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. Our first trip was in 2014 and we just returned from another amazing week in Coron Palawan in 2019.
What this cluster of islands has become most well known for is the 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.
Here is everything you need to know before planning a trip to Coron Palawan in the remote corner of the Philippines.
Where Is Coron?
There are technically two Coron Philippines, one is actually the name of the largest town on Busuanga island and another Coron is a smaller island 30-minutes offshore from Coron Town. Coron makes up the eastern half of Busuanga Island.
Coron Town is a small fishing village with a population is just over 40,000 but is becoming more and more of a popular tourist destination. 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.
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.
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 hours boat ride from the port in Coron Town and it’s typical to do 2 tanks per day, and sometimes 3 depending on the dives. Prices in town are around 3000P for 2 tanks and 3500P for 3 tanks.
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 3 days on top to see the rest of the surrounding islands nearby 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 650P to 1200P 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 is Coron Town on the Island of Busuanga. However, there isn’t much to do in the actual town, no beach, limited restaurants, and maybe a bar or two for tourists.
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 Agoda | Read Latest TripAdvisor Reviews
- The Funny Lion the #1 hotel in Coron on TripAdvisor | Get The Best Price On Agoda | Read Latest TripAdvisor Reviews
- Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa right on their own private bach | Get The Best Price On Agoda | Read Latest TripAdvisor Reviews
Very basic rooms go for around 1350P ($30USD) which we felt was high for the Philippines. Most were in rough shape too, non-functioning toilets, and extremely poorly done electrical showers (scary).
You’d be better off paying more here and get something where you can sleep especially if diving a lot. 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.
Avoid – Coron Village Lodge
Stay at a place with a generator – The power goes in and out throughout Coron without any warning or schedule. On average it was 3-5 hours a day and varied from 12am-5am, 7 pm-?, 11am-2pm.
Having a generator will keep your lights on and your A/C or fan going. You can thank me later. Coron Village lodge did NOT have a generator, but Corto del Mar hotel did. We moved to this hotel later in our trip and loved it, highly recommend Corto del Mar hotel.
Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with World Nomads. Which coverage includes medical, trip cancellation, your belongings from theft or damage, baggage, car rental coverage, and much more.
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 of 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. Don’t miss the bamboo raft rides offered of this stunning lake.
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 other as part of the Beach Tour day trip bookable in Coron Town. (all part of the beach tour #1, 1200P)
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 Hidden Lagoon
One of the coolest swimming holes in the Philippines is only accessed through a small hole in the rocks. Once you are through the narrow passage this lagoon opens up into a stunning grotto.
7. Maquinit 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 a 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. 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 the head over to Barracuda. In addition to the fewer crowds, this lake also has some interesting features like hot springs and underwater mountains. This lake is just as clear if not clearer than Kayangan Lake and is less visited.
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 are fun swimming around it.
10. Hike Mt.Tapyas
If you are looking for some adventure that doesn’t involve a boat then make 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 wasn’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.
Get the bubble tea from the little store on Don Pedro street. I had milk tea with black pearls daily for just 55 pesos ($1) for 22 ounces. Hannah had the all natural mango smoothie for 60 pesos.
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 5-8pm. 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 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 3 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.