8 hours, 7 glorious Coron Palawan tourist spots.
That’s what you can expect on this Coron island tour – the Coron Ultimate Island-Hopping Tour.
Apart from El Nido, I knew my trip to Palawan would not be complete without a trip to Coron to experience Coron’s island-hopping tour and visit the islands that surround it. The essence of a Coron trip experience is no doubt going for this Ultimate Island-Hopping Tour.
Read: Coron, Palawan Itinerary
About Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Coron is a small, unassuming town on the island of Busuanga. 20 kilometres long, it is nestled at the northern tip of Palawan province in central Philippines. Coron island is popular among divers and travellers who want a bit of island-hopping and a bit of local living. The town, while small, is not yet overly touristy.
Recommended duration: 2 days
Best Time to Visit Coron, Philippines
The best time to do a Coron trip is from December to May, to coincide with the dry season. Temperature averages at 30 degrees in this hot and dry weather in this peak season.
The rainy season runs from June to September with daily short but heavy rains.
Off-peak season is from September to November.
How to get to Coron, Philippines
Coron is accessible by boat or by domestic flight.
Many travellers take a ferry that shuttles between El Nido and Coron. The fast ferry takes 4 hours, but it doesn’t operate on Wednesdays. The slow boat takes 6-8 hours and operates daily. Ferry timings are fixed and limited, so it’s important to buy your tickets at least 1 day before!
Domestic flights operate from Cebu and Manila, with Cebu Pacific Air.
(I will never take Cebu Pacific Air again. My only two experiences with them were fraught with delays after delays. I had to sleep overnight at the Manila airport the first time, and I missed my connecting flight back to Singapore on the second flight with them.)
The Coron Palawan Tour – Ultimate Island-Hopping Tour Around Coron Island
Prior to signing up for any Coron tours, it is important to clarify what the tour provides and what is excluded. This can include the Eco-Tourism Development Fee of 200 pesos/ USD 3.90 per person, provision of snorkelling gears, lunch meals, light refreshments and pick-up and drop-off service to and from the port.
For this Coron Ultimate Island-Hopping tour, it covers most of Coron’s tourist spots.
I was appalled when I found out that snorkelling gears are not provided as part of the tour, despite it being explicitly written on the website. It costs 200 pesos/USD 4 for the rental of snorkelling gears.
Alternatively, you can also purchase your own snorkelling gears, on top of water booties, waterproof camera bags and sunscreen, among others, from local shops and sellers.
The Eco-Tourism Development Fee is included under my tour package.
At 8:30am promptly, the tour guide appeared at the reception of my hotel, and led me to a private van to join the others on the same tour as me. We went around to pick up other passengers and about a half hour later, we finally reached the port to get on board our boat to explore the islands of Coron!
The light-hearted tour guide broke the ice by getting us share our names and where we come from, which I really liked as it warmed up the initial foreign atmosphere. Everyone was warm and friendly, often cracking jokes to make the tour a more enjoyable one for all of us.
1. Kayangan Lake
This is THE spot where postcards pictures of Coron come alive. Almost all Coron island tours will not miss this tourist spot out.
To get to the viewpoint of Kayangan Lake, we have to walk about 200m along a wooden bridge from the pier which we docked at. You are strongly advised to put on a pair of water booties or footwear to prevent any cuts or stepping on splinters while walking. You also cannot leave your boat without a life vest on due to the deep waters.
Here, you will see a row of huts offering snacks and drinks. They also sell their local iced candy of various flavours. At only 10 pesos/USD 0.20 each, it’s a great snack to cool down in the warm weather!
After a tiring 163m climb, you will be treated to a spectacular view from the top of the viewpoint overlooking Kayangan Lake and the surrounding cliffs.
You can’t miss this – this is the one of the best Coron tourist spot. You can thus expect a long queue leading to the viewpoint.
Descend 200m on a separate route to the lake. It can be pretty scary as the steps are uneven and can be slippery.
Before you even reach the bottom, you can hear the sounds of people swimming and playing in the waters. Once you’re at the bottom, you’ll get to swim and snorkel in the lake in a zone demarcated by ropes, overlooking surrounding cliffs – and it is breathtaking!
A fun fact – the water in this lake is made of brackish water, which means it is made of 70% salt water and 30% fresh water. This can be felt as you swim and feel that the water is a mixture of both warm and cool water. That said, don’t be afraid to just dip in and enjoy the water!
2. Twin Lagoon
Next up, we visited Twin Lagoons, which, as the name suggests, consists of two lagoons.
The water here is once again brackish water, with depths reaching 30m in the first lagoon and 20m to 25m in the second lagoon.
Due to the deep depths of water, there is a “No Lifevest, No Swimming” policy, just like Kayangan Lake. Many valuable items do get lost here due to the bottomless sea, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
There is a raised rock formation that separates the two lagoon – one lagoon is used for docking of boats and another is predominantly for tourists to frolic in. We had to climb across the rock with the aid of some man-made wooden planks that serve as steps to get from one lagoon to another.
As there is only one bridge for two-way traffic, we had to take turns crossing them as it can get congested at the top.
There isn’t much marine life here – we simply floated and took in the sights of the cliffs that surround us. Admittedly, this is one of the attractions I felt didn’t impress me that much.
3. Beach 91
Beach 91 is where we stopped over for our lunch. Apart from the lunch prepared for us, there are no shops on the beach – it is as basic as a beach can get.
While the tour guides cooked and prepared our food, we made our way to one of the many little huts on the beach and sat down, overlooking the beach. You will have to walk through waters that are almost waist-high – this is one reason why you should be equipped with a dry bag to put all your valuables in!
As the passing rain cleared, the sea water reflected a gentle aquamarine colour. That lifted my spirits infinitely, knowing we had a sunny day ahead of us.
The buffet style lunch comprises of fried egg noodles, grilled rice, prawns, pork, fish, seaweed and fruits.
There were swarms of houseflies around the cooked food that I was apprehensive about eating them. However, the morning’s activities had us climbing and swimming so much that I was too famished to bother much. A can of soda & water was also included at lunch.
This was also the perfect time to mix and mingle with the other tourists on board the same tours as me. It was through this that I met a French couple travelling in Palawan for 3 weeks, which better prepared me for my El Nido experience, too.
After you’ve fuelled up, you can do other activities on the beach too, like kayaking, swimming in the sea or simply sunbathe on the beach.
4. Sunken Ship
Located just a few metres from one another, the Sunken Ship and Skeleton Wrekck are dotted with coral reefs on the sea bed, a quintessential snorkelling spot for you admire the underwater life.
The main highlight of this spot is catching a glimpse of a sunken ship that crashed during the Japanese Occupation in World War 2. The depth of the waters at the sunken ship averages about 7m to 8m, and can even go as deep as 12m to 15m at the hull of the sunken ship.
During the day, you can roughly see the ship while snorkelling on the surface, but for an even better view, dive deeper to get closer.
5. Skeleton Wreck
Close to the Sunken Ship, you can also find Skeleton Wreck. There is a wide diversity of marine life here. I got a chance to see many types of fishes such as lionfish and parrotfish swimming near me.
It was pretty – the clear water allowed sunlight to permeate through and I saw all the corals and colourful seabed clearly. There were even blue starfishes! We spent about 45 minutes in this big area.
There are many other tours going on at the same time so make it a point to recognize your boat. You may lose sight of it in the sea of similar-looking boats if you swim too far away from your group!
6. CYC Beach
Short for Coron Youth Club, CYC Beach is an optional beach stop. Tourists can choose to stay on the boat and relax (but why would you?) or go to the beach and explore. There weren’t many people around here at this time, which was rare since there are always tours running the same routes. I enjoyed having the beach all to myself!
CYC Beach is a public beach that is used by many locals and is a top destination for those seeking to have a beach party during festive periods like Christmas, New Year’s Day and more.
Sadly, just a while back, a huge typhoon wiped out almost 80% of the corals here, so there isn’t really much to see if you want to snorkel.
Wear proper footwear while making your way to the shore as there are potentially stone fishes, jellyfishes or sea urchins hiding on the seabed nearby. Once on the beach, you can explore the land, where there are trees for you to seek shade in.
I grabbed a spot in the shallow waters and simply lay down, enjoying the sun rays. It was a totally calming 30 minutes for me to get a tan while keeping cool! 😊
7. Siete Pecados
There’s a popular folklore that many locals believe about how this area that comprises of 7 rock formations came about.
A long time ago, there were 7 sisters that lived close by. They wanted to go to Coron, but their mother refused to let them go. Without heeding their mother’s warning, the 7 sisters still went ahead by boat. Along the way, their ships got wrecked.
The mother, in despair, tried without avail to look for them. She then prayed to God to help her find her daughters. That was when the 7 peaks rose from the waters, forming Siete Pecados. Siete Pecados is Spanish for “Seven Deadly Sins”.
Whether you believe the folklore or not, the 7 rock formations at Siete Pecados marine park, also known as 7 Sisters Sin Island, is a sight to behold. To me, it is a lovely snorkelling site, even prettier than at Skeleton Wreck. Because this is a marine reserve, its natural state is heavily guarded and protected by rules and regulations, such as no littering and no fish-feeding.
The marine life here is amazing – I saw many fishes that I have never been up close with before such as a clown fish. In fact, we even spotted a sea turtle! You can imagine my excitement, so much so that I did my best to go on a turtle chase to capture it on camera.
I liked how the crew constantly blasted songs on the boat throughout our ride, to liven the atmosphere.
Once the tour was over, I was given a ride back to my hotel at about 5pm. I returned to Coron Town Proper feeling accomplished. Despite it not being the best weather to visit Palawan, the sporadic rains we experienced didn’t dampen my spirits too much as the rain passes quickly, and the sun still shines through strongly.
What to bring on your Coron Palawan Tour
- Dry bag
- Sunscreen (trust me, you’ll need it – the sun was blazing!)
- Water booties
- Snorkelling gears
- Light snacks
- Waterproof pouch for your phone (optional)
- Waterproof action camera (optional)
- Portable chargers (optional)
Of course, your Coron island-hopping tour wouldn’t be complete without bringing a waterproof action camera. The underwater world is teeming with a medley of different life forms, from the coral reefs to the marine life.
True enough, I suffered from a pretty severe food poisoning the next day after the tour, or what some calls the “traveller’s diarrhoea”. I had no appetite, and needed to run to the loo ever so often. My stomach was also behaving very strangely. Because of that, I missed my ferry to El Nido and had to extend my Coron trip by another day.
Apart from the uneventful episode of diarrhoea, through experiencing this Coron Island-Hopping Tour first-hand, I finally understood what all the hype surrounding the Palawan region is about.
Indeed, Coron is surrounded by rich marine life, beautiful landscape and gleaming turquoise waters. Seeing it with my naked eye solidified my opinion about Palawan being a perfect beach destination for those looking to bask in the ocean.
Special thanks to Klook for making this tour possible! All opinions remain my own.
8 Aug 2017, Tue