Coron is commonly thought of as the town situated on Busanaga Island, but there is also a separate Coron Island off the coast of Busanga too – I know confusing right. Both of the Coron locations are situated at the most northern tip of Palawan. I found the scenery and beauty similar to El Nido, but maybe a little more rustic and not as touristic as it has now become. Sadly, I was plagued with very rainy weather during my short stay here so didn’t get to explore as much as I would have liked. Although I think 3 days of touring the area is ample for any Philippine itinerary. You’ll be able to experience fantastic boat trips, discover tiny islands and see beautiful rock formations. There’s also a thermal spring to enjoy, as well as a short hike to the top of Mount Tapayas, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Coron.
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- Visa – British Nationals can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. However, as I stayed for 5 weeks I got a tourist visa from the Philippine Embassy which allowed me to stay for up to 59 days. For the most up to date information, consult the Philippine Immigration website here.
- Immunisations – some are required, check out my go-to website for up to date information: https://nathnac.net
- Safety – I felt relatively safe whilst I was in Manila, exercise usual caution around looking after valuables and being safe alone or at night.
- Currency – Philippine peso (PHP)
- Language – Filipino is the national language which is the standardized variety of the Tagalog language, as well as English. I also spoke with several Filipinos especially in Cebu who spoke Cebuano. There are 4 indigenous languages (including Tagalog and Cebuano) with around 10 million or more native speakers and a further 8 languages with around 1 to 3 million native speakers. As a general rule though as a tourist – most people can speak English.
I left the port in El Nido at around 8:40 AM, and boarded the boat which would take us to the island of Coron. The whole journey was scheduled to take around 3 hours, I’m not sure why but it took an additional hour. The boat was quite comfortable though and they had two large tv screens which showed two films (although without sound or English subtitles so you had to kind of read between the lines!) Either way it was a pleasant journey and a straightforward way to travel between El Nido and Coron.
As you arrive at the port and exit onto the main road, you will be inundated with leaflets for all of the available excursions with tour companies in Coron, I managed to gather a sizeable handful but they were very useful as you could plan out your time in Coron and compare the different tour companies and prices without having to go anywhere else. Next, I jumped into a tricycle for 100PHP and arrived at my hotel shortly after to check-in. I spent the rest of the afternoon organising my time in Coron and catching up on editing some photos offline, as the wifi was terrible where I was staying in Coron! However, I did enjoy several vegan dishes form the delish ‘Full Lotus’ restaurant, located literally next door to my hostel – JACKPOT!
I always use booking.com to search for the best value for money accommodation, and decided to stay with ‘Dayon Hostel’. The facilities were good, and the location wasn’t bad either. Situated on the main road, it was very easy to hail a tricycle. They also have a great rooftop area where you can order food and drink, and they provide a complimentary breakfast, although unfortunately there were no vegan options available.
As I mentioned previously it’s very easy to find tricycles in the Coron town area, do try to check the pricing though as I think I was charged well over the going rate on quite a few occasions. There are also several tours available, both boat tours for island hopping and land tours in which you will be collected from your accommodation by van also.
Coron Town Tour
This was an organised afternoon trip I found and booked using one of the leaflets that was handed to me when I arrived. There were around 10 people in our group and we were transported by mini-van.
Our first stop, we had just 5 minutes here, there isn’t very much to look at, a few benches and some convenience stores, the main attraction are the views over the bay of the boats and the islands further out. Although sadly it was quite an overcast and cloudy day, so I’m sure it would look more spectacular when the sun is shining.
This was just outside Mt Tapayas, offering standard souvenirs you can find across most parts of the Philippines, but a great stop if you need to pick up some souvenir or any gifts.
St. Augustine Church
There was actually a wedding taking place when we visited, it was quite a hectic affair and it seems as though the ceremony had already taken place and there were lots of different people lining up to have their photos taken with different members of the congregation. Trying not to intrude and give that it is a rather small church we spent maybe only 5-10 minutes here.
This was quite a hike up the mountain, there’s a total of 726 steps to the very top so be prepared for some walking! Although they are concrete steps and every hundred steps or so there was a little shelter or benches available and usually some people selling bottles of water to the parched passers-by.
There’s a Hollywood-Esque sign at the top of the Mountain spelling out Coron, as well as a huge cross, and you can see views across the bay and over to the other islands that you will most likely visit on your island hopping tours.
It’s recommended to visit late in the afternoon when the day is at it’s coolest because did I mention – its quite a hike! Well for someone who doesn’t often climb mountains, but I did see some avid sports enthusiasts running up and down the mountain – so it totally depends on your level of fitness.
This was my favourite part of the tour. We had around an hour here, which was enough time but I could have probably soaked in the dreamy hot waters for hours. It’s best to visit the Hot Springs in the evening when the temperature outside has cooled somewhat.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit the cashew factory, as we experienced some delays with passengers coming back from activities, and by the time we were due to visit it had already closed for the day. Although I must admit I wasn’t too eager to visit the factory, I just wanted to buy some cashews!
Coron Ultimate Boat Tour
Pick up was the usual between 8:00-9:00AM, and then we were taken by tricycle to the nearby port to board our boat. After the usual formalities of paying for sea shoes, and getting our snorkels we went to find our boat. There was a slight delay between boarding and disembarking which I have found is usually the case in the Philippines, seems to be often down to the coast guard, and organising of other boats, but by around 9:30-10:00AM we were on our way. Our first stop was Twin Lagoon.
First up on our tour was visiting Twin Lagoon. Out boats had a few kayaks available for the passengers to use so we all took it in turns to tour around the lagoons in style, and then after a while ditched the kayaks and went swimming. There’s a tiny opening in which you can swim through, or if you’re a little claustrophobic you can climb up onto the rocks and over the formation connecting the twin lagoons. The rock formations are beautiful and the water is a dreamy blue like no other.
Next up was getting up close with marine life. The Coral Garden is a fabulous site for snorkelling, and lots of coral and sea-life to see here.
We stopped at a nearby beach to enjoy a tasty lunch. I enjoyed some delicious aubergine and vegetables with rice. We relaxed here for a little while before moving on to our next destination.
Another great location for snorkelling there’s a variety of coral and fish here to enjoy, and we spent around 30 minutes, exploring the coral and enjoying the cool waters.
This was my favourite part of the tour. I didn’t want to dive down with just my snorkelling gear so hovered near the surface. I could still just make out the outline of the skeleton wreck, which is one of twelve Japanese supply ships hit by airstrikes during World War II. There were lots of other tourists there who were swimming down for a better look as well as scuba divers out on day trips too. I was quite happy to hang around with these guys! Floating completely still in the water one by one they surrounded me and I could see them so closely it was fantastic.
Later on in the afternoon we also stopped by another beach where there was a friendly boat trader, on a tiny canoe-shaped boat with a cooler full of fizzy pop and beer, so of course, I couldn’t resist an ice-cold beer and a lounge on the beach!
Towards the end of our trip, we made a stop at the very picturesque Kayangan Lake. We moored the boat to one side of the rock formations and then we had to walk along a short wooden walkway and climb some quite steep stairs to reach the other side.
Sadly the terrible weather I experienced in El Nido, followed me to Coron, and with several thunderstorms and lots of rain, I spent more time inside, catching up on some work and enjoying some downtime. Had the weather been more pleasant I would have booked the ‘Island Escapade Tour’ which includes a visit to Banana or Ditaytayan Island, Bulog or Waling-Waling Island and Malcapuya Island. If you have three or more days in Coron and are blessed with warmer weather then I would include these destinations on your itinerary too!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my trip to Coron, sadly my last destination in the Philippines but seems as though the weather was willing for me to leave with increased rain showers. Next on my travel list – Malaysia!
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