Coron is located in northern Palawan in the Philippines, just north of Malaysia. With gorgeous beaches, jungles, world-class snorkeling, hidden lakes, and sunken war ships you can swim through while diving, it’s no surprise the region has recently been voted the World’s Most Gorgeous Island twice. This guide will help you plan your visit and make the most out of your time on the island.
When to Visit:
The island’s dry season lasts from December to May, with December to February the coolest months. The rainy season spans from June to November and is also considered the low season. July to October is typhoon season, although I recently visited in October with no issues. If you plan to visit in high season, it’s advisable to book your accommodations in advance.
How to Get There:
There are many options for reaching Coron from Manila, where most visitors travel from.
- Philippine Airlines offers several daily flights from Manila.
- Cebu Pacific offers several daily flights from Manila.
- Sky Jet Airlines offers one daily flight from Manila.
- Air Juan is a small nine seater charter flight with several flights weekly. Check the website for their current schedule.
If you’re coming to Coron from El Nido, you can also take a boat transfer. Depending on timing, the cost is 1,500-1,800 pesos ($30-$36 USD). I took this boat the first time I visited, and it’s not so bad during good weather. The trip generally takes more or less eight hours, although they have recently added a new high-speed boat option that can cut the trip to about four hours. If you’re prone to seasickness, I’d recommend you take tablets before departure.
Boat schedules here are more akin to suggestions fixed routines. They are prone to change based on weather or whether the boat has enough passengers to make the trip. Several companies leave at different times throughout the day. Check locally for the most up to date information.
To be honest, I’ve never taken a cargo ferry nor would I recommend it. I’ve heard terrible stories about people being packed on to ferries with animals, arrival times of more than twenty-four hours after the expected times, and poor sleeping quarters. If you plan your trip in advance, you can often find good deals on flights.
If you’re very brave or traveling on a small budget, here are the cargo ferry websites where you can check prices and schedules:
2Go Ferry- of the two, this one is most highly recommended, as it’s known to be the more professional carrier.
Atinenza Shipping Lines- for the truly brave or those on tighter budgets. I recommend reading reviews and first hand accounts of those who have used this method before you book your own trip.
Transportation around town:
There are no taxis in town, but instead tricycles, or tuk tuks, which you’ll be familiar with if you’ve traveled in other parts of SE Asia. I’ve heard you can get rides in town for 10 pesos/.20 USD, but I found the pretty standard rate to be 20 pesos/.40 USD whenever I asked.
What to Do:
There is so much to do and see on Coron that I chose to return during my most recent visit to the Philippines. This says a lot, considering that the Philippines are made up of more than 7,000 islands, and I chose to revisit one I had previously been to!
Island hopping tour:
This experience is a must do for every visitor to Coron. Coron is the perfect jumping off point for these day trips. Island hopping tours take you out to visit surrounding islands for the day. There are many different tour packages to choose from, but I highly suggest you opt for one that visits both Twin Lagoon and Kayangan Lake.
When visiting Twin Lagoon, your tour will dock in the first lagoon. To reach the second, or hidden, lagoon you will have to either swim under a crevice in rock (if you visit during low tide) or climb a ladder and traverse the rock to reach the hidden spot (during high tide).
Visiting Kayangan Lake will allow you to capture the classic shot of Coron that you’re probably familiar with. Kayangan Lake is said to be the cleanest lake in all of Asia. The water is clear and gorgeous, and the surrounding limestone creates a dramatic scene.
I worked with JY Travel, who arranged a private island hopping tour. The guides were excellent and made a point to avoid crowds and make sure we had the places nearly to ourselves. I recommend this company, although make sure to clarify if the entrance fees are included in your tour beforehand. We paid up to 200 pesos/$4 USD per person per site we visited.
Due to the numerous sunken Japanese war ships found offshore, Coron is world-famous for diving. There are many dive companies in the area, but I chose to work with Seadive Resort. The equipment was new, the crew were professional, and they are serious about safety. I recommend you contact them to arrange your diving.
Hiking Mt. Tapyas:
With more than 720 stairs to reach the top, this hike is totally worth the sunset view. The trail is also easy to find, as there is a huge white cross on top and the name of the town spelled out in white letters that resemble the Hollywood sign.
Soaking in the hot springs:
As soon as the sun begins to set, the tricycle drivers will start asking if you want to head to the hot springs. Say yes. We negotiated a round trip tricycle ride to the hot springs for 300 pesos/$6 USD. The ride takes about 30 minutes each way, and the dirt road is very bumpy. The entrance is 200 pesos/$4 USD per person. The hot springs have large pools of saltwater at a constant temperature of 102-104° Fahrenheit (39-40° Celsius) A therapeutic soak is perfect for soothing aching muscles after climbing Mt. Tapyas.
Where to Stay:
As mentioned before, if you plan to visit during high season, you’ll want to book accommodations in advance. I recommend Booking.com. Coron offers a wide range of choices for every budget. In particular, I would recommend either of the following properties:
The Funny Lion Inn is a contemporary boutique resort only five minutes via tricycle ride from Coron’s town center. Request a poolside room if there’s one available, and be sure to check out the amazing restaurant attached to the property. Read a full review of this property here.
Where to Eat:
For a small town, Coron has a wide variety of dining options.
Brujita has perhaps my favorite menu in town, and they’re consistent. The menu features many vegetarian options, as well as local and international choices. Make sure to check the menu board for the daily specials.
La Sirenetta is a great choice for a date, as the restaurant features over the water dining. The food was pretty standard, good not great, but the atmosphere makes it well worth a visit.
No Name Bar is my favorite spot in town for happy hour. This venue always turns into one of the busiest spots in town at night. The staff are friendly, the food is great, the beer is cold and the drinks are strong and priced well.
Blue Moon has an international and local menu and also features beef imported from Australia to serve the best steaks in town. Another local favorite, this place is crowded every night.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but everyone assured me that Coffee Kong was the best place to get your morning fix.
Where to Work:
Wifi can be pretty spotty on Coron, but I found two places that had stable, consistent connections — when the town had electricity, of course.
La Morena is located in the middle of the town. The food and drink menu is also nice. Make sure to try one of their huge smoothies.
One Avery Bay Hotel offers a great 150 peso/$3 USD breakfast menu that features everything from banana pancakes to local specialties. The wifi was great, and there’s even air conditioning, but the restaurant is only open until 10:30 a.m.
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I’ve read before that there are no ATMs on Coron, but this is not true. I’ve found several ATMs on the island, but frequent power outages can leave the machines out of service, and I’ve heard they sometimes run out of money. I only had an issue once with one machine, and the one next to it was working fine.
Speaking of power outages — they are frequent but generally short.
Be aware that when you depart Coron by flight, you will be assessed a 200 peso/$4 USD airport tax.
Cellular/3G service is infamously poor throughout the country. The two largest companies are Globe and Smart. I had SIM cards from both, and I give Globe the edge.
Two hours of internet at the local internet cafe will set you back 30 pesos/.60 USD.
Disclaimer: Some hotel stays or tours may have been discounted or complimentary. However, all opinions remain my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links. Using these links help support the blog at no additional cost to you.