Complete Guide to Coron, Palawan (Philippines)

A Complete Guide to Coron, Philippines

I spent a week in Coron, Philippines in August 2014, and I wrote this post as a guide to give you advice from my experiences.  I will provide you with travel tips and recommendations for culture, food, nightlife and things to do around town! 

If you have any further questions or need help planning your trip, then please comment below or contact me here.  And please see my other posts on the Philippines:
50 Reasons Why Life is Better in the Philippines
6 Filipino Foods to Try

A Travel Guide to Cebu

10 Things to do in Cebu
Top 10 Cebuano Word
All About Siquijor Island
A Travel Guide to Oslob, Cebu Island
Why Malcapuya island is the best island in the World

General Info

Coron is a city and island in Northern Palawan – an island in Western Philippines that was just ranked as the most beautiful island in the world.   The city is located on the Southern tip of Busuanga island, and it’s just a short (30 min) boat ride from actual Coron island.    The landscape in Coron is tropical and absolutely stunning.

Here is a map of Busuanga Island, Coron City and Coron Island so you can get a better understanding of the geography of what I explained.

When I think of paradise, Coron is the first place that comes to mind.

The Surrounding scenery of Coron is crystal clear ocean water and green, tropical landscapes. The sun shines often and the weather is close to perfect. You just can’t go wrong!

You can get to Coron by plane from Manila or Cebu. The airport is called Busuanga airport, which is 45 minutes way from the Coron City. The airlines that fly to Busuanga are Cebu Pacific and Philippine air.

Culture and People

Filipinos, in general, are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. And it was especially true in Coron. Everywhere I went, I was welcomed with a happy “Hello Sir” and a big white smile.  Filipinos are so kind that I just wanted to give them all a big hug!

Coron City is VERY laid back.  There isn’t much going on.  Aside from world-famous scuba diving, there isn’t anything to do besides eat and drink beer.   There are no beaches around Coron City.  Just a small downtown area with restaurants, bars, shops and massage places.

If you want to go to the beach, then take one of the daily island tours to the smaller islands.  The beaches are fantastic, especially Malcapuya Island- my self-proclaimed most beautiful island in the world.

What to do?

The best thing to do in Coron is go scuba diving!!

Not certified?  No problem!  I got scuba certified in Coron with Coron Divers and it was perfect. I went on 7 dives in 3 days and I fell in love with life under the sea.

Coron is world renowned for having the most accessible ship wreck dives in the world. Back during WWII, eight giant Japanese ships were bombed by Americans and all eight of them remain on the ocean floor within an hour boat ride of Coron City.  They are still sitting there on the bottom of the sea, waiting for you to explore!

My favorite ship wreck dive was the Olympia boat. The boat is 120 meters long and it’s laying on the ocean flood on its side. This was only my 3rd dive ever and we went down 25 meters through windows, rooms and parts of the ship. It was completely blacked out at some points. It was eerie, but so freaking cool to explore! The boat remains home to so many fish and coral reefs. Scuba diving through the Coron shipwrecks was in my top 3 best travel moments of my life. 

You can see the ship behind me in this photo:

In addition to the ship wrecks, there are also amazing coral reefs that you can snorkel around.  I saw many interesting species of fish.  You can also dive in barracuda lake – A a freshwater lake that has volcanic activity at the bottom, so the water temperature gets hotter the farther down you go. It reached 37 degrees Celsius at the bottom – like a hot tub!

I got PADI certified by a company called CORON DIVERS. They are the only Filipino dive center in the city, and they offer quick and cheap services to get certified. I highly recommend them, and look for the owner named Arni. He is the man! It took me 2 full days to get certified, as opposed to 4 or 5 like most other diving places.  He will take you out on the boat to various parts around the island for diving.  And chilling on the boat is amazing, like you see in this photo!

Like I mentioned before, I recommend taking a day trip to the nearby islands for some quality beach time. The beaches there are the best that I’ve ever seen in my life. Specifically Malcapuya island and Pass island. My friend and I hired a private boat driver who took us to Malcapuya and we stayed overnight in a cottage, and then went to Pass Island the next day. You should do that if you are traveling in a group, or if you want the cheaper option for solo travel, then check out the package island tours.

This is a photo that I took during sunset on Malcapuya island:


Aside from Coron, the other big and touristy island in Palawan is El Nido. But it’s an 8 hour boat ride from Coron, so I never got a chance to make it.   I heard that it’s pretty much the same as Coron but with many more tourists.

Another thing you can do in Coron is rent a motorbike and explore the island. We did this for an entire day and it was a great time.  We drove through villages and schools, where kids jumped on us when they saw us drive through. There are some other small cities to check out and waterfalls.

The Food

Filipino food is nothing special. In fact, it’s my least favorite cuisine in Asia.  It pretty much consists of fish and rice for every meal.

However, that’s not to say that you can’t find quality food in Coron.  In fact, I found the best Filipino food that I’ve ever had in Coron! There are a few gem restaurants that served delicious seafood. My favorite was called Sinugba Sa Balay Grill and Native Restaurant . They have amazing local seafood curries and stuffed fish. Here is a photo of my meal:

The fruit everywhere in Coron is fresh and delicious. I think that I drank 2 mango smoothies everyday. The coconuts (called “buko” in the local language) were refreshing and I just couldn’t get enough. The sun is really strong in Coron, so eating fresh fruit is so necessary to stay hydrated and it’s refreshing.

The Nightlife

Sadly, the nightlife in Coron only consists of a few bars.  But it’s ok, because you don’t go to Coron to party. That’s what Boracay and Manila is for 😉

The best local beers to try are San Miguel and Red Horse. The latter is extra strong (7-9%) and it’s the best!!! A few Red Horses and you’ll find your happy place.

Where to stay?

We had an amazing stay at a hotel called Corto Del Mar. It’s located in a peaceful area on the sea and away from the busy main road.

The staff at this hotel is so kind that I always felt welcomed.  They will smile so big at you every time you make eye contact with them.  The rooms are very clean and spacious, just like the lobby and massive pool area. The food at Corto del Mar was the best in Coron, so I ate almost every meal there.  Although this hotel isn’t the cheapest option in Coron, trust me that you certainly get what you pay for. Highly recommended!

Here is a photo of our lovely room:

If you want a backpackers hostel, then check out Marley’s Guesthouse. We stayed for 1 night, and the friend people and reggae vibes were enough to keep me there forever.  Oh, and they have the best pancakes for breakfast!

Planning a trip to Coron? Let me help you!  And Please comment below 🙂

20 thoughts on “Complete Guide to Coron, Palawan (Philippines)

  1. Hey drew, nice info. . i just would like to know if what date in august did you go to coron? i’ve been pondering to go there on my bday but i’m hesitated to push through with my plan because of the unexpected weather. .if i will go on my bday which is on the 28th of august for a 4 days 3 nights stay, will i be able to enjoy the place?

  2. Greetings Drew!
    I was just wondering what your average budget was and probably help me estimate a budget for 5 days. is 40,000 PHP enough for a couple who will stay in Coron for 5 days? I would really love to know.

  3. Hi Drew! After reading your blog, it makes me want to head to Coron immediately. Thank you for the tips! Cheers to your travels around the world.

  4. Hi Drew,
    Is there accommodation on Coron Island itself rather than the Coron Town? Any recommendations of where to stay?
    thanks

  5. Hi Drew,

    I am heading to the Philippines next week and was planning on staying in Coron for two weeks. Is that too long? I will be traveling solo and I am wondering what the solo traveler scene is like. Also, I will be taking 2Go ferry from Manilla to Coron -not sure if you have heard anything about it? The flights are too expensive right now since I didn’t book anything ahead of time.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hey Nate — yes, that is too long in my opinion. I was there for 7 days and that was even too long. You should take boats to other islands in Palawan, like El Nido! Best, Drew

    2. I just got back from there, and everyone was telling me, “Don’t stay more than a few days there” I was there for almost 2 weeks and it wasn’t long enough for me…..but I’m a single female traveler in her 40’s if that gives you any insight. I now have to return to Coron, because I didn’t get to see and do everything I wanted to, and I was on the go non-stop! If you like wham bam thank you maam kind of tours, with a lot of tourists, yeah a few days is plenty, because you spend 30 minutes on every island and see everything nearby in a day or 2. I liked to leisurely see every neighboring island by boat and take my time. I hired a private boat daily, for the days the weather permitted. On my last day, I was the only tourist on an island and beach the entire day!! I love peace and quite and solitude!

      The snorkeling spots blew my mind, and I have scuba dived all over the Caribbean and in Tahiti even. Wow!

      There are hot springs, which I visited, but wanted to return at night. I hiked up Mt Tapyas at night, but didn’t find time during the day. I took a tricycle a long ways a way from the main town and ended up at a blue-green waterfall with zero tourists. It was wonderful!

      The locals in Coron are so friendly and kind, and they make me want to be a better person. I need to go back!!

      Oh, I highly suggest buying their local SIM card for your cell phone. Internet is not very great, and the phone as a hotspot works much better. Unlimited data for super cheap!!!

      I agree with Drew about the food. The one he mentioned is the best restaurant, and so is Altrove, a pizza place.I had stingray in coconut milk at a restaurant called Winnie’s which was tasty as well. You are better off going to the market, purchasing some fresh prawns or meat, and having the boat crew cook it up for you later in the afternoon, so you are pretty much good for dinner

      I didn’t want to leave Coron. In fact, I cried when I had to leave, and get teary when I think about my wonderful experience at this place.

  6. Hello,

    just wondering, how much does it cost to get certified for diving? I went to the website but I am not sure if what I am reading is just costs for diving trips and not for actual certification. Thx!

    1. Thanks Carmelisse!! I am actually heading back to the Phils next week as well! The flight is about $100 round trip from Manila, and yes, 3 days is plenty! Have fun!

      Drew

  7. Hi, Drew,
    i am planning to visit Coron with 2-3 friends and would like to stay 2-3 nights on an island or a resort. what would you suggest? i read about Coral Bay Beach and Dive Resort. People’s comments on it are quite divergent. What do you think?
    Thanks!

  8. So I will be going to the Philippines for a week in January after partying in Hong Kong for New Years. Given only a week there, where should I visit and what should I see? I’m not into history and sight seeing much. I want to have fun, stay up late, and do some cool things I can’t do in most places. Thanks for the help.

    1. Sounds great! I would say to visit Palawan- it’s the most spectacular island in the Philippines. Send me an email and I can help you out more!

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