coron palawan

Discover the islands, beaches, lagoons, and diving spots of Coron in Palawan. Find out what makes it a top destination aside from its famous neighbors, El Nido, and Puerto Princesa. Which island and beach destinations shouldn’t you miss when island-hopping? Which diving spots are a must-see here? What other inland attractions and activities can you do in Coron? Read on to learn everything you need to know when planning the ultimate Coron itinerary.

Being one of the top island destinations in the world, you will often see Palawan’s Coron painted as a tropical paradise like no other. Coron enchants every visitor that steps foot on this charming island town with its clear waters, sunny hues, white sand beaches, and chill vibes.

Coron is located at the northern tip of Palawan and forms the Calamian group of islands along with Busuanga, Culion, and other islands. Unlike El Nido that’s famed for its stunning beaches and Puerto Princesa for its underground riverCoron is more known for its snorkeling and diving spots.

Under its azure waters, Coron has breathtaking World War II shipwrecks, bright coral reefs, and abundant marine life. But it also has stunning islands and beaches as well as the widely photographed main attraction, Kayangan Lake.

If you’re planning a trip to Coron, this article has got you covered. Take note of all the things that you can do in Coron from this list when planning your itinerary.



CONTENTS

1. Swim in Kayangan Lake

coron kayangan lake

You know you’re in Kayangan Lake when you find yourself in awe with the lush scenery, along with the clear and healthy waters where you can jump in. It’s one of the island’s most recognizable attractions and a part of island hopping activities that regularly take place from the town. It’s also one of the cleanest bodies of water in Asia. 

When your boat docks at the entrance, you’ll be doing a short trek before you can reach this stunning tourist spot in Coron. Take note of the towering limestone formations and turquoise waters as you approach the bay. This view is what makes Palawan so beautiful.

When you reach the cove, walk up a staircase to a viewpoint where you can see the most iconic photo of this attraction. It's the best-known spot in the area and where you can take pictures before going to the lake. It’s the highlight of the ultimate tour in Coron. Take as many images as you want and don’t forget to ask someone to take a photo of you!

From there, you will walk down to the lake whose brackish water is quite refreshing. The mix of saltwater and freshwater makes the surface of the lake seem mirror-like. It looks deceptively shallow, and you can almost see the bottom from the walking platform.

You can take a dip in its turquoise waters, go freediving, and try to get as close as you can get to the bottom. The clearness of the water allows you to see as far as you can above and below when you dive.

2. Take a Dip in Barracuda Lake

Located on the other side of Kayangan Lake is the Barracuda Lake. It’s famous for its diving spot where you can see barracuda fish skeletons on its depths. The bluish-green waters and scenery complement with the melding of salt and freshwater, which is the perfect temperature to swim in. Barracuda Lake is often included in island hopping tours that leave town daily. 

The boat ride to the lake is scenic; you will see limestone formations towering over the ocean until you reach the docking area. It’s one of the enchanting experiences you can have during your trip to Coron. Take plenty of photos and videos during your visit before diving into the azure waters. Go freediving to feel the lake’s thermocline or bring scuba gear to dive deeper. The formations surrounding the lake create a magnificent experience.

Barracuda Lake is similar to Kayangan Lake in one aspect — its waters are a mix of fresh and saltwater. However, the difference between the two lakes is that Barracuda Lake is a thermocline. It means that the temperature of the water changes as you swim up and down. Swimming to as far as you can go to the lake is quite an experience because you will feel the difference in temperature.

3. Explore Siete Pecados

Contrary to its name, which means seven deadly sins in Spanish, Siete Pecados is the nearest and the best snorkeling and diving site in Coron. What’s great about this marine park is that all small seven islands have corals that are still bustling with life along with multiple marine animals.

The area is famous for the vibrant marine life, immediately immersive as you plunge into the water. Siete Pecados is the closest dive site to Coron town proper (Busuanga), and the boats take you all the way to right in the middle of the islets in minutes. They only need to lower a ladder for you to reach the water or you can jump off and snorkel straight out. This convenience makes Siete Pecados a priority Coron attraction to visit, so it is advisable to sail very early in the day.

When you go, the morning sun should showcase the colorful reefs. Tints of apricot, plum, fire red, and velvet green are visible from above water. One can even clearly glimpse the sea bed 30 meters down. In shallower water, the corals look like a miniature fossilized forest.

Best of all, Siete Pecados is richly populated with tropical angelfish, sea turtles, and squid. Frequently expecting some bread from divers, the fish marvelously swarm around you as though you have entered their current. Octopi and baby sharks are often seen here as well, with more species coming in and out of their home reefs! There is a rather strong current that pulls along Siete Pecados, so a rope is set along the water to guide snorkelers.

4. Snorkel and Dive in Malcapuya Island

Two hours away from Coron town lies this white sand wonder! The standard island-hopping package that includes Malcapuya is a combination of Coron’s pristine and mostly uninhabited beaches. The other two islands are Bulog Dos Sandbar and Banana Island.

Located an hour from Coron town proper, Malcapuya is one of the highly recommended islands in Culion, Palawan. The boat ride can be rough as you sail out through Coron Bay, but the waters surrounding the island will be surprisingly calm.

Privately owned, Malcapuya offers only its western beach for boats to dock. From here, visitors must continue on foot to reach the southern shore. You will first go up a trail under a grove of cashew trees until the south of beach peeks through. The hike takes mere minutes.

This beach is the island’s longest shoreline comparable to Boracay Island’s White Beach. It also boasts powdery-soft creamy sand. It can get swelteringly hot, though, so for shade, there are a few huts and a line of coconut and palm trees. The water remains shallow for several meters, suitable for a long swim. Some parts of the beach can be rocky, so it is advisable to wear aqua shoes still. You can dive or snorkel about 100 meters out and find a large bed of corals with a variety of marine life, including giant clams and clownfish.

If you want to see a panoramic view of the island, there’s a hill you can climb where you can also see the nearby islands. This vantage point also reveals the abundant growth of corals around Malcapuya.

5. Discover the Beauty of Twin Lagoon

There’s more to the Twin Lagoon that meets the eye. Located further inland of Coron Bay, their turquoise waters famously feel alternately warm and chilly as the fresh underground water intermingles with saltwater.

The Tagbanua, which are the caretakers of this tourist attraction, is one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Philippines; their lineage traces back to 16,500 years. They have an official ancestral domain over 22,000 hectares of land and sea in Coron. It grants them the sovereign right to manage the natural resources in the Calamianes archipelago, including Kayangan Lake, as well as beaches and corals.

The first lagoon is where boats will be parked so prepare for a crowd or go early to avoid the traffic. The second lagoon is where the magic happens: majestic underwater views and crystal-clear waters that are relaxing to swim in.

When low tide, swim through a rocky wall to discover the Hidden Lagoon, the Twin Lagoon’s magical secret spot. There’s a special feeling that comes when you swim here. The combination of saltwater and freshwater creates a mixture of cold and warm making it the ideal temperature to dive in. As beautiful as the lagoon is, the waters can get very deep, so it’s advisable to wear a life vest for safety.

6. Relax in Maquinit Hot Spring

After hopping from one island to the next, there are attractions in town you can visit to take a break from the beach and islands. One of these destinations is the Maquinit Hot Spring. You can find the springs along the southern area of Busuanga Island.

Soak in this relaxing hot spring in Coron. Maquinit Hot Spring is the ideal refuge to relax your muscles and nerves after a tiring day full of island hopping and swimming. Locals say the volcano heats the water, which then circulates in the pool you see in the premises. The walkway is rough with pebbles of varying sizes and its walls rugged with a bundle of rocks. The area has a mangrove forest giving it a relaxing ambiance.

Take a dip in the spring to relax your mind and body. The heat will soothe your muscles and loosen your nerves allowing you to de-stress and forget your worries even for just an hour or so. Some of the benefits of dipping into a hot spring include improved blood circulation, better sleep, and alleviates some skin problems.

Locals recommend visiting Maquinit Hot Springs after ascending Mt. Tapyas. The waters of the spring help soothe the aching muscles of your legs after a walk up the mountain. Revitalize your body here and prepare for another day of seeing Coron’s other top attractions.

7. Travel to Culion Island for a Historical Day Tour

An hour and a half away from Coron lies another island destination called Culion, and is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors. But what most people don’t know is that this once leper colony is now a quiet town rich in history and adventures. Here are some sites you shouldn’t miss:

  • Culion Museum and Archives - Built-in 1997, the Culion Museum was first formed to be a leprosy laboratory. In the entire building, you can view the history of leprosy patients, the beginnings of Coron, religion paraphernalia, and many more.

  • La Immaculada Concepcion Church - Standing the test of time since the 1700s, the La Immaculada Concepcion Church was a former Spanish fort turned to the church. As of this day, reconstruction and restoration efforts are made to preserve its sacred beauty.

  • Fort Culion - Next to the church is another historical site built by the Augustinians. At present, you can see defense weapons such as cannons at Fort Culion. There’s also a great viewpoint where you can see the entire town and the sea from afar.

8. Get a Panoramic View of Coron in Mt. Tapyas

coron mt tapyas

From chasing corals to chasing sunsets, a trip to the viewing deck of Mt. Tapyas is a must. Despite the 724-step climb, all the sweat will be worth it because you’ll be seeing the stunning view of Coron that gets better as you go higher. When you reach the top, you’ll see a big white cross, which you can also spot anywhere when in town. The best time to go is during sunrise or sunset.

Mt. Tapyas is easy to access from the town center, you can walk to the base, join an inland tour or just a hire a tricycle to take you. The mountain is easy to climb because you’ll mostly walk on concrete steps, and there are several platforms and benches where visitors can stop and rest before continuing. There are approximately more than 700 steps before you reach the top. There are also rails to hold onto during your way up.

Feel the fresh air and see the town from a bird’s vantage point as you slowly make it to the summit. Once you reach the peak, you will see a giant cross and overlooking views of the sea and rolling hills. Take pictures of the surroundings and selfies as souvenirs. Rest for a while before making the descent; if you have time, wait until sunset to watch the blue sky turn to red and then dark. Mt. Tapyas is an ideal half-day trip for those who are looking for another activity during their visit. The effort takes to reach the top is worth it.

9. Try Overnight Camping in Busuanga

Go on an overnight trip to Busuanga, Coron. It's the best way to see enjoy this idyllic destination! Unbeknownst to many, it's the second-largest island in the province. It's a popular choice for camping and overnight trips. An overnight camping tour in Busuanga often includes three popular attractions: Black Island, Pamalican Island, and North Cay.

  • Black Island - It is known to locals as Malajon Island. It's in the northwest of Busuanga Island, the largest in the Calamian Group of Islands in Palawan. The reef surrounding Black Island is perfect for snorkeling and freediving. Tourists can enjoy the beautiful corals and abundant fish species of the island.

  • Pamalican Island - This island is perfect for those looking for some quiet time. Laze around or sunbathe! Its clear waters make snorkeling enjoyable. For those who don't want to snorkel, just soaking in the water when the sea is calm and warm is equally satisfying.

  • North Cay - It's one of Palawan's best-kept secrets that boasts of its crystal-clear water ideal for snorkeling. Just off the shore, scuba divers or even non-divers can enjoy a spectacular view of corals and its colorful marine life. 

10. Visit Calauit Safari Park

coron calauit safari park

Away from the sea, you can have a wildlife encounter and escapade at Calauit Safari Park. The Calauit Safari Park is a game reserve and wildlife sanctuary that spans 3,700 hectares in Calauit Island off the coast of Palawan province. It boasts African giraffes and zebras brought over through a supposed translocation habitat experiment between President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. The wildlife sanctuary was established on August 31, 1976.

Formerly known as Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary, the conservation center has since also housed critically endangered animals endemic to Palawan’s Calamianes group of islands. From the 1980s onward, Calamian deer, pheasant peacock, the Balabac mouse-deer, and the local bearcat shared the sanctuary with more than 100 different species of African giraffe, eland, zebra, impala, bushbuck, gazelle, and waterbuck.

Today, only 2 African species remain with six endemic species. The migrant species are the reticulated giraffe, also known as the Somali giraffe, native to the Horn of Africa, and Grévy’s zebra, the largest extant species of zebra. Only as few as 25 when they were brought here, the Calamian deer now number between 1,200 and 1,300 — indeed the sanctuary’s best success story.

There is also the Palawan bearded pig, one of 4 wild pig species endemic to the country. They also have the Philippines' porcupine and the Binturong (bearcat). All are considered vulnerable under the Philippine Red List of Threatened Wildlife. There is also the critically endangered freshwater Philippine crocodile. Only four adults currently exist in the park, but breeding efforts are underway.

11. Enjoy a Day Tour in Banana Island

Ten minutes away from Bulog Dos Island lies Dicalabuan Island, more known as Banana Island. It’s one of the family-friendly islands in Coron and a favorite spot for locals and tourists. It’s often combined with island hopping tours that include Bulog Dos Island and Malcapuya Island. Banana island earned its nickname from the locals. According to them, it is shaped like the yellow fruit when seen from a distance.

The island is a magical site of fine white sands, crystal waters, mangrove trees, and rock formations. Kids can also swim freely due to its shallow waters. There’s a nearby coral reef at the shore so feel free to snorkel around as well. You can also go diving and see the teeming marine life either on shallow or to a great depth.

You have to pay an entrance fee for a day tour to the island, but you can get in for free if you join an island hopping tour that includes this gorgeous tourist spot. Beach camping is prohibited, but there are cottages available to rent. There are small establishments within the area selling food and drinks should you get hungry or you want to grab a drink by the beach.

12. See the Stunning Sunset in Pass Island

You shouldn’t pass up on this island. Notable for its cream white soft sands and calming summer vibes, Pass Island is a dreamy getaway. There are many ways to get to this island, but riding a boat is required to get here. From Coron town proper, it takes around 2 hours by boat. Alternatively, one can also ride a bus to Concepcion, where it is around an hour away by boat. 

Pass Island has a volleyball and basketball court for visitors to engage in some team play while on the beach. Snorkeling is also one of the best things to do as the waters around the island are surrounded by breathtaking corals and plenty of aquatic life. Drones are also allowed on the island, which will let visitors take unobstructed panoramic views, offering a unique perspective to see the clarity of the surrounding waters. 

For those who are not planning to stay overnight, the pastel sunset views are equally stunning, which one can see before departing on a boat back to Coron town proper. There is a hill at the back of the island with a lookout over the ocean towards the sun.

13. Have Fun at CYC Beach

CYC stands for Coron Youth Club and, as the name suggests, lends a resort-like ambiance where visitors can lounge, swim, snorkel, kayak, picnic, or even play volleyball. CYC boasts a generous extensive shoreline shaded by a forest of trees and seemingly decorated by mangroves that rise from the water. It's a change of scenery compared with many of Coron, Palawan province’s beautiful beaches framed by limestone cliffs.

This tiny island is located 6 kilometers from Busuanga. It's a popular island-hopping stop in Coron — in that the beach has a small bar and little boats that sell snacks. Admittedly, CYC has a reputation for getting overcrowded, and there are often numerous boats parked on the shore. Even so, there is a communal vibe to appreciate if one is not in haste to enjoy the visit.

The CYC island spans merely 10,000 meters squared, surrounded by a massive coral reef. Fortunately, the corals are located deeper out into the water, which makes CYC conducive for a relaxing swim near the shore. In areas where the water is more shallow, the seafloor tends to be rocky, so it is advisable to wear aqua shoes. In others, you can walk amongst mangrove trees, stepping on sand partially submerged in lukewarm water.

Distinct from many beaches included in Coron island-hopping tours, CYC has areas that are friendly for kids and even toddlers to swim. There are no cottages on this beach, but camping is allowed. It is best to leave your bulky bags and equipment on the boat that you took to get here.

14. Try Wreck Diving in Coron Bay

coron shipwreck

Coron is one of the Philippines’ most-visited destinations for wreck diving. It has about 12 Japanese warships found in depths as shallow as 3 to 9 meters and as deep as 36 to 42 meters. It's why one of the best things to do in Coron is to dive into these World War II Japanese shipwrecks up close!

  • Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck - You have to witness this World War II Japanese shipwreck in person. In Lusong Gunboat (shallowest site for shipwrecks), you can dive or snorkel to see one of the twelve sunken ships in Coron. Even if you can’t jump for 10 meters (for closer visibility), you can see the boat and its former glory, now shrouded in barnacles and marine life. On the other side of the shipwreck, you can snorkel or dive into the healthy and vibrant coral reefs of Lusong Coral Gardens. Here you will see multiple species of fish and reefs up close and personal. However, remember the rule of thumb: no touching, stepping, harassing of marine life to avoid damaging them permanently.

  • Skeleton Wreck - You also have to pay a visit to Skeleton Reef, which is near Banul Beach. This diving spot is famous for its fishing boat wreck remains which you can see even from the shallows due to the crystalline waters. The entire debris is 25 meters, with the top hull measuring up to 6 meters. Skilled free divers can swim through the ship from the starboard side and explore inner sections by slipping into the few remaining windows. The wreckage is teeming with marine life. Abundant fish circle the wreck; their distinct colors made more vivid against the coral and barnacles. These include damselfish, lionfish, parrotfish, and stonefish. Look out for nudibranchs, too. Featuring striking neon colors, these are soft-bodied marine gastropod mollusks that have shed their shells.

15. Marvel at the Waters of Bulog Dos Island

The smallest island in the beach series of Coron, Bulog Dos is known for its creamy sandbar. It is one-third of northern Coron island-hopping packages, which include Malcapuya and Banana islands located minutes away. Despite its size, you can still swim and marvel at the majestic waters and views within the island! Indeed, it’s one of the exotic islands in Coron.

Bulog Dos is connected mainly to Bulalacao Island. But past the rock formations, the sandbar also links to Malaroyroy Island, which houses a private resort. The sandbar surfaces in full during low tide, usually from 4 in the afternoon. Come a little earlier to see water still slightly obscuring the sandbar, which is suitable for skimboarding or makes for a relaxing walk to wind down the island-hopping tour. 

At high tide around sunset, the stretch of the sandbar is submerged so that boats will not go farther than the coast of Bulalacao or Malaroyroy. Bulog Dos is made cozier than most with rock formations that create comfortable nooks in between swims. Starfish can often be seen moored on the rocks. The concentration of such small craggy rocks also provides a unique backdrop for pictures. Watch the whites and blues blend as you step into the sandbar.

16. Go Sunbathing at Banul Beach

This tropical haven is one of Coron’s top beaches. It’s a tiny beach located in the northwestern part of Coron Island. It's known for its incredibly-fine white sand, clear and calm waters, and the limestone karst walls that surround it. The waters are bright blue, the sands are wonderfully white, and there are towering cliffs that will welcome you with open views!

To get there from Coron town proper, you can either join a group tour or hire a private boat. This beach is a 15-20 minute boat ride from Coron town proper. As soon as you get there, you may take a serene swim in Banul Beach’s crystal clear waters. Pair that with a sunbathing session on the beautiful white sand, and you’ve got yourself a satisfyingly idle time in the tropical sun. Take some time out of the waters to get that perfect sun-drenched photo for all your social media needs.

Aside from swimming and sunbathing, you can flex your nature photography muscles at the beach’s nearby coral garden. Go full explorer mode by roaming around the different seaside cottages in the area. After doing all that, you’ll probably find yourself hungry just in time for a delicious meal by the beach. Most tours stop for lunch here, so it’s a great place to chill after a sumptuous feast. It’s also a famous beach to spend the night when going overnight camping.

17. Unwind in Coron’s Secluded Beaches

Coron has quiet and secluded beaches ideal for people who want to unwind and relax away from the busy parts of the island. Two of them are Cabo Beach and Bali Beach, which is often combined in a beach day tour in Coron.

  • Cabo Beach - The beach is approximately 8 kilometers from the Town Proper of Coron. It is an excellent location for people who would like to enjoy walking on the sand or go for a swim instead of planning to go on an island-hopping trip. There is a small entrance fee to enter the beach, but you can get in for free if you join an island hopping tour covering this attraction.

  • Bali Beach - The beach is frequented by visitors who want to enjoy the view of the sea or sunbathe. One can also rent a Kubo or a small hut to have picnics overlooking the sea as visitors are allowed to bring their food. Bali Beach is directly facing Coron Passage – the strait which divides Coron Island and Busuanga Island. Even though it may not have white sands, it offers views of the jungle cliffs of Coron Island and Siete Pecados. 

18. Try Exciting Water Activities at Coron’s Royal Island Watersports

Top 18 Things to Do in Coron

Royal Island Watersports is a must-visit destination in Coron. It's the first and only watersports center on the island! The ambiance of the resort itself is fantastic. One can relax and go sunbathing in their luxurious cabanas or walk along the white-sand shores. 

There are three major water sport activities in Royal Island. You can have access to the View Deck, and have unlimited use of clear-bottomed kayak where you'll be able to see different species of marine life:

  • Parasailing - You'll be able to soar above and see Coron's beautiful panoramic view. They might even dip you in the water! You can either go solo with their solo flyer, partner with someone on their double flyer or go in groups of three in their triple flyer.

  • Jet ski - You can ride a jet ski if you want to be closer to the water. It's fun, and beginners can try this activity! You can even ride the jet ski as a pair as long as you know how to maneuver it properly.

  • Water activities - You can also choose one of the many complimentary water activities they offer, such as the banana boat, fly fish, bandwagon, and hurricane. One ride is for 15 minutes.

The easiest way to get to the island is to ride a tricycle going to Zipline Lualhati Park located in Coron Town proper. Once you arrive at the meeting point, you'll ride a speedboat courtesy of Royal Islands Watersports. The last trip is at 5:30 PM in the afternoon.

Time to Explore Coron, Palawan!

When in Coron, expect to be surprised in more ways than one. Often, the pictures don’t do justice to the real thing. From the scenic views, lush environment, crystal clear waters, and local setting, Coron is a magical paradise that continues to capture traveling hearts and souls.

Don’t let the fees and the travel conditions get to you. Coron is worth every peso, time, and effort that will leave you yearning for the next trip. No matter your travel purpose, Coron will be there to provide you with a journey like no other.

Make sure you're fully prepared to try all activities, taste all delicacies, see every spot and explore the real deal. Start planning your Coron trip now by researching Coron tours and activities that you can add to your itinerary.