Located on the west of The Philippines, Coron is a beautiful island paradise with its many beaches, islands and sceneries, attracting much hype over the past few years.
While not as popular as its counterpart, El Nido, it still holds much charm for the island-lovers.
After spending 4 days in Coron, I can safely say that this little town, while it doesn’t offer plenty of activities, has views from the neighbouring islands and colourful marine life that make them reason enough to warrant a visit if you do visit El Nido or the Palawan region.
Recommended duration in Coron: 3 days
Where to stay in Coron, Palawan
There are tons of Coron resorts and hotels, partly due to the increasing interest from many tourists in recent years. From luxurious, private beach villas with a view of the ocean to staying in vibrant hostels, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Some of these villas are located on remote, private islands, so it’s perfect for if you want to avoid the crowds in the town area. These villas also offer private tour packages that allows you to see Coron a little differently than how the main tours would, so it’s perfect for those looking for more customizable tour options and smaller groups.
- Club Paradise (From SGD301/night)
- Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa (From SGD645/night)
- Sangat Island Dive Resort (From SGD306/night)
Stay in comfort without being too far away from Coron Town Proper. Whether you want to stay in a beachfront resort on the outskirts of Coron or stay in a delightful hotel conveniently located in the Coron Town Proper city centre, there are plenty of options for you here. Here are some of my recommended options:
- Coron Soleil Garden Resort (From SGD123/night)
- Sophia’s Garden Resort (From SGD120/night)
- El Rio Y Mar Resort (From SGD150/night)
- Asia Grand View Hotel (From SGD116/night)
- Bluewave Hotel (From SGD133/night)
- The Funny Lion (From SGD186/night)
- MO2 Westown Lagoon (From SGD67/night)
Surround yourself with like-minded backpackers in hostels, who are mostly here in Coron eager to experience a thrilling journey of island-hopping around the beautiful islands.
If you looking for cheap, private accommodation, then budget hotels are the way to go. The lower prices of these accommodations means you can afford to spend more on things to do and activities in Coron.
- K-Heights Inn (From SGD26/night)
- Macky’s Hidden Inn (From SGD29/night)
- Coron Paradise Bed & Breakfast (From SGD27/night)
What to do in Coron, Palawan
Of course, if you’re looking for things to do in Coron, the main highlight is to go on their island-hopping tours. If you have more time to spare, delve deeper into what the town has to offer!
1. Island hop with one of Coron’s tours
No island holiday is complete without seeing the best that the island has to offer. The Coron Ultimate Tour which I went for is one of the most comprehensive island-hopping tour in Coron. It covers 7 destinations in under 9 hours, all while basking in the tropical sun.
In Coron Town Proper, you’ll notice many street-side tour vendors selling different tour packages at similar prices. You can choose to purchase your tours directly from one of these vendors. Also, due to the availability of so many tour vendors, you should just take your time to discover the different prices and offerings from the different vendors before making your pick. These tour agencies are generally safe and reliable! 🙂
Another option is to book your tours online from tour providers such as Klook or KKday. They are definitely more credible and have gained popularity of late due to the ease of booking tours with a click of a button.
No matter what your choice of booking is, be sure to check the fine print to see what is included in your tour package, e.g. is there a 2-way shuttle to and from your accommodation to the port? Are certain equipments like snorkelling masks provided? Are there any other additional fees that I will need to pay?
I learned my mistake when I went for the Coron Ultimate Tour.
Here’s a breakdown of the different stops that the tours in Coron offer:
a. Coron Ultimate Tour
- Kayangan Lake
- Twin Lagoons
- Siete Pecados Marine Park
- Beach 91
- Skeleton Wreck
- Malwawey Reef & Coral Garden
- CYC Beach
b. Island Escapade Tour
- Malcapuya Island
- Banana Island
- Bulog Dos Island
c. Tribal Adventures – Ultimate Coron Banca & Sea Kayak Day Trip
2. Cafe-hopping in Coron Town Proper
Though it’s not as popular as island-hopping, we found a couple of cosy, hipster cafes in Coron by chance. We had to spend an extra day in Coron due to a bout of food poisoning, so we spent the remaining time looking for activities to kill our time. You can imagine how little entertainment there is in Coron. The main highlight of Coron is still its tours.
The cafe prices are reasonable, considering it’s not as popular with tourists as yet. For the cosy ambience, air-conditioning and service, it’s perfect if you’re a digital nomad or working remotely.
In fact, I hopped to a few different cafes, sipped on lattes, tapped on their Wifi and did some work too!
Three of my favourite finds are:
We spent two nights hanging out at Steve’s, a restaurant near the pier, getting snacks like french fries and mango milkshakes. What kept us coming back was the foosball table they had. I swear we played for 1.5 hours each time! It’s these little sources of entertainment in a simple town that kept our night going. They also have a live band, with the lead singer singing great renditions of pop songs.
3. Watch the sunset at the pier
The sun sets earlier in Coron, at approximately 6pm. We found the best view of the sunset to be at Bayside Plaza, near the pier. Nothing beats sitting on the ledge of the pier and taking in the company of each other as we watch the sun makes its slow descent into the horizon.
As we were doing that one night, the most unexpected thing happened – all the electricity in the town went out and we were in total darkness, even though it was only 6:30pm! It was as if the whole town disappeared and we were in our own world, with the stars in full glory.
Regardless of the power outage, no visit to Coron would be complete if you didn’t catch the sunset the way we did.
4. Climb up Mt Tapyas
Another vantage point to watch the sunset is at the top of Mt Tapyas, the Mt Tapyas Pavilion. It is quite some way up, with over 700 steps to climb, so set off at close to 4:30pm so you have ample time to hike up. Once up there, I got a great view of not just the sunset but also the entire Coron Town Proper.
5. Visit the local carnival
In a completely fateful twist of event, what started as an aimless walk through Coron Town Proper resulted in us finding a gem of a place.
Set out in an open field right next to the pier, the Public Market and Coron Bus and Jeepney Terminal, the local carnival that we ran into quickly brought back memories of our younger days, when Singapore had the occasional neighbourhood carnivals. I quickly walked around and explored the carnival.
There weren’t many foreigners in the carnival, to my surprise. This resulted in cheaper prices for food, games and attractions at the carnival!
6. Go shopping at the local market
In the day, the Old Public Market, also known as the Public Market, is buzzing with locals going about their daily lives, haggling and doing their grocery shopping at the different stalls there. From meat to vegetables, locally-produced clothes to snacks, there is a diverse choice of items on sale! Just stand back and bask in the sights and experience of local living.
7. Get out there!
Sometimes, the best plan is to have no plan at all. On the last 2 days of our stay in Coron, we often found ourselves walking aimlessly down the road and streets, ending up in an area of Coron Town Proper with no tourists at all in sight, and proper local food.
In fact, there was once when we even ended up at a local day market next to a primary school selling all kinds of items, including local snacks. The streets were decorated with colourful flags hanging from one lamp post to the next.
While it’s always fun to just walk around aimlessly, make sure you know your way back! 😉 This is one offline map app I strongly recommend every traveller to have.
Getting to Coron, Palawan
Getting to Coron, Palawan from El Nido
There are two ways to get to Coron from El Nido – by a fast ferry or a significantly slower ferry. The boats depart from Coron Port (location) and you can grab a tricycle to the port for under 80 Pesos.
1. Fast ferry
Operated by Montenegro Lines, this is the most popular choice among tourists as time is precious when you’re on vacation!
- Cost: 1,760 Pesos (There will be an additional 20 Pesos you need to pay at the entry on top of the ticket price for Terminal Fee.)
- Duration: 3.5 hours
- Departing Time: 8:30am, but be at the port by 7:30am.
Tip: Fast ferries don’t operate on Thursday, so avoid travelling on Thursday at all cost or you won’t be spared from the slow ferry!
2. Slow ferry
Operated by Bunso boats, this is an option for those travelling on a slightly tighter budget, or if you happen to travel on the one day the fast ferry doesn’t operate.
- Cost: 1,400 Pesos (There will be an additional 20 Pesos you will need to pay at the entry on top of the ticket price for Terminal Fee)
- Duration: 6 – 8 hours
- Departing Time: Between 8am – 8:30am, so be at the port by 7:30am
Tip: I’d recommend you to purchase your tickets from the street vendors as there are discounts available (I got my Fast ferry ticket at 1600 Pesos/pax instead).
Be sure to purchase them at least 1 day in advance to secure your seats!
If you’re wary or skeptical about the authenticity of the tickets you’ve purchased, you should always ask for a receipt. The vendor will issue you a ticket for the Montenegro Lines ferry, but for the Bunso boats, you’ll need to show your receipts instead.
Getting to Coron from Manila
Coron’s nearest airport is Francisco B. Reyes Airport (location). The airport is a pretty small airport with only the most basic facilities in place.
There is only one comfortable way for you to get to Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Coron, Busuanga from Manila, and that is by plane. Here’s what you need to know!
- Duration: Approximately 1 hr flight
- Flight operators: There are only 3 flight operators – Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airline, Skyjet – and they are mostly budget airlines.
- Cost: 2-way flight starts from USD180, depending on availability of tickets and seasonality
When i was heading to Coron, Busuanga from Manila, due to poor weather conditions, the plane had to make a detour back to Manila.
You can imagine the pain and disappointment I felt when the pilot made this announcement.
Getting to Coron Town Proper from Francisco B. Reyes Airport
If your accommodations provider has a shuttle service available, they’ll fetch you at the exit of the airport.
Just next to them, you’ll find a couple of public van operators holding signs of hostel names that they will be going driving past, so you just need to find the right van operator that goes to your hotel or hostel.
Each trip will cost you 150 Pesos each and it is non-negotiable.
Getting around Coron Town Proper
Coron Town Proper is quite a small town, so walking is a good way to get around. Besides, walking around Coron Town Proper allows you to see more of the city!
Alternatively, you can flag down a tricycle, which are pretty affordable. A 10-minute trip just cost us a mere 30 Pesos.
Tip: It’s always good to get them to quote the price of the ride before you step on so you won’t be shocked if they were to slap a bigger amount at the end of the trip. This leaves you with room to negotiate the prices too!
Where to eat in Coron, Palawan
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that there will be no shortage of good food around the town!
Here are some of our favourite recommendations and why we recommend them!
- Big Mama’s Pinoy Hot Pot & Grill Restaurant (location)- This restaurant was recommended by a local to us. They sell authentic Pinoy food, and there are locals really do dine there. It’s really affordable and yummy, but be prepared to be swarmed by houseflies.
- Bluemoon Restobar (location) – A lively bar in the evening, it’s a good option for dinner. The food takes a while to be cooked but it tastes pretty good! The alcohol here is really cheap, too, and it made dinner more enjoyable.
- Island Boy Grill (location) – You can hear and smell the restaurant from a mile away. It tastes pretty good, but what drew us to this grilled food restaurant in hut-like shelters was the warm and buzzing atmosphere.
- KT’s Sinugba Sa Balay (location) – Despite being slightly more expensive than most local restaurants, it serves good, authentic local food. You’ll see long streams of people, even foreigners, eating the food here. Be prepared to wait for over 20 minutes to get a seat.
- Altrove Coron (location) – Serving up authentic Italian food at a slightly higher price. It’s perfect for those who want to have international food instead!
- Dali Dali Food Station (location) – This restaurant serves vegan and vegetarian food, which is hard to find in this region. Apart from that, the friendly staff and yummy food gave me more reasons to come back here again for another meal.
Coron may be the underrated counterpart of El Nido, but I feel it should not be missed if you’re already visiting Palawan. The marine life and limestone rocks are as astounding as El Nido‘s.
I was initially attracted to the colour of Coron’s waters, and boy, was I not disappointed!