Coron was our second stop in our Philippines plan. Although we had a day delay to reach Coron due to bad weather conditions, we were lucky to experience Coron in a best way we could do. The most asked question was whether it was worth it. Our answer is yes. Arranging a diving tour was not in my interest due to health issues, but most people who visit Coron are there for taking diving courses. So, for people who are interested in diving may want to prefer Coron instead of El Nido if you only have one option to choose.
Although Coron population is higher than El Nido, El Nido was more modern. It was hard for us to find good restaurants in the town. There is only one above average hotel in the region and unlike in El Nido, there was less fun in the region. This was something unexpected for us, because we were hoping Coron to be similar in El Nido. However, there are some better things in Coron which I will later tell you in below sections. We again faced internet problem, but although El Nido was more modern than Coron, the internet in Coron was better than El Nido.
How to reach
First you have to decide where you want to start your Philippines holiday. My recommendation is to start from El Nido. If you do it similar way, the best option to reach Coron is by a ferry. Although it takes more than 4 hours, it is actually fast ferry. Ferry departs from El Nido at 06:00, so around 11:00 you mostly reach your hotel. This fast ferry is operated by Montegro Lines. Ferry tickets can be sold out frequently, so I recommend you to buy your tickets in advanced.
If you decide to start your tour from Coron, there are flights from Manila and Cebu. The airport is 30 minutes far away and there are van services which take you to your hotel with a good price. We have used the airport to return Manila. It is a very small airport but who wants it larger, right? If you will use a van service, your hotel will arrange you. Just don’t try to arrive very early, because all processes will maximum take 15 minutes. There was even no security when we were there.
If you have read my El Nido post first, you are probably familiar with a tricycle. It is the same one you will use in Coron. Unlike in El Nido, there are no many options to go, so if you stay in Coron town, you may almost do not need to use at all. However, there are few areas you may want to explore. In that case, you address is again tricycles. Just do not forget to bargain first! Especially, if you want to use a tricycle after your ferry arrival from El Nido, you will see hundreds of tricycle drivers are trying to convince you for using his tricycle with extreme prices. When I say extreme, they are still low but very above than it should be in Coron.
There is one important difference between El Nido and Coron about having island tours. Here, you have an option to go wherever you want like by a sea taxi. This means, you do not have to arrange a tour. There are many boats on the pier waiting for you. So, just tell where you want to go. Wait him to tell the price. Prices are almost fixed, but if you are arranging your tour later 11:00, this means that the boat captain couldn’t find a customer. This means, you have an option to bargain, but when it is early you do not have that option. My recommendation is do not arrange a tour in Coron. Just decide where you want to go and tell captain.
Where to stay
In Coron, you really have few options. You can either stay in Coron town or prefer to go one of the islands. They mostly are diving resorts which will help you to reach island. Although booking review scores are high, we have heard some negative comments from people who preferred to stay in islands. So here I have three hotel recommendation for you: Two Seasons Coron Bayside, Coron Soleil Garden Resort, Coron Visitors and Coron Soleil Express.
What to do
The answer is again Island Hopping! At the moment you arrive Coron by a ferry, they will be giving you tens of paper brochures of tours with price details. In Coron, the tours are little more expensive compared to El Nido. Although you will see tours with codes like A and B; in Coron you do not actually need it. There are only 3 main tours. The first one is Coron Highlights. This tour has many variations, but all locations are close to each other. So, there is a list of point of interests you may want to include on your trip. So, do not arrange Coron Highlights tour, just decide where you want to go and agree with the price just one day before to not face with big surprises. Only advantage of having a tour in Coron is lunch which is not really worth it. I recommend you to skip lunch in Coron with snacks and beverages and have a good dinner on the evening.
- Kayangan Lake
- Barracuda Lake
- Twin Lagoons
- Siete Pecados Marine Park
- Skeleton Wreck
- CYC Beach
- Banol Beach
Other tours are Island Escapade Tour and Reefs and Wreck Tour. On the first one, you visit the best beaches in Coron by going on the right direction from Coron Town. The places you will go are far away to the spots in Coron Higlihts Tour, so you will have to leave them for another day. Malcapuya, Banana and Bulog Dos are the islands you will visit in this tour, but ask the captain to add few more stops. Reefs and Wreck Tour will take you to Lusong Gun Boat. Unlike Skeleton Wreck in Coron Higlihts Tour, you will have a better visibility and experience when visiting this wreck. However, this is the only wreck you will see in this tour. There is another tour which has no specific name, but it is for divers and they take you to visit many wrecks all around Busuanga which requires more than a day and overnight stay on the boat.
In Coron, we really enjoyed our experience in underwater. There are better Coral Gardens compared to El Nido and you really spend a lot of time enjoying every second of it. There are also amazing photo spots when you are visiting Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake and Twin Lagoons. So, arranging private tour is really worth it. Your guide will help you to explore more. So, you will have enough time to have the best experience. For exploring corals, Siete Pecados was our favorite close to Coron Town.
There are also few things to do in Coron Town. The most popular thing to do is going Mount Tapyas to enjoy a magnificient sunset where you see the entire Coron. It will show how far you have gone away during your highlight tour. Unfortunately, you have to walk a lot of steps to reach top, so give half hour to reach top from your hotel. Otherwise, you will miss the best experience. Next thing you can do is visiting Maquinit Hotspring. This is located not in the center, so you have to arrange a transportation. It is open in the evening, but it may get crowded. We have also heard it was possible for a boat to leave you there from Siete Pecados but we haven’t tried it.