Coron is one of the most amazing islands in the Philippines, with huge limestone peaks, multicolored lagoons, and some of the best coral reefs in the country.
It may not be as famous as its cousin El Nido, but it’s also more affordable and less crowded, and you could argue that the scenery is just as good.
This travel guide will explain how you can experience this gem of the Philippines yourself!
Where Is It?
Coron is a small island located 60 miles (100 km) north of Palawan, a big island in the Philippines.
The area around Coron Bay has dozens of small islands and sunken World War II shipwrecks, making it pretty much heaven for scuba diving and tropical island hopping!
How To Get There
Coron town can be reached by air or ferry.
The best way to get there is to take the ferry from El Nido to Coron, and then fly out of Coron when you’re ready to go home. Or you can do the same thing in reverse (fly into Coron, then take the ferry to El Nido and leave from there).
Keep in mind the Busuanga airport (USU) is not served internationally, so this means you will first need to fly to one of the big cities in the Philippines — Manila or Cebu — and go from there.
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 pesos ($10 USD) per day. You can flag down a tricycle taxi for 100-200 pesos 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.com for as low as 180 pesos 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 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 beaches, see picturesque lakes and lagoons, and snorkel 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.
More info: Coron Ultimate Island Tour
• 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!
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 for if you don’t have other electronics and just need something small to protect your phone with.
- 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.
- Camera: Duh!
Is Coron Safe?
Yes! We’ve spent weeks here and I’d say it’s a very safe place.
The Philippines does have some serious issues 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 like not staying out into the early hours.
Best Time To Visit
Coron 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.
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.
- Credit Cards: Most restaurants, hotels, and other things are cash only.
- ATM: Coron has several working ATMs now with big withdrawal limits. The fee is 250 pesos.
- WiFi: Most places in town have bad WiFi connections. The best solution is a local SIM card. We had great speeds with Globe.
- Hygiene: Don’t drink or brush with the tap water. Otherwise, eat and drink to your heart’s content!
Best Coron Tour Packages
Klook.com has high rated Palawan boat tours for very competitive prices.
Their package for the Coron ultimate tour costs 1,500 pesos ($30 USD) and includes all of the usual stops: Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Atwayan Beach, CYC Beach, and a bunch of good 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).
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.
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!