Discover the beautiful island of Coron, Palawan. Find out the best time to go, how to go, top tourist spots, where to stay, and how to plan an itinerary with this travel guide.
There’s more to Palawan than just the world-famous islands and beaches of El Nido and Underground River in Puerto Princesa. Coron is a tropical island in the province of Palawan in the Philippines.
Coron is best known for world-class World War II-era wreck diving, the island also offers limestone karst landscapes, beautiful beaches, crystal-clear freshwater lakes, and shallow-water coral reefs.
Coron is a separate group of islands from the main Palawan island. All of the islands here are part of the Calamian Archipelago in Northern Palawan. Often compared to El Nido, a popular Palawan destination, Coron has a unique charm of its own.
While El Nido is popular with couples and honeymooners and beach lovers, Coron is a bit more laid-back and is suitable for family vacations and diving adventures.
Coron's town proper is smaller and quieter than El Nido's. However, you'll find a lot of amazing things to do here within the surrounding islands and waters and on the main island.
There are a handful of established package tours, where visitors can quickly join up with other travelers to see some of Coron's top tourist spots. These tours are mostly inclusive of pickup and drop-off at downtown Coron, lunch, and boat transfers for a convenient and hassle-free island-hopping trip.
There are two main seasons in Coron. First is the dry season which happens from November to May. Second is the rainy season which occurs from July to September.
A good thing about the weather in Coron is that it has a stable tropical climate, which makes it an excellent place to go to during the summer season.
If you're going to visit Coron with its gorgeous beaches in mind, go during the dry season. You'll be able to enjoy water activities such as snorkeling and diving without the added hassle of getting the activity canceled due to unforeseen weather conditions.
Visiting during the summer season is also best if you plan to do some sightseeing in Coron Town. Most tourist spots are open for the public and accommodate big groups for private tours.
Coron'shas tropical weather. It's relatively sunny if you plan to visit during the summer, with less chance of unexpected rainfall and thunderstorms. The warmest months are from March to May, while the month with the chilliest weather is in October.
The average temperature during the warmest months falls around 29°C. Meanwhile, the average temperature during the months with chilly weather falls around 22-23°C.
Here’s an average overview of the monthly temperature in Coron:
During the summer season, it's best to wear beach outfits such as swimsuit, rashguard, and slippers. Make sure to bring other beach necessities such as goggles and a cap. Another essential thing to bring during your trip to Coron is an umbrella. It's beneficial in case it rains, or the sun is causing too much heat.
Coron is easily reachable in two ways: by flights and by ferry. For flights, their main airport is the Busuanga Airport. For ferry routes, boats go back and forth to their main pier, the Uson Island Public Pier. It's now convenient to experience Coron to the fullest with these many options. Continue reading this section for more details:
You can reach Coron via Busuanga (USU), formerly known as the Francisco B. Reyes Airport. From here, you can now visit Coron Town, Coron Island, and Busuanga.
Major local airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Skyjet, have daily trips to Coron via Manila, Cebu and other parts of the Philippines (and vice versa). Here's detailed information about these flights:
If you're already in Manila, going to the island is convenient. You can reach Coron airport by taking a Manila to Busuanga flight with an estimated one hour travel time.
Of course, it depends on whether you plan to join a non-stop flight or a connecting flight. Make sure to compare rates and book the ideal time for your itinerary.
If you're coming from Cebu, the best way to reach Coron airport is by taking a direct flight. The estimated travel time going to Coron is an hour and a half. You can also take a connecting flight if you want to stop over in Manila for a bit.
If you're in Pampanga and you want to go directly to Coron, you can take a non-stop flight with an estimated travel time of an hour and a half. It’s also good to know that most connecting flights from Manila usually stop at Pampanga before going to Coron.
You can opt to ride a ferry going to Coron's main pier, Uson Island Public Pier. It's the best option if you're ready for a long trip ahead and you want to save some money. However, take note that some of these routes are in strategic departure locations, such as Manila, Puerto Princesa, and El Nido.
2Go Travel has weekly trips bound for Coron every Friday and Tuesday, and every Tuesday and Friday bound for Manila with 28 hours total travel time. Atienza Shipping Lines also offers ferry trips bound for Coron from Manila and El Nido.
Departure from Manila is every Saturday, arriving in Coron on Sunday. Departure from El Nido is every Wednesday and arrival in Coron on Thursday.
From Puerto Princesa
If you're in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, going to Coron is pretty much straightforward. You can take a ferry going to the Uson Island Public Pier courtesy of 2Go Travel.
The boat leaves for Coron every Saturday and Wednesday and for Puerto Princesa every Saturday and Wednesday. Total travel time takes about 16 hours. Book in advance so you can get the best beds on the ferry.
You can also ride a ferry going to Coron from El Nido and vice versa. Montenegro Lines offer ferry rides with a total travel time of 3 to 4 hours. Atienza Shipping Lines also offers ferry trips from El Nido. Departure from El Nido is every Wednesday and arriving on Coron on Thursday.
Whether you plan to go to the town proper or walk around the island, it's relatively easy to get around Coron. Public transportation is inexpensive and accessible to most tourist spots.
There are private modes of transport you can also try if you want a safe and hassle-free experience. There are three types of transportation: tricycle, motorbike, and private shared/private tour boat if you're traveling around the island.
In downtown Coron, this is the primary mode of transportation. Fares going to and from the town proper is cheap regardless if you're going alone or you're with a group. You may opt to charter a tricycle and pay a fixed fare if you're planning to visit far locations such as Maquinit Hot Springs.
You can rent a motorbike if you're well-learned on how to maneuver it. It's not that expensive, and it gives you ample time to roam around the area. You can rent these motorbikes at local inns, or you may opt to find ones to rent online.
The best way to visit the islands of Coron is by joining a group tour or renting a private boat to tour you around. If you have many tourist spots listed in your must-visit list, joining a shared or private tour is highly recommended. You'll be able to do island-hopping without the hassle of finding a transfer to the next location.
One of the essential things in planning your itinerary to Coron is the place you'll be staying at for the whole duration of your vacation. Staying at an accommodation that is safe and is accessible within the tourist spots should be your number one priority.
There are a lot of options when it comes to the place you’ll be staying in Coron. You can choose to stay in the town proper or near the island. Before that, you have to make sure you know the right type of accommodation for you and your group. Here are some of the types of accommodations in Coron:
If you're vying for accommodation with beachfront access, staying at a beach resort is recommended. Depending on the budget type, beach resorts usually offer breakfast and has other facilities such as indoor pools and spas. Some beach resorts even have their diving center, giving you easy access to the top diving sites on the island.
If you're staying within Coron Town, there are numerous hotels in the area offering unique facilities depending on your budget. Luxury hotels often have an indoor pool and restaurant.
Mid-range hotels usually have en-suite bathrooms in their rooms and their private indoor pool as well. A lot of budget hotels have their restaurant too and offer basic amenities such as wifi and TV.
No need to worry if you're a solo traveler or a budget backpacker, there are hostels within Coron town and near the beaches. Even though most of them offer dorm-types with shared bathrooms, they provide essential amenities such as wifi and toiletries. Hostels are offering free breakfast as well. They usually ask a security deposit beforehand.
If you're a big group looking for a place to stay, renting a house might be best. Most vacation rentals are guesthouses and offer amenities such as kitchen and laundry.
The good thing about renting a home is that you get the place to yourself, giving you ample freedom to roam around the tourist spots in Coron as a group.
Coron has a total of 23 barangays and is a first-class municipality in Palawan. You don't need to memorize all of them; all you need to know is its prominent neighborhoods and areas. It's so you'll be able to understand how to navigate around the town or island either by public or private transportation.
Most Coron hotels and tourist spots are in the town proper. Aside from various restaurants serving delicious local cuisine, numerous nightlife bars are serving free-flowing drinks that can cater to several people.
Coron's main island is Busuanga and is divided into two coasts: the west coast and the north coast. The west coast area is the location of the Concepcion Falls and Kaniki Island. Meanwhile, Calauit Island is within the northern coast of Busuanga.
There are also hotels near the islands south of Busuanga, offering a range of facilities highlighting the beauty of attractions such as Kayangan Lake and Twin Lagoon.
Where you'll be staying in Coron depends on the number of people you'll be staying with and your budget type. You also have to consider the neighborhood and its proximity to tourist spots.
In terms of budget, there are three ranges of Coron hotels: budget, mid-range, and luxury. Below is a list of the highly recommended hotels in Coron:
An important factor in choosing the right accommodation for you in Coron is your budget. If you want a comfortable place to sleep, staying at hostels or inns might be better. These budget accommodations are highly recommended as they're within the city area and is in a safe neighborhood.
Coron Hilltop View Resort
Photo by Coron Hilltop View Resort
Staying at this beach resort is an excellent way to enjoy your stay in Coron without having to spend a lot. They offer magnificent views of the island and is close to Mount Tapyas. The rooms provided here blends with the atmosphere of the resort. What's more, they have an outdoor pool!
Within a few minutes' walks to Coron Shopping Building, this eco-lodge hotel promotes awareness on eco-tourism and sustainability. It's the perfect escape from the noise in the city as you get to relax with nature as your backdrop. Their rooms are highly-recommended for hotels and restaurants.
Fat Monkey Hostel
Staying at this hostel is best if you're looking for a place to stay where you can meet other people. It's located within a major highway and offers affordable rooms, ranging from dorm-type rooms and single rooms. They have a common area for socials and offers secure wifi in their offices and the lobby area.
If what you're looking for is an accommodation that is not that expensive but still offers a bit of VIP treatment, these mid-range accommodations are perfect for you. These three hotels have their restaurant, an indoor/outdoor pool, and BBQ/kitchen facilities.
Coron Westown Resort
Photo by Coron Westown Resort
This beach resort in Coron is one of a kind. They do not only have one outdoor pool but two! Their contemporary modern rooms are equipped with excellent amenities such as a minibar and an en-suite bathroom. You can also try singing your heart out as they have their karaoke facility!
Corto del Mar Hotel
This hotel in Coron has beautiful exteriors reminiscent of the Spanish Era. They have an outdoor pool and their restaurant for visitors. It's near Coron airport and a short walk to Coron Town. Their rooms are charmingly designed to complement its top-notch facilities such as massage area and an outdoor garden.
Sophia's Garden Resort
Just a short drive from Coron Town, this beach resort is frequently booked because of its quiet and serene atmosphere. Their rooms are modern yet Mediterranean in their way. The good part about staying here is their outdoor garden and pool. It's like a retreat home in the middle of the bustling town in Coron.
If you want to splurge during your vacation, there are luxury hotels that will make you feel like a real VIP. They offer high-class amenities and rooms that are beyond what is in an ordinary hotel or beach resort. Its proximity within the city area and some of the major islands in Coron is a significant factor in why these come highly recommended:
Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel
Photo by Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel
If you want to swim in an infinity pool wherein your view is an island, then stay at Two Seasons Coron. This hotel is literally within the bay, making it the perfect venue for weddings.
Photo by Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel
Staying at one of their rooms entitles you to beachfront access and a picturesque view of the island. It's also eco-friendly as they make sure all of their rooms are designed with sustainability in mind.
If you want to stay at an exclusive island resort that offers various activities such as diving and jetski, then stay at Club Paradise. It's near the town center and is accessible by a private boat.
Their beachfront cottages have top-notch facilities such as mini bar, plasma TV and en-suite bathroom. They also have their spa and an on-site dive center.
Huma Island Resort and Spa
A premium island resort, Huma Island Resort, and spa offer first-class accommodations. It's a Maldives-inspired resort that has an indoor/outdoor pool, jacuzzi, and spa.
Not only that, but their private cottages and rooms offer a scenic view of Busuanga Island. They also provide a unique bathing experience, the Huma Hammam Treatment.
After you find the right accommodation for your visit to Coron, it's time to plot out the different things you'll be doing in the area. Most of these tourist spots are islands and beaches, but sightseeing in Coron Town can also be fun as there are many inland attractions in the area. Here are some of the places you can visit and do during your stay:
Kayangan Lake is one of the cleanest lakes in the country and one of the most popular destinations in the whole of Coron. Interestingly, the most iconic and photographed spot in Coron is the view of the sea from an elevated cliff on the way to Kayangan Lake and not the lake itself.
Kayangan Lake is part of the ancestral domain of the indigenous Tagabanua people. Entrance fees go towards the Tagbanua Tribe of Coron Island Association Inc. (TICIA). Visitors can go swimming in this stunning lake and see some surreal and exciting rock formations underwater.
You can join a Coron island-hopping tour which brings visitors up close to the famous Kayangan Lake for a relaxed swimming experience. Popularly known as The Blue Lagoon, this stunning lake is set amongst majestic limestone cliffs.
Along the way, you can snap a photo with the iconic view of Coron as your backdrop during your short trek to Kayangan Lake.
This tour is excellent for anyone who loves the waters, as you can enjoy snorkeling in the coral gardens and explore the thriving corals and marine species of Palawan.
To cap the day, visitors can relax by the powdery white sands of CYC Beach, which is also a great swimming and snorkeling spot because of its crystal clear waters.
You can also join an island-hopping tour which will take you to see hidden lakes, lagoons, and swimming spots in Coron such as Barracuda Lake. It is a scenic lake surrounded by limestone cliffs located at the north end of Coron Island.
On this tour, you can enjoy a picnic lunch at the beautiful Banol Beach, a short stretch of white sand beach with pristine waters.
Be sure to pack an underwater camera, as visitors get to snorkel atop the Skeleton Wreck, a sunken fishing boat, and enjoy swimming with the colorful marine life.
This tour also takes visitors to the iconic Twin Lagoon, two saltwater lakes separated by a narrow opening, which invites travelers to cross through for an unforgettable tunnel experience.
You can also go on a leisurely cruise to Culion’s best tourist spots such as Malcapuya Island and Ditaytayan Island. It’s where you can enjoy the panoramic views of coastal cliffs on the boat ride going there. You'll want to stay awhile on this island to chill on the beauty of the pristine beach and its powdery fine, white sand.
Highlights in Isla Culion other than island-hopping include visiting the well-preserved and curated Culion Museum & Archives, The 17th century La Inmaculada Concepcion Church, and the remains of Fort Culion. Crowning Glory Reef, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) just near the shore of Culion offers a fantastic site for snorkeling.
For those who prefer land-based attractions to the underwater world, one of the unique things to do in Coron is to attend the Calauit Game Refuge and Wildlife Sanctuary. Get a taste of the island's wild side with this day tour to the savannah of Coron where African giraffes, gazelles, zebras, brown deer and more roam freely.
The game reserve is located on a small island at the tip of Busuanga Island, roughly 70 km away from the Coron Town proper. Be sure to leave town early to enjoy a relaxing morning safari tour around the park before it gets too hot.
Spend the morning learning about the exotic, endemic and endangered animal species of the province. Visitors can even assist the park rangers in the morning feeding of some animals like the giraffe at one of the stables.
As a side trip, this tour can bring visitors to either North Cay or Pamalican Island for an afternoon swim before heading back to Coron town.
Video by the Philippine Department of Tourism
For scuba divers, the main draw of Coron is the world-class wreck diving sites. The channels between Busuanga and Culion are home to several impressive wrecks from a Japanese supply fleet bombed in September 1944.
Wreck dive sites are found in-depth as shallow as 10–30 feet and as deep as 120–140 feet. Most are in the range of about 60–80 feet, perfect for sports divers. Some sites are in shallow waters, so it's visible to snorkelers. Visit the popular diving sites in Coron which include Pass Island, Lusong Gunboat and Lusong Coral Gardens.
At 210 meters, Mt. Tapyas is the second tallest mountain and one of the most dominant land features in Coron. From the town proper, you can quickly get a view overlooking the entire village and coast by a 15-20 minute climb up concrete stairs to the view deck.
Hiking up Mt. Tapyas is usually included when you join a half-day Coron Town Tour (along with Maquinit Hot Springs and other sightseeing spots around town).
You can do this easily if you have free time in the city or your first afternoon upon your arrival. The best time to hike up is around sunset. There's no entrance fee to climb up 700 steps to reach the top of Mt. Tapyas and enjoy the rewarding view overlooking the town.
Make sure to visit and enjoy Maquinit Hot Springs, about 30 minutes away from the main town proper by tricycle is in a mangrove forest beside the sea. It is said to be one of the very few natural saltwater springs in the world.
The site also contains wooden bridges and walkways where you can go around and enjoy the view at a section of the forest. Because of the tropical weather, it's best to go here in the late afternoon to evening when the weather and temperature of the water are more refreshing for a relaxing dip.
Coron is a small, laid-back town, but it has a few restaurants serving a variety of international food. If you want to experience the culture of Coron, you can by trying out some of their famous local dishes.
Dining out can be pretty expensive, though, so you'll want to plan your meals strategically. Here are some information on their local cuisine as well as the best places to eat and drink in Coron:
Coron does not disappoint when it comes to their local cuisine. One must-try dish when you're on this side of Palawan is the dish called tamilok, which are woodworms harvested and prepared in kinilaw style.
It is a process wherein the raw seafood will be cooked on vinegar, similar to ceviche. Another one is crocodile sisig, which uses crocodile meat seasoned with onion and chili peppers. You should also try danggit lamayo, which is a fresh, dried rabbitfish marinated in vinegar, pepper, and garlic.
One of the best things to do in Coron is to try out its popular dishes. After all, Palawan as a whole is rich with seafood and other local cuisines.
Now that you know some of their unique specialties, it's time for you to try these at some of Coron's highly recommended best restaurants and bars. Here's a list of the must-try food establishments on the island:
Photo by Kawayanan Grill
This restaurant with a native motif is perfect for anyone craving for seafood and grilled food. For a sampler plate for sharing, try the Kawayanan Platter (which comes with grilled crab, fish, squid, shrimps, lato (seaweed) and grilled kibiao (clams), which is a local specialty.
Pang'et Firefly Floating Restaurant
For a unique dining experience, you might want to try a buffet dinner at this floating restaurant in Coron.
They offer a unique experience, a romantic boat ride along the mangrove forest to catch the colonies of fireflies producing magnificent twinkling lights before the local dinner.
Spend time on the water experiencing nature's magic – the supernatural glow of bioluminescence.
Photo by Trattoria Altrov'é
This Slovenian-owned restaurant is famous for its pizza and pasta dishes. They also offer vegetarian options and international options. Their pizza is cooked in a wood fire brick oven, served in an authentic Italian style. The ambiance is excellent, plus the restaurant's interiors are reminiscent of a rustic villa.
Located in the town center, this restaurant offers Italian and French cuisine. Their primary specialty is pizza and pasta, but they also serve breakfast food such as pancakes and omelets.
Their salad dishes are served with bread, while they offer a variety of dishes such as chicken, pork, and seafood. They also have a variety of wine and drinks such as rum and tonic.
Lolo Nonoy's Food Station
It's a local restaurant serving home-cooked Filipino meals. Some of their sumptuous dishes include chili crab, sinigang (shrimp in sour soup), and gambas (shrimp in garlic). All of their set meals are served with rice and a fried egg. They also offer local beers and appetizers.
When you're in Coron, it's essential to know relevant information regarding the town and the island. For example, the currency and languages. It's a way to respect and blend with their culture and a way to comply with the guidelines on the island:
You can easily withdraw or exchange your money in Coron Town from available ATMs or money changers. Most hotels and restaurant establishments accept credit cards.
And if you're dining in a local food establishment or a tour group, you can settle your payment by paying the local currency Philippine Peso (PHP). Always pay with small bills (50 or 100 PHP) when buying on the streets to avoid the hassle of finding enough change for your money.
The Filipino language is predominantly spoken in Coron, but the majority of the locals can speak English. They also speak other dialects such as Cuyunon and Tinagbanwa. You can ask them about anything, make sure to get your point across as clear as you can with a neutral accent.
It's relatively tropical in Coron, which means you have to protect your skin from the sun's harm. Aside from swimwear and other beachwear necessities, make sure to bring sunblock.
Bring insect repellent with you as well to prevent insect bites. If you plan to snorkel without joining a tour group, bring your snorkeling gear with you. If you plan to trek to Mount Tapyas, bring trekking gear and a flashlight to avoid accidents.
Most visitors can see the highlights of Coron on four days and three nights tour. For those staying longer, it's easy enough to fill in the extra days with more island-hopping adventures, particularly wreck diving or a day trip to the historical island of Culion depending on your preference and interests.
09:00 AM - Arrival, Check-in at Hotel
10:00 AM - Early lunch
11:00 AM - Climb up Mt. Tapyas Viewdeck
07:00 PM - Dinner
08:00 PM - Back at the hotel
07:00 AM - Wake up, freshen up and prepare for a long day
08:00 AM - Breakfast
09:00 AM - Start of Coron Island Tour
12:00 NN - Lunch
01:00 PM - Continue island tour in Coron
06:00 PM - Dinner, fireflies and night tour
08:00 PM - Back at the hotel
07:00 AM - Wake up, freshen up and prepare for a long day
08:00 AM - Breakfast
09:00 AM - Join a Calauit Safari Park tour
03:00 PM - Back to Hotel
04:00 PM - Explore town sights in Coron
06:00 PM - Dinner
07:00 PM - Nightlife, get a drink at one of the local bars
09:00 PM - Back at the hotel
06:00 AM - Wake up, freshen up and prepare for a long day
07:00 AM - Breakfast
08:00 AM - Visit the public market for last-minute souvenir shopping
08:30 AM - ETD to the airport
09:00 AM - Departure
Plan Your Coron Getaway Today
From island hopping to kayaking, diving, and camping, there are a lot of things you can do in Coron. Visiting this renowned island in Palawan should be included in your bucket list. It's a matter of planning your itinerary and making sure that you're well-informed about the choices you have for accommodations, tours, and activities.
Explore the islands, beaches, lagoons, and other attractions of Coron! When planning your itinerary, make sure to research for Coron tours and activities that you can easily book for a hassle-free getaway!