Everything you need to know about Coron Palawan

The islands commonly know as Coron are some of our favorite places in the whole world. The more we travel the more we look back at the time we spent here and realize how special this place is. Coron, Palawan is home to a number of unique and breathtaking sights. 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. 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

Traditional filipino boat on a day trip in Coron

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


Famous viewpoint from Kayangan Lake Coron Island Philippines

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:

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.


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.

white sand beach of Malcapuya Island near Coron in the Palawan

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.

Coron Island in the Coron Archipelago Palawan Philippines

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 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.

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.

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 a fun are swimming around it.

Coron town - Things to do hike Mt Tapyas

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? No, on our visit the power went out randomly every day sometimes hours at a time.


El Nido Vs. Coron

This topic seems to come up between Coron and El Nido of which to visit, the simple answer is they 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.


More on the Philippines

For additional Philippines information check out our other articles:

El Nido Day Trip A Featured Image El Nido Day Trip Tour A Thumb boracay on a budget feature   filipino phood feature 1

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35 thoughts on “Everything you need to know about Coron Palawan”

    • When there is power it was good. We suggest getting a local sim card and data plan, it’s super cheap and then you can just hotspot off your phone. I would also read recent reviews of your accommodation to see what other guests are saying.

  1. Hello, we have only 6 days 5 nights alloted between elnido and Coron . Can’t decide which one to stay longer El Nido or Coron ? One has to be 3D2N and the other to be 4D3N including travel via Montenegro. We’re all adults in our group and not much into diving .. Perhaps you guys can help me decide.. 🙂

    • Both are amazing places, but if you aren’t diving I would spend the extra day in El Nido. I think there is a bit more to see and do, but either way you choose you’ll be blown away, these are some of our favorite places we have ever visited. Also, you might want to check out the underground river in Puerto Princessa which is closer to El Nido, but this would further cut into your time on the islands. Safe Travels!

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for a nice blog about this place!! :-_)
    Me and my boyfriend are going to Philippines. We are starting our tour like this: Dumaugete just to land there and then going directly to – Apo Island 3 days – Siquijor Island 5 days – Oslob 6 days – Boracay 5 days – Coron for 4 1/5 days. What do you think about that? All the flights are booked and we are looking forward to this so much! I am little sad that we arent going to El nido in Palawan 🙁 but we cant do evrything…
    We have open water, so looking forward to dive! But I can read that you are saying that Coron town is something else then the island? I really want to see and enjoy diffrent Islands or the beauty of Coron, so where to stay? Its our last place in our tour 🙁 Coron and then back to Manila and home 🙁 our flight back to Manila is going 16:00 and back home to Scandinavia is going 20:00, so I really hope we make it! :p

    Thank you so much!
    Have a nice day

    • I think you have a nice trip planned, my only suggestion would be to consider skipping Boracay and going to El Nido instead. Boracay is nice enough but it can be very busy and not as pretty as El Nido. If it’s too late to change, I am sure you’ll still have a good time in Boracay, we just prefer El Nido. Coron Town is the main area tourists stay, but the best islands are seen on day trips and the shipwreck dive sites are about 1-hour boat ride from town. Hope that helps and that you have a great trip!

  3. Hi. Thank you so much for posting these facts, tips and infos about Coron. I’m planning to go there next year. I have no diving experience but would love to try it. Will they allow me? Do they have rentals for diving gears? Thank you

    • Yes, they will have dive gear and you can dive without experience. You will be limited to 12 meters, but you can still do an intro and if you like it you can take a course there as well. Safe Travels!

  4. Thanks for sharing! It was one of my favorite places.
    The most beautiful view in Coron comes after the sunset on Mt. Tapyas
    Have an amazing time in Coron!

  5. Hi there we are taking 3 kids . Aged 17 , 10 and 6 to Coron for 10 days with my padi instructor partner. I’m hoping we will have a lovely time. Is there any beaches we can go and hang out on as I am a beach bum or is it all boat tours there?

    • I hope you and your family have a blast in Coron, the Palawan is gorgeous. Great place to go diving. There isn’t really a beach in town. There are some out of town but you’ll need to drive to them. The best beaches are on boat tours. Since you are a larger group I would inquire about rates for a private day tour. That way you can come and go at your pace. This is what we prefer to do. Safe travels and have an amazing time.

  6. Wow amazing tips! one question – if i wanna go and dive (i.e. see one of the japanese wrecks, can i do it even with 0 dive experience ?
    If not, for a total beginner, where we could do this?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Alessia – These particular ships you would need to be advanced open water certified since they are deeper at around 30 meters (~100 feet). If you are looking for a similar experience with the beginner certification we actually just did two WWII ship wrecks in Aruba that are at a depth appropriate for beginners. We will be writing about these in the coming weeks. The ships here are German warships instead of Japanese. The only slight down side is there isn’t as many of them in one spot, and they are not as intact as the ones mentioned in this article. Also, I am sure there are others around the world you could find as well.

  7. Your tips has been very helpful. We are staying 3 days. I wanted to ask you for Kayangan lake is it a day trip tour and they combine it with different islands or is just a whole day in kayangan lake? Also my son doesn’t have just snorkle so was wondering is the snorkle there was good or is more about diving ? Thank u so much

  8. I’m Oli’s friend at Corto Divers. Nice to know that you used their services. 🙂 I heard that there are hotels there that offers Php 500/night. About the ferry going to Coron, you can book via http://travel.2go.com.ph/index.asp. Also, when we were in Coron town before, what we did was we climbed the Mt. Tapyas and had a relaxing bath at their natural hot spring (you just need to rent a tricycle).

  9. go to siargao, malapascua, bohol, siquijor, Camiguin route next. Swim with whale sharks too! Apo and malapascua amazing for diving!

  10. this is my first time i heard of coron .. and that sisig is really yummy, i always love it,, by the way is the white thing an octopus limbs ? looks like half cook octopus .. sorry but looks like its half cook to me..

  11. The place was called The Alternative. If you look on her blog that is where she worked when she lived in the Philippines. She loved it, so I tried it out. A friend who I met snorkeling stayed at Greenview in Corong Corong which is about 10 minutes by trike outside of El Nido town. I think I would stay there if I went to El Nido again because they had a generator and a pretty decent restaurant on site. The area seemed a bit nicer than El Nido town.

    • We ate there! In one of the “bird’s nests” I had the pumpkin soup, really tasty! Next time we would spend a few nights in town, and few nights out of town on the beach we think. We do plan on going back next January.

  12. Really fair write-up for Coron. In the end it was one of my favorite places I’ve been for the sheer beauty, but I agree, there really wasn’t much goin on! Coron town was also just a horribly nasty little place.

    My only recommendation to anyone who’s interested in the island is to rent a bike or motorcycle and stay in some of the smaller towns around the island. They’re much quieter, cleaner, and full of genuinely nice locals who will show you the hidden nooks of the island.

    If you aren’t on a bottom-dollar budget (though it still costs less than a night in a US Motel 6) is Al Faro. This place was hand-built by the owner, and it’s gorgeous. The staff are unbelievably friendly, and they serve tasty Filipino treats and drinks all day long. I should let this picture do the talking: http://www.flickr.com/photos/traveltransmissions/8243274055/in/set-72157632169419486

    • Yeah we were staying in Coron Town, 7 nights in total there. We ended up staying in 3 different hotel. Adam was diving, so staying in town was a must due to timing and coming and going. I was very bored though, nothing to do in the town. The day trips were the best, I would recommend people 3 nights.

  13. Sorry to hear about some of your experiences but if your primary goal in visiting the Philippines is diving, there are many other spots to do it. You can try Camiguin for sunken ships while coral reefs can be found at Apo Reef Naional Park, thresher sharks at Malapascua Island (northern tip of Cebu),and (a few occasional sea snakes) in Moalboal, (south of) Cebu.

    • It wasn’t a bad experience, just a week in Coron Town for a non-diver is a little to much. Adam really loved his time in the water, so I am happy we were able to stay long enough for him to get advanced open water certified. Thanks for the tips, we plan on returning to the Philippines next year.

  14. I found El Nido to be similar but maybe a tad bit busier. There’s a cafe in town that had a guitarist play. But it’s not really about the town, it’s about getting out to the islands in the day. Island hopping, swimming, snorkeling, meeting other travelers, etc. I also stayed in a place without a generator from the recommendation of Jody from Legal Nomads. I read by headlamp haha. I believe everywhere but Puerto Princessa has limited power. Another place that I loved that was even quieter only had 6 hours of power (6pm-midnight) in the whole town and no one had generators. We’d have dinner. Get drunk and then walk back with headlamps to our pitch black beachfront bungalows.

    Next time I’m bringing my solar chargers!! I totally want to go to Coron now. Looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing!

    • We also visited El Nido, which was great too but we hear the diving isn’t as great. I didn’t dive so I can’t say for sure. We mainly did the day tours, and went to the nearby beaches (amazing). El Nido had way more options as far as restaurants & bars, which Hannah preferred. Our place didnt have a generator either in El NIdo so 6am wakeup call of heat as the fan went out, and no power until 2pm again! What was the name of the place you stayed at? We plan on returning to El Nido next year.

    • It has really good and cheap day trips that are a must if you visit Coron. If you are a diver you will be in heaven, as the diving is not only cheap it is one of the best I’ve ever done. Next time think about adding Coron to your route.

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