Coron Palawan is one of the most amazing islands in the Philippines, with huge limestone peaks, multicolored lagoons, and great snorkeling or scuba diving.
Like other islands in the Philippines, Coron Island is a very budget friendly destination where you can see beautiful white sand beaches and some of the best coral reefs in Southeast Asia.
Even though Coron isn’t quite as famous as its nearby cousin El Nido, it’s more affordable and less crowded, and you could argue that the island hopping scenery is just as good.
This Coron travel guide will give you some details on getting there, things to do, where to stay, and how you can experience this gem of the Philippines yourself!
Where Is Coron Island?
Coron is a small island located 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Palawan, which is a big island in the Philippines.
The area around Coron Bay has dozens of small islands with white sand beaches and sunken World War II shipwrecks, making it pretty much heaven for scuba diving and tropical island hopping!
How To Get To Coron Palawan
Coron town can be reached by flight or ferry.
There’s an airport in Coron called the Busuanga airport (USU), but it’s not served internationally, so you’ll first need to fly to one of the big cities in the Philippines — Manila or Cebu — and go from there. You can shop for flights to the Philippines at Skyscanner.
You can also join a 4-day Palawan sailing expedition from El Nido to Coron and see some of the amazing secluded islands along the way (I’ll explain more on that later).
Where To Stay In Coron
How To Get Around
Coron town is pretty small and only has a population of about 3,000.
It’s small enough to be walkable by foot for restaurants and most other things, but if you want to do some exploring outside of town you’ll need transport.
Scooter rentals are about 500 peso ($10 USD) per day. You can flag down a tricycle taxi for 100-200 peso per trip, but the scooter is more economical for long trips or multiple stops.
Shared or private airport transfers by van can be booked on Klook for as low as 180 peso per person.
Coron Island Hopping
Coron has become a popular scuba diving destination, but the reason most people come here is for the incredible island hopping boat tours. You can’t miss these!
• Coron Ultimate Island Tour
This is the main tour in Coron island and it combines a bunch of the top highlights in the area for a very full day trip.
You’ll get to land on some white sand beaches, see picturesque lakes and twin lagoons, and snorkel with fish at the fantastic coral gardens, along with at least one World War II shipwreck.
If you only do one tour in Coron, make sure it’s this one! It’s every bit as amazing as anything you can see in El Nido Palawan.
• Coron Island Escapade Tour
This tour doesn’t seem to get as much publicity as the others, but it’s the best if you’re wanting to chill out on beaches.
You’ll get to walk across the ocean on a sandbar and see three amazing white sand beaches, complete with hammocks, fresh coconuts, and everything else you need to relax!
The main sights on this tour are Malcapuya Island, Ditaytayan Island, and Bulog Dos Island.
Book Now: Coron Island Escapade Tour
• Coron Multi-Day Trips
Aside from the popular 1-day tours, you can also join multi-day sailing trips in Coron and the surrounding area, with some expeditions lasting up to 4 days and 3 nights, taking you all the way from Coron to El Nido, or vice versa.
This can be a great way to go island hopping in paradise without the crowds and time constraints of a simple day tour, and you get to see a lot of nice new islands that are off the beaten path and not included on the main day tours. It’s also a fun way to meet other travelers.
There are several companies offering multi-day trips in Palawan, but one of the highest rated is Big Dream Boat Man. They’re based in Coron, and they also have sailing expeditions that go all the way to El Nido, stopping at some amazing places along the way!
Book Now: Coron Palawan Sailing Expeditions
What To Bring
Most of the items below can be found in Coron town in a pinch, but the quality of stuff you buy on the street won’t be guaranteed (personally, I’m not about to use a junky knockoff bag from a street vendor to protect my expensive camera gear).
It’s best to buy vetted products online!
- Waterproof Bag: Essential for keeping your electronics safe on the boat tours. I brought a 30 liter bag and was able to fit my drone, tablet, camera, phone, and a bunch of other stuff inside. Everything was kept dry, even when I took the bag swimming a few times to reach hidden beaches!
- Waterproof Phone Pouch: Same as above, but these are for your phone only. Great if you don’t have other electronics and just need something small to protect your phone.
- Snorkeling Gear: Many of the islands have nice corals and fish, and you won’t want to miss out on them. Snorkels and masks can be rented on the boat too, but if you plan to do multiple tours it’s more economical to bring your own gear.
- Water Shoes: Save your feet a lot of grief and wear water shoes! We got so many cuts while walking to shore from the boats.
Is Coron Palawan Safe?
Yes! We’ve spent weeks here and I’d say it’s a very safe place.
The Philippines does have some problems with drugs and violent crime, but this hasn’t touched the small, remote town of Coron and it’s been a popular tourist spot for many years now.
You’ll be surrounded by international tourists at all times. Just keep your wits about you and follow normal precautions, and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Best Time To Visit Coron
Coron island is a tropical destination, so it’s warm all year round.
It’s also drier than El Nido. However, the best months to visit are still November to May, when it’s less rainy and not quite as hot.
We went once in January and once in February, and both times had fantastic weather for the entire week.
How Long To Stay
I would plan to spend at least 2 or 3 days in Coron Philippines.
Remember, there are several different island hopping and snorkeling tours, and you might want to spend a day seeing things around town too.
Coron has a growing number of good places to eat, but these are some of our favorites:
- Om’s Thai: Best restaurant in Coron, IMO. Great food, cheap prices, and huge portions. Indoors dining area with A/C and fans.
- Levine’s Eatery: Good food, fair prices, great sunset view from the rooftop dining area.
- Mat’s Shakes & Snacks: Great crepes and ice cream.
- Trattoria Altrove Coron: Best pizza in Coron.
Other Coron Tips
- Credit Cards: Most restaurants, hotels, and other things in Coron are cash only. I like to book my bigger purchases online (like hotels and tours), that way I can pay for them with credit card and save my precious cash for fresh coconuts!
- ATM: Coron has several working ATMs now with big withdrawal limits. The pull fee is like 250 peso.
- Electricity: There used to be long brownouts in Coron every day, but the electricity situation in Palawan island has improved quite a bit. On our latest visit, there were still daily brownouts, but they were quite short and didn’t really impact our trip at all. Many hotels and resorts in Coron also have generators in case there’s a problem with the electricity.
- WiFi: Most hotels and places in Coron town have bad WiFi connections. This is gradually improving. For now, the best solution is to buy a local SIM card and use your phone as a hotspot. We had great speeds with Globe in the Coron area.
- Language: Like many places in the Philippines, English is widely spoken by the locals in Palawan, so you don’t need to learn Tagalog to visit.
- Hygiene: Don’t drink or brush with the tap water. Otherwise, eat and drink to your heart’s content!
- Mosquitoes: There is some malaria present in Puerto Princesa city, but it’s very rare in Coron Palawan. I’ve never heard of a tourist getting malaria in Coron or Busuanga. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist there, but it’s certainly not common at all. There is still a risk of dengue fever from mosquitoes in Coron, which can be pretty nasty, so it’s a good idea to wear mosquito repellent in town or around the jungle. You don’t need to wear mosquito repellant while enjoying the beaches and island hopping in Coron, though.
Best Coron Day Tour Packages
Klook has high rated Coron Palawan day tours for very competitive prices.
Their package for the Coron ultimate tour costs about 1,600 peso ($30 USD) and includes most of the usual stops like Kayangan Lake and Twin Lagoon, plus some good beaches and snorkeling locations. You also get free lunch and hotel pickup. This is a better price than many of the tour companies you’ll find on the street in Coron town!
The other advantage of booking an online tour like this is that you can pay by credit card or Paypal, so you won’t have to run to the ATM constantly (and the ATMs in Coron are not known for being very reliable in the first place).
Book Now: Coron Palawan Tour
Where To Stay
Everyone visiting the islands stays in Coron town, which is on the east side of Busuanga island.
This is where all the hotels and restaurants are located, and it’s just a short drive from the airport or harbor.
The Coron hotels below are some of our top recommendations! You can see more options here.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Coron Visitors Hotel in town for 1,400 pesos ($27 USD) per night. This price got us a clean double bed with cold A/C and a private bathroom.
Keep in mind this is a relatively remote island in the Philippines, and the hotel scene is still struggling to develop and catch up with rapid demand, so don’t expect luxury.
Even so, this is one of the best budget friendly hotel options we could find in Coron. The location was perfect -— just a 5 minute walk from great restaurants -- and the staff were very helpful in arranging airport transfers, tours, and other things for us!
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal.
Coron vs El Nido – Which Is Better?
Palawan island has become famous for its tropical scenery and island hopping, but in a head-to-head comparison of Coron vs El Nido which is better?
Both of these places are amazing, and it’s possible to do both (I’d recommend it!), but if you’re limited on time you may have to choose one or the other since the two provinces are separated in the Philippines by 100 kilometers of sea.
El Nido is more popular and more developed than Coron, but that’s not always a good thing. Coron is quieter and has better snorkeling and diving. Both El Nido and Coron have amazing islands and beaches to explore.
I wrote up a complete comparison of all the differences, and hopefully it’ll help you decide between Coron or El Nido!
Read More: Coron vs El Nido – Which Is Better?