Must see places in Coron and how to organize a private island hopping tour
One absolute highlight in the Philippines are the islands of Coron, that you don´t wanna miss on your trip!
Coron town is located on Busuanga Island in the north of the Palawan region and is often combined with trips to El Nido, which is just a four hour ferry ride away.
People often compare these two destinations with each other, as both places are famous for their super friendly local people and for the island hopping tours to some of the most beautiful locations in the world.
That´s what makes those places so popular. Before the C-pandemic hit the travel industry, Coron and El Nido were growing more and more each year with more tourists to come. And thanks to the convenient ferry connection and two airports in both places it is incredible easy to travel around.
As beautiful as El Nido already is, Coron and the surrounding islands are at least as worth to visit, with many photo opportunities from amazing cliff top view points, snorkel and diving sites and countless lagoons and hidden lakes to swim in. One among those famous places are of course the Twin Lagoons.
The area is protected and people are asked to keep those places clean so that those natural wonders can remain for future generations!
Here is everything you need to know about the must see places in Coron and also how to arrange a private tour so you can avoid crowds of tourists! 🙂
„Leave only footprints, take only memories, kill only time!“
How to get to Coron
Coron town is very easy to reach. You can either fly in directly from Manila to Busuanga Airport. From here vans can take you to Coron and the drive takes about 45 minutes.
Taking the ferry from El Nido to Coron
If you come from El Nido getting here by ferry is the most easiest and cheapest way. The ferries operate a few times per day. The ride takes between three to five hours. However please be prepared. The ride on the ferry is very bumpy and the waves can be high. So I absolutely advise you to have your travel sickness medication ready. And paper bags are provided on the boat as well.
From the boat terminal in Coron you can take a tricycle to help you get to your accommodation.
It is always fun to drive with the tuk tuks and it´s so convenient!
Where to stay in Coron
There are plenty of different accommodation options in Coron. Almost every place can also assist you in booking tours or transportation from and to the airport.
On my trip my friend and I stayed at the Hop Hostel, one of the best hostels/hotels in Coron. It has a huge lounge area, a restaurant and bar that serves delicious breakfast each morning. The rooms and dorms have a lot of space, lockers and huge, comfy beds with curtains for privacy. The building is made out of white stone. Looks almost like a greek hotel. One highlight of the hostel is the amazing huge rooftop terrace with a bar and amazing views across the bay!
Things to know before going on a island hopping tour
There are some important things you should know before you take a boat to the islands. First thing is that there are no accessible accesses to the islands and the sights. Many times you have to climb over boats with no hand rails or swim from the boat to get to the beaches.
Just be careful not to step on a stone fish or sea urchin. That can be very dangerous and painful and ruin your trip. I highly recommend you to bring swimming shoes that you can wear in the water.
Also on the boat and when you swim the crew will tell you to take your life jacket with you all the time. That can be annoying first but don´t complain, that is just the rule as people have died in the water already in the past.
For us it was no problem to take the jackets with us and to use it as a body board which was great for swimming btw. As long as you have it with you. If you don´t the life guards will call you out of the water.
Also if you wanna take pictures use a dry case for your phone or camera. There is nothing worse than water damage.
Places to see around Coron and the islands
Siete Pecados is a popular diving and snorkeling site just around the corner of Coron town. It takes around 15 minutes by boat. You can spot colorful corals and reefs and also watch many fish. It is one of the best snorkeling spots in Coron and really worth going.
Going to Kayangan Lake is an adventure itself. This place is so special and beautiful that you don´t wanna leave. The boats arrive in a lagoon that yet alone is impressive to see. They stop at a foot path. Just an advise, leave all your heavy stuff on the boat, you won´t need anything exept your swim wear, shoes and your camera. If it´s a busy day it can happen that the lagoon is fully parked with boats and that you have to walk from boat over boat over boat to reach the foot path.
From there it goes up! To one of the most beautiful outlook in the Philippines. From the top of the path you have a fantastic view over Coron lagoon. This view alone is worth the climb.
Almost around the corner lies another beautiful lake within high cliffs and rocks. Barracuda Lake. To get there you have to walk from the boat over wooden stairs between the rocks that get very narrow at some points.
Banul Beach is the perfect place for a lunch stop and to just have a relaxed time on the beach with perfectly white sand. There are many little wooden tables and benches where you can sit and enjoy your lunch. You might get some company from some local dogs. Enjoy the view across the blue water and the islands around and
The famous Twin Lagoons are one of the highlights of every Coron journey and a must see place. However as this place is so popular it is no wonder that at certain times it can be crowded with people. Especially when the regular tour boats arrive the tranquility of this place is gone.
So my advise is to take a private tour (see below on how to organize a private tour) and to go to the twin lagoons either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
The two lagoons are beautifully hidden behind huge limestone cliffs and are combined with each other with a wooden staircase. Those stairs are very famous for Instagram photographs but not very easy to access if there is low tide.
Another way to get to the other side of the lagoon is through a hole in the rock. If you dive you can see another great site of limestone rocks that go deep into the water and just look spectacular. Altogether this place is very enchanted and a must see sight in Coron.
Other beaches and islands around Coron you can add to the tour
- CYC Beach
- Atwayan Beach
- Black Island
- Malcapuya Island
- Banana Island
Site note: These three islands are further away from Coron town. Check with your boatman in advance what the best options are to go there and how early you should depart. Those islands are usually less crowded and are perfect for a relaxed island feeling.
Private tour vs public tour
When in Coron I highly recommend you to consider to take a private organized tour to see all those amazing places!
Not only is it more convenient and a good way to avoid crowds, private tours in Coron are also much more cheap than in El Nido.
Favorite spots around Coron, like the Twin Lagoons, are many times crowded with public tour boats. You won´t have the chance to enjoy the remoteness and beauty of those places. Mostly you only have around fiveteen to twenty minutes at each location before the tour guides will call you back to move on to the next location.
A friend of mine took a public island hopping tour in Coron. He described the Twin Lagoons with so many people in life jackets in the water, like the Titanic just sank and everyone was waiting to be rescued. After he told me that and I finished laughing I knew that I would only go to those places with a private tour.
How to organize a private tour to beat the crowds
With a private tour you have the freedom to stay at your favorite places as long as you want. You can decide what time you wanna leave, which places you wanna go to first and have a great time!
Organizing such a tour is very simple! If you are a bigger group of people traveling together you can easily contact the tour companies in advance to get a good deal.
However if you have two to three days in Coron you can also call them directly (brochures and contact numbers are in each accommodation to find) and ask about a private tour for the next day straight away. They are very flexible and will recommend you the best places to go as well as organize your entrance tickets to the different spots.
If you stay at a hostel it is very easy to find people to join you on that tour, so you can split costs. Just ask people directly or leave a message with your phone number on the common boards which hang out in each accommodation. You will be surprised how many people will contact you.
It is a bid of organizing, and for sure the tour company will assist you with a lot of things, but in the end so worth it!
How much does a private island tour cost
Prices for the tour boats vary between 1000 to 3000 Pesos. Just try to negotiate and ask your tour guide for a good deal. The cost for the boat is a fixed cost and can be split within your group. So the more people you are the cheaper the cost.
The second costs are the environmental entrance fees to the different locations that are between 100 and 300 Pesos per location/person. So for the tour company to arrange your entrance tickets it is important to know which places you wanna visit in advance.
Beside that you also have to pay the food that you gonna take on board for lunch and drinks.
Here is an overview of the different entrance fees
- Siete Pecados 100Peso
- Karangayan Lake 300Peso
- Baracuda Lake 200Peso
- Twin Lagoons 200Peso
- Banol Beach 100Peso
- CYC Beach no charge
- Atwayan Beach 150Peso
- Black Island 200Peso
- Malcapuya Island 250Peso
- Banana Island 250Peso
On the day of your tour you will be picked up at your accommodation. Don´t forget to bring your own food. The tour guides can cook for you entire meals on the boat, you just have to bring the ingredients.
You decide what time you wanna leave. Just ask the tour guides which places are worth to visit early and how to avoid the public tour boats. The golden rule always is: the earlier, the better!
Besides from that all you have to do is just to relax, let the sun shine bright and enjoy your time with your own private tour. Including drinking coconuts.
It´s more fun in the Philippines!
Coron is a true highlight on every Philippine trip. The water of the sea is so clear and blue and the many islands, lime stone cliffs and bays and white sand beaches make this place a real paradise on earth.
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Have you been already to Coron and the Philippines? Let me know in the comments your highlight of your trip or which places are on your list!
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