steps, you will be rewarded by a breathtaking view of Coron. It is beautiful! There’s a view and a cross at the top. Coron even has it’s own version of the Hollywood sign.
» Maquinit Hot Springs «
What better thing to do than take a dip in a natural hot springs after a long day of exploration. Maquinit Hot Springs is about a 20 minute tricycle ride (~P300) outside of town and cost P200 per person. There aren’t any showers or changing rooms but there are bathrooms. Guests can purchase food and drinks at the bar and are allowed to bring food in. The seating is first come first serve for the tables.
Our guide brought us to a little hut close to the small bay.
» Town Center «
During December, the Philippines is lively in celebration of the Christmas season and Coron is no different. There town center was filled with little shops, food vendors and locals hanging out. Every night we went out, there was always a basketball game at their community center with spectators cheering the home team.
Day 2: Island Hopping I
After the first day of exploring Coron proper it’s time to explore the various islands and beaches that this paradise has to offer. Days 2 & 3 were island hopping days.
Time for swim suits, sunblock and lots of swimming!
» Banol Beach «
First stop was Banol Beach! We paid a P150 ($3 USD) entrance fee per person upon arriving to the locals/owners. Our guide recommended we visit this place first because it gets pretty busy during lunch time. It was a perfect first stop for our island hopping tour. It was deserted other than the locals and their cat that was following us around. The soft, white sand and clear, blue waters creates a picture perfect postcard moment.
» Twin Lagoon «
One of the most popular destinations in Coron is the Twin Lagoons.
As our boat made it’s way into the first lagoon, I could see about 5 other boats docked with only the crew and a few tourists left behind. We found a spot in the lagoon and began to strap on our bright orange and yellow life vest. I walked to the front of the boat, Go Pro in hand, and yelled out that I was going to jump off from the boat. YIPEE!
In order to get to the other lagoon, depending on the tide, you can either swim under the rock opening or take the ladder bridge. When I went, the tide was low, we swam from the first lagoon under the rocks to the second lagoon. I was transported into a paradise. We swam around the lagoon, playing in the water. We had our snorkel gear but there wasn’t much to see especially since there are areas where the fresh water and salt water meet.
» Kalachuchi Beach «
Kalachuchi is the Tagalog word for Plumeria, the beautifully scented yellow and white flower. Our guide had scheduled our lunch at this spot.
Lunch was provided on our tour. It was pretty awesome! The crew grilled the fish and meat on the boat. Rice was also served, a staple. They also had this interesting seaweed salad, it looked like little grapes, but it had a salty flavor.
» Coral Garden «
Just off the Kalachuchi beach is the Coral Garden, a garden of sea life. It was a great snorkel area with lots of fishes living in the coral. We were lucky enough to see a humphead wrasse also known as a Napoleon fish. It was HUGE! This picture doesn’t give the size of this fish justice.
» Siete Pecados Marine Park «
Our next snorkel destination was a small island called Siete Pecados, “Seven Sins.” Legend has it that there were seven sisters who went swimming against their mother’s wishes and in the end they all drowned and died. After the events, seven islands appeared.
Siete Pecados is another great snorkeling spot with a large coral garden. Be careful and don’t step on the coral.
» Kayangan Lake «
Arguably, the most photogenic destination in Coron, Kayangan Lake is the biggest lake accessible to the public on the island of Coron. Upon arriving into the small port, I was welcomed by a breathtaking view of tall rock walls and blue waters. There was a little hut at the dock with a map showing the geography of the island. Our guide pointed out all the spots we visited on the island that day as well as some of the folklore about the lakes on the island.
We hiked about 10 minutes to get to the lake. They have a staircase that first climbs up then back down to Kayangan. When wet, the shiny rock stair cases poses a danger because of the possibility of slipping. We proceeded with caution.
My family mostly stayed at the walkway at the entrance of the lake, while I ventured to the middle of the lake, with a life vest just in case. It’s truly an awe-inspiring moment to just float in the middle of the ginormous body of water. Surrounding me was the tall rock mountains as I watched the sunset behind them.
Day 3: Island Hopping II
Day two of island hopping
» Bulog Dos «
Bulog Dos is located close to the tip of Malaroyroy Peninsula at the norther end of Bulalacao, an island southwest of Coron Island and adjacent to Culion Island. Part of the peninsula is restricted to the public because there is a Two Seasons resort (not to be mistaken for the Four Season Hotel chain)
The unique aspect of this island is the small sandbar, a great photo opt.
» Banana Island «
Often mistaken of having banana trees, Banana Island is actually named after the shape the island looks like from an aerial view (Hopefully you packed your drone).
Not only was it a great lunch spot, but guests can actually stay on the island for a night at one of their beach front rooms. Banana Islands offers shallow water snorkeling, shaded lunch benches and a volleyball court.
We docked at Banana Island around lunch time and got there before the other group tours came. The island had a two story hut that was first come, first serve so we were able to put our belongs on the furniture, staking our temporary “home”. I named a rooster and chicken that kept “flying” and walking around the hut. Lunch was served at one of the lunch benches, we ate the same dishes as yesterday, but I wasn’t complaining. They were good! Our crew knows how to cook very well.
After some chit chat with our guide, I applied more sunblock and did some snorkeling with my dad, brother, uncle and guide. The nice part of the snorkeling area here was it was shallow. I was able to see a variety of fish species and captured them on my Go Pro. I captured a curious fish that kept knocking into my camera.
» Malcapuya Island «
On our way to Malcapuya Island we were lucky enough to see a big manta ray. At first, we thought it was a shark, the manta ray swam below our bottom, it was GINORMOUS! It was an amazing sight!
Our boat docked on the side of the island were I could see many locals hanging outside their homes. We walked about ten minutes on a dirt path to the other side of the island, seeing cashew trees and coconut trees on either side.
Our guide brought us to the shore to do some more snorkeling. What made this experience unique was how we glided through the water. We held onto the balancers on either side of the boats and were pulled through the ocean, looking at the beautiful coral below. Schools of fish swarmed us as our guides threw bread into the water.
» Barracuda Island «
We were initially scheduled to visit Barracuda Lake on the first day of our tour, but because of time, we postponed our visit to the next day. Barracuda Lake is smaller than Kagayan Lake and had far less people when we visited. We did a a little more snorkeling and were able to see very small catfish
The only mode of public transportation are the tricycles (and the tour vans). They can fit up to 8 people and cost P10 ($0.20 USD) per person, one way.
Where to book an Island Tour?
I highly recommend booking a tour with Calamianes Expditions Ecotour. The itinerary above was a custom built tour, recommended by my aunt who has been to Coron twice. Our tour guide Andy was AMAZING! A very nice, knowledgeable guide.
For $110 per person – 3 day land and sea tour, airport transfer (pick-up and drop-off), boat, rental, entrance fees to some of the islands (some of the islands require you to pay on the island but they cost only about $2-$4 per person) and lunch during your island hopping tour. We had a private tour with 7 people. It’s a great deal!!!
Where to stay in Coron?
My siblings and I received an upgraded room at no extra charge. Initially, We were supposed to get a room with an occupancy of 3 people (a twin and one full) but we got a room with 2 full beds. It was $30 per night.
Every morning you can go to their rooftop cafeteria and eat a delicious, Filipino breakfast of either fish or tocino (pork) with eggs and rice. With a view like that, how can you not feel like you’re on holiday.
How much is a trip to Coron, Palawan?
Hotel Accommodation: $30 [$30 per night (3 nights = $90) ($90 divided by 3 people):]
Expedition Island Tour Hopping (3 days including airport transportation): $110
Gratuity/tip for our tour guide for 3 days – $50 (split between 7): $8
3 meals (not included in our tour) – $20
Total per person: $350
I can’t stress how BEAUTIFUL Coron is! It’s an island paradise!
Coron’s not super touristy or commercialized (hopefully it doesn’t change anytime soon) and it’s fairly inexpensive if you are already in the Philippines. It’s great for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, the perfect spot for the beach bum.