Coron is the third-largest island in the Calamian Islands in northern Palawan in the Philippines
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Things to do in Coron
If Coron isn’t already on your Bucket List, then get a pen ready! You can consider Coron to be a smaller, quieter, and just as pristine version of El Nido. Just like its neighbor, Coron has natural wonders that defy logic and make you question reality. Swim through underwater mountains, visit hidden lagoons, snorkel over otherworldly reefs, lounge on baby powder sand beaches- the adventures never stop.
Swim in the Twin Lagoons
Also called the “hidden lagoons”, the Twin Lagoons offer a one-of-a-kind experience. The lagoons are essentially two small lakes that have been created inside limestone cliffs and are fed by the turquoise ocean water nearby.
When the tide is low, the surface of the water lays below a beautiful limestone archway, where you can swim through to the other lagoon.
As you swim through the water, you’ll pass through warm spots and cold spots that just add to the strangely wonderful experience.
Swim in Lake Kayangan
Put on some comfy shoes and set off on the 15-minute hike up approximately 300 stairs. The hike takes a bit of effort but the lush forest scenery will certainly help make the journey more enjoyable.
The lake is gorgeous with a shore that you can wade into. From up high, it’s easy to see where the lake suddenly drops off into a deeper swimming pool. With 70% freshwater and 30% salt water, this lake is believed to be inhabited by (nice) spiritual beings and thus, is a spot where locals perform spiritual rituals.
Coron kayak or stand-up paddle-board along the scenic Coron Bay mangrove channel
Besides swimming, snorkeling or diving, renting a kayak and paddling around Coron Island is definitely one of the unmissable experiences you’ll have in Coron. A typical half-day Coron kayak tour will take you along the Coron Bay’s abundant natural mangroves with many magnificent kayak paddling trails. Follow the narrow channels, glide over the crystal-clear blue waters, and admire the surrounding gorgeous limestone cliffs. This trip is a great chance for visitors to learn more about the mangrove forest and its fascinating significance to the island. Expect to see interesting creatures you may meet in the groves – tropical birds, crabs and other endemic creatures of Palawan. A kayak or stand-up paddle-board tour is available.
Tagbanua fishing tribe
The Tagbanwa people are the descendants of some of the original inhabitants to settle in the Philippines who now can be mainly found in the central and northern Palawan. They are a brown-skinned, slim, and straight-haired ethnic group. In the tropical island of Coron, the Tagbanwa (also known as Calamian Tagbanwa) live mostly on secluded beaches that are far away from the well-known tourist sites. Their main source of food is fish, and they also excel in baskets making and woodcarvings. When taking island hopping around Coron, you might pass through their fishing tribes and sometimes see them collecting rubbish or sweeping the beaches as a way to keep their ancestral land clean.
Coron Bay is where all the magic happens. This breathtaking maze of deep blue water winds around tall limestone cliffs that remind you of the movie ‘Avatar’- it almost doesn’t seem real.
There are multiple shipwrecks in the bay that have encouraged the growth of natural reefs. These reefs and the wrecked ships make ideal dive and snorkel spots.
You can sign up for Island Tours that take you through Coron Bay while stopping at secret inlets, guiding you to the best swim spots, and visiting viewpoints that give you full perspective of the bay.
You’re going to do a lot of beach lounging and snorkeling in Coron, so why not switch it up for a day?
Kingfisher Park is a mangrove and bird haven with tons of natural life to investigate. There are vegetation and animal species here that are specifically endemic to Palawan; in other words, you can only see them here!
There are a few activities you can take part in including The Mount Lunes Santo Trek and the Starry-starry night Tour. But the most popular activity at Kingfisher Park is to kayak around the mangroves to get a closer look at the wildlife both in the mangroves and under your boat.
Ask a local tour guide about all of the above and he’ll sort you out.
Not only are these underwater rock formations totally mysterious but also, they are set in an inland lake instead of off the coast with the rest of the crazy rock formations. Just when you thought Coron couldn’t get more alien, it goes and does this.
Barracuda Lake is an incredible dive spot where you’ll whiz around the underwater mountains like you’re peter pan, swim through layers of salt and freshwater that are clearly distinct, and hit warm patches where the water can reach nearly 40 degrees Celsius.
There is no other dive spot like this in the world, so take advantage while you’re here.
Want to get romantic? Banana Island offers tons of romance nooks to cuddle up with your sweetheart.
Cozy next to each other in an isolated bungalow hovering over the water without another soul in sight; have your boo gently push you on the swing hanging from an old tree as your feet dangle into the water; or snorkel hand-in-hand and find little treasures for each other in the reefs.
After you are pumped full of dopamine and love hormones, sit on the shore and watch the sun go down. Now, that’s romance.
Wreck Dive in Busuanga Island
Just west of Coron Island is Basuanga Island that is home to an underwater wonder that divers just can’t get enough of.
In 1944, dozens of WWI Japanese ships were hit in an aerial attack, sinking their ships right off the coast of Busuanga Island. Here is where these massive ships found their final resting place.
Plenty of dive shops offer these wreck dives where you can swim inside and around the ships, which are now covered in colorful reefs and eerie underwater moss. It’s an adrenaline-pumping dive that is worth the hour or so boat ride to the site.
Banol Beach is a small, idyllic white sand strip perfect for a day of tanning and splashing about in the cool water.
Rather than reggae bars and guesthouses, you have jungle forests and pre-packed picnics. Pack a bag full of snacks, beers, and water to make it an event.
The beach is usually very quiet, which means there is more space for you and your photo opportunities. No matter if you’re working with a smartphone or a professional camera, every shot turns out super Instagram-worthy.
Maquinit Hot Springs
Can you handle super hot bath temperatures? Take the plunge into 39 to 40 degrees Celsius hot springs in Coron.
The trick is to submerge your whole body at once and don’t move a muscle! After a minute or so, your body will start to adapt and you will begin to melt into the experience.
Visit the hot springs at night when the temperatures in the air start to drop. This makes for a more pleasant experience. Not only that, but Maquinit Hot Springs for sunset is a pretty spectacular experience that gives way to twinkling stars and a bright moon against the dark sky. It just can’t be beat.
You’ll catch glimpses of Mt. Tapyas while you’re out on the boats in Coron Bay and might wonder what’s going on up there. You can find out if you’re willing to climb a set of stairs that stretches 210-meters into the clouds.
As you ascend, you’ll pass plenty of fatigued travelers still with a smile on their face as each step gives you an even more gorgeous view of the island.
At the top of Mt. Tapya is a huge Christian cross that someone has actually been determined enough to carry up the mountain!
The final view gives you an unprecedented glimpse down on to small villages, Coron bay, and the layout of the islands that surrounds it.
For the more experienced divers, this site offers depths of 40-meters that are totally surrounded by protected reef life. Better yet, visibility can reach up to an astounding 80-feet, offering the most crystal clear dive experience you may have ever had. You’ll need your Advanced Open Water certification to come here, but luckily, there are plenty of dive shops in Coron to help you sort that out.
Coral Garden is home to rich biodiversity. Expect to see colorful anemones, clown fish and brightly colored reef fish by the hundreds.
If you haven’t completed your Advanced Open Water course, then bring a snorkel and you’ll get some great views from the surface.
If you’re looking to become one with schools of fish, this is the dive site for you. Literally translated, Siete Pecados means ‘the fish site’ with huge schools of tropical fish, rich corals teeming with creatures, and bright reefs.
The best way to visit Siete Pecados is to hire a private boat. Make this snorkel trip your first adventure of the day so that you can avoid the heat and the crowds.
Ask your tour guide to bring some fish food along and you’ll make lots of underwater friends
Best time to visit
Palawan enjoys tropical weather through the year. However, December – March is considered as the best time to visit not only because it is dry but also because the weather is pleasant during this time. It begins to get warm after March and the rains arrive in May until November. It does, however, get warm during the days even during these months. January is the coolest, with temperatures reaching highs of 28 degrees.
Getting to Coron
Out of the three popular provinces in Palawan, Coron is the most remote and toughest to get to.
You can either fly in directly from Manila or take a ferry from El Nido or Puerto Princessa. The airport of Coron is located in Busuanga, about 35-40 minutes drive from the town centre. The ferry pier, however, is located much closer to the town centre. The fastest ferry ride from El Nido to Coron takes about 3.5 hours.
Montenegro Ferry from El Nido to Coron
If you are visiting Coron from El Nido, there are several ferry options. However, the slower ferries can take any time between 7-8 hours whereas Montenegro Lines provide the fastest option. Departing early in the morning from El Nido at 6.30 am, you will arrive at Coron at around 10 - 10.30 am.
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