The islands, commonly known as Coron, are some of our favorite places in the whole world. We have visited more than 80 countries around the world, but when my mind drifts to our favorite places – it always ends up here. This place is special.
What this cluster of islands has become most well known for is a handful of WWII shipwrecks that are permanently entombed off the shores of Coron. Above the surface, Coron is just as majestic and is home to one of the most photographed spots in all of the Philippines. The deeper you look, the more breathtaking sights you will find here in Coron, Philippines.
Our first trip was in 2014, and we just returned from another amazing week in Coron Palawan. Here is everything you need to know before planning a trip to Coron Palawan in the remote corner of the Philippines.
Where Is Coron?
A part of the Calamian Islands, or Calamianes Archipelago, Coron is in the Palawan Provence in the far west of the Philippines.
What most travelers call Coron is Coron Town which is located on the largest island in the archipelago, Busuanga Island. What can be confusing is there is also Coron Island, which is a stunning undeveloped island that most Coron day trips visit.
Coron Island is located a 30-minute boat ride from the town on Busuanga Island and is home to many of the top sights in Coron. Here you can find Twin Lagoons, Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, and many stunning beaches and smaller lagoons.
Coron Town is a fishing village with a population is just over 40,000, but it is becoming more and more popular tourist every year. Coron is often listed as one of the top tourist places in the Philippines. The Palawan was recently named the most beautiful island in the world, and we’d have to agree.
Related Article: El Nido Palawan Guide
How To Get To Coron Palawan
Traveling to Coron by plane
Coron Airport Code: XCN
The quickest way to get on the island is to fly. Cebu Pacific and Philippines Airlines run flights several times per day from Manila. If possible, avoid the later flights. The Coron airport (Busuanga) doesn’t have runway lights, and flights can’t land after dusk. There are also flights from El Nido to Coron on Air Swift, click here to check prices and book online.
Coron Palawan Airport to Coron town:
When you arrive by plane, all of the local taxi drivers know the flight schedules, and they will be waiting to take passengers to Coron Town.
Ferry from Manila to Coron
There is a ferry that runs from Manila and Puerto Princesa to Coron. The ferry from Manila to Coron is 15 hours and runs twice a week. The journey from Puerto Princesa to Coron also takes 15 hours.
The same boat company then runs from Coron back to Manila or Puerta Princesa, which is the getaway to El Nido. There are tons of things to do in El Nido. We highly recommend adding El Nido to your Philippines travel plans.
Ferry From El Nido to Coron
There are two ferry companies that run an El Nido to Coron ferry, each once a day. For our complete El Nido to Coron, ferry guide click here, complete with schedule and ferry tips. The ferry only takes 4 hours and is one of the fastest ways to travel to Coron. The ferry sells out days in advance. Make sure book tickets online in advance.
Expedition Cruise El Nido to Coron
One of the coolest and most scenic ways to travel between El Nido and Coron is an Expedition Cruise. This is one of the newest ways it’s a super unique adventure cruise traveling between El Nido to Coron. The expedition cruises range from three to five-day options and you’ll stop and camp at various islands that lie between Coron and El Nido.
If you are wanting a crazy, fun Philippines adventure, then an expedition cruise is for you. You have to open to beach camping, but you’ll get to see the islands and beaches that very, very few people visit.
We recommend booking an expedition cruise with El Nido Paradise. They have six different expedition cruises. The cruises include all your meals, water, rum & coke, snorkel equipment, tents & bedding, and amazing scenery. Prices vary based on the dates and length of the expedition cruise. Click here to book online.
Related Article: Things To Do In El Nido
Coron Palawan Itinerary
The diving in Coron could take weeks if you have the time or desire. For most, it’s the main draw to Coron, and the most popular sites are a fleet of sunken Japanese warships in 20-35 meters of water.
The dive sites are about an hour boat ride from the port in Coron Town, and it’s typical to do two tanks per day and sometimes three depending on the dives.
How Many Days Should You Spend In Coron?
Well, that depends if you are diving and how much diving in the Palawan you’re doing. Outside of diving, we would plan a minimum of 3 days in addition to diving days to see the rest of the surrounding islands near Coron Palawan.
Coron Day Trips
During the day, get on a boat and get out of town, there are a handful of preset tours where you will join other travelers to see some of the top sites in the Palawan nearby. Prices are from 850P to 1500P, including lunch.
Most tours return after 4 pm, leaving you only to find dinner in town. Picky eaters, beware. We didn’t find any options for Hannah’s selective pallet. The few good ones we found are in the tips section.
Where to Stay in Coron Palawan?
The easiest place to base yourself in Coron Town is on the Island of Busuanga. However, there isn’t much to do in the actual town. The beaches on the main island require a drive, but in the town, you’ll find plenty of restaurants, tour operators, and even a little bit of nightlife.
The action and the main draw to Coron is a boat ride away. The small islands clustered around Busuanga are some of the prettiest I have seen, and the diving is one of a kind. Here are a few properties we suggest:
- Corto del Mar (this is where we stayed) | Check Rates On Booking.com | Read Latest TripAdvisor Reviews
- The Funny Lion the #1 hotel in Coron on TripAdvisor | Get The Best Price On Booking.com | Read Latest TripAdvisor Reviews
- Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa right on their own private bach | Get The Best Price On Booking.com | Read Latest TripAdvisor Reviews
There are also options where you can have a boat take you to another island to stay, but you need to bring all of your food and be okay without moving around a lot. If we were to come back, we would consider this option.
*When looking for the best price and the biggest selection of hotels in Coron check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with Safety Wing. Which coverage includes medical, trip interruption, lost luggage, and more. Often rates are as low as $12 a week.
Things To Do In Coron Palawan
1. Visit Kayangan Lake
Known as one of the clearest lakes in all of Asia, this gem and the island that holds it is one of the most stunning places on the planet. Kayangan Lake and the nearby viewpoint are one of the most photographed places in all the Philippines.
The main viewpoint most people are familiar with is not actually of the lake but the bay on the other side of Coron Island. Currently, they have parts of the lake roped off for conservation, and during our 2019 visit to Coron, there were no Bamboo rafts on offer.
If you visit in the late morning, this lake will be at its busiest. If you can, try to arrange a trip that goes early in the morning or after lunch. Many of the standard tours all follow the same route, which puts a lot of people at the sight in the late morning.
However, just before noon is one of the best times to see the famous viewpoint at the top of the hill at Kayangan Lake, with no shadows in the bay. The best approach is to visit in the early morning and visit the lake and then on the way out, stop at the viewpoint while it is sunny.
2. Visit Malcapuya Beach
A short boat ride from Coron Town is the stunning Malcapuya Beach. With only a few small hotels on the beach, you can have this picture-perfect stretch of sand mostly to yourself. Seriously some of the most beautiful scenery we have encountered. Bright blue and green waters with white sands.
To get to this beach, you can take a day tour visiting this beach and a few others as part of the Beach Tour day trip bookable in Coron Town. (all part of the beach tour #1, 1200P)
Related Article: Siargao Island – The Philippines’ Best Kept Secret
3. Shipwreck diving in Coron
One of the main draws for visitors is the fleet of Japanese warships at the bottom of the sea in Coron. Here you can find 12 well-preserved World War II wrecks at diveable depths, which is pretty incredible. I dove four of the wrecks as part of my Advanced Open Water Certification with Corto Divers.
4. Visit Coron Island
Some of the best things to see and do in Coron are on Coron Island, not the island with Coron Town. The best stuff is a boat ride away. Make sure to take lots of day trips while visiting Coron Palawan.
5. Get a Dive Certification or Advanced Certification
This is a great place to get certified to dive. There are incredibly unique places to explore while diving in Coron. The shipwrecks are a great place to complete an advanced open water certificate.
There is a lot to see on the required dives as opposed to other places where there you may just go through the skills. Here in Coron, Philippines, on your deep-dive training, you can swim around the shipwrecks, which are deeper than 35 meters at some points.
For the other specialty dives, you can again use the shipwreck to fill your wreck dive training. Coron is also an awesome place for a night dive with lots to see, including bioluminescent plankton glowing in the dark.
6. Swim into the Twin Lagoon
One of the most breathtaking scenes in Coron is the stunning Twin Lagoon. Make sure to take a day trip that brings you to these pools of water that hold every shade of blue imaginable. Located on the fringes of Coron Island, the twin lagoons are a must-visit.
Related Article: Top Things to do in the Palawan
7. Maquinit Hot Springs
Relax in the Maquinit Springs after a busy trip of diving and exploring the beautiful islands of Coron. The water in the springs is warm and cozy at just over 100 degrees F. Located outside of town, you can either arrange a local guide or hire a driver to bring you there too. This is a great place for sunset to relax after a busy day exploring Coron Philippines.
8. Dive or Snorkel in Barracuda Lake
Next door to Kayangan Lake is another ultra-clear lake named Barracuda Lake. For a quieter experience than the more popular Kayangan Lake, then head over to Barracuda. In addition to the fewer crowds, this lake also has some interesting features like thermoclines and underwater mountains. This lake is just as clear if not clearer than Kayangan Lake and is less visited.
Most people say Kayangan Lake is the clearest lake in Asia. Those people obviously haven’t been to Barracuda Lake. This Lake also has many unique features that make it a top dive spot in Coron.
Read our full guide on Barracuda Lake
9. Snorkel the Lusong Gunboat
One particular shipwreck is so shallow you can actually snorkel it. The Lusong Gunboat is situated just below the surface. After over 70 years, it has become part of the environment, and corals are growing on it. It is fun swimming around it.
10. Hike Mt.Tapyas
If you are looking for some adventure that doesn’t involve a boat, then do the climb to the top of Mt. Tapyas. While probably not technically a mountain, the view from the top is worth the hike up. Here you’ll be rewarded with views of Coron town and Coron Island in the distance.
Best Restaurants in Coron Palawan
There weren’t a lot of choices, especially for western food. If Filipino food isn’t your thing, you will be limited. By far, the best western options we found were at Corto Del Mar hotel, with pizzas, pasta, and burgers, along with Filipino options. We didn’t have a bad meal here.
Altrove Pizza – The same owner the runs the Altrove in El Nido has opened a location in Coron as well, and it’s just as good. There is sometimes a wait outside, but the line moves pretty fast. Worth the wait, generally.
Try the Sisig – If you like sisig try it at Lolo Nonoy’s cooking station is one of the best I have had in the Philippines, the garlic rice is good too, and beer is always 40P.
Corto del mar hotel – Good thin-crust pizza and some of the cheapest happy hour beer in town at 35P from 5-8 pm. Sunday pizza and a beer for 200P is a good deal.
Coron Travel Tips:
Dive with Corto Divers – Their boats are nicely set up for diving, the staff is knowledgeable, and they actually care if you have good dive experience. Lunch is included with dives, and the food is some of the better food I have had in the Philippines.
From all the other shops I visited, I am confident I made the right choice diving here, you won’t be disappointed.
Make sure your tetanus shot is up to date if diving: The ships are awesome to explore, but they are full of tight entries and rusty metal. We saw lots of people walking around town that looked like they had a run-in with a sharp piece of ship metal, so get your shots if you are going under.
Avoid the later flights to Coron Palawan Airport: Taking the last flight to Busuanga you run the risk of it being canceled because the airport stops service at dusk because they have no runway lights.
Coron Palawan FAQs:
Is there an ATM on Coron? Yes, at least three machines we saw. Fees were 200P per transaction.
Is there 24-hour power? Yes, over the past few years, the power grid is much improved, and brownouts or power outages are much less frequent.
El Nido Vs. Coron
This topic seems to come up between Coron and El Nido of which to visit. The simple answer is they both should be visited! If you don’t have time in your schedule to visit both – cut something else out because you seriously need to see both of these places.
Do not skip El Nido, and definitely, do not skip Coron Palawan.