The Best Coron Itinerary for Coron Island Hopping
If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines to explore the crystal clear waters, beaches and islands, no doubt you would have heard of Palawan. Currently, El Nido and it’s striking limestone rock formations pull in most of the tourists to this beautiful part of the Philippines, but over recent years, Coron Island is starting to get the attention that it deserves. With equally stunning limestone towers and heaps of Coron Island hopping tours available, Coron should be a stop for everyone visiting popular Palawan.
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In this post, we’ll share the best Coron itinerary and our outstanding Coron Island hopping experience. We’ll also share information on how to get there and recommend a new awesome place to stay in Coron town. It’s all been tried and tested by us so you’ve come to the right place for 100% satisfaction!
Where is Coron Island?
Coron Island is the third-largest island in the Calamian island group and is the highlight for travellers exploring this area. The Calamian islands are found in the most northern part of Palawan, just north of El Nido and south of Manila.
The largest island in the area is Busuanga island and it’s here where you’ll find Coron town and the domestic airport. Before arriving, a lot of people assume Coron Island is where you’ll find accommodation options and other amenities, but its Busuanga island that’s the base for Coron island hopping and other Coron itinerary activities.
Coron Island is in fact protected due to its unique ecological features and many indigenous tribes. When Coron Island hopping, tourists can only visit the northern side of the island, but there’s still plenty to see around the bay.
How To Get To Coron Island
By following our Coron itinerary, we recommend departing from either Manila or El Nido. Both journeys are super easy, no matter which direction you are heading.
How To Get To Coron Island From Manila
FLY: The most comfortable and quickest way to get to Coron from Manila is to fly. After some research, we found Cebu Pacific to be the cheapest airline for this journey. We paid approximately 3,500 pesos per ticket and booked easily online via their own website. Our flight departed from Manila’s terminal 4 at 06:25 and we landed on Busuanga island at 07:30. It’s then a 150 peso shared van journey to get to Coron town which takes 45 minutes.
FERRY: 2Go Travel Ferry has overnight trips between Manila and Coron. Departing Manila every Tuesday and Friday at 13:30 and Coron every Sunday and Thursday at 16:30. The journey takes a whopping 15 hours so make yourself comfortable!
How To Get To Coron Island From El Nido
FERRY: The only way to travel between Coron and El Nido is by ferry. There are now two ferry options; slow and fast.
Price per person:
Slow boat (7 hours) – 1200 pesos per person
Fast boat (3.5 hours) – 1700 pesos per person
Ferry terminal fee – 20 pesos per person
Ferry tickets can be bought from your accommodation or any tour company in Coron town and El Nido. We took the Montenegro fast ferry which was comfortable, air conditioned and randomly played three monkey-themed movies. Tea, coffee and biscuits can be bought onboard which are purchased from the captain’s cockpit!
The Best Coron Itinerary for Coron Island Hopping
The smart thing to do for the best Coron itinerary and Coron Island hopping tours is to get in touch with Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours. We’re so glad we found these guys as they made our Coron Island experience so memorable.
Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours offer a range of Coron Island hopping packages as well as other tours around the area. Pick from joining group tours to organising your own DIY private tour. Some packages also include nights at their awesome new X-BnB.
Our Coron Island Hopping Tour Itinerary
We opted for a Coron itinerary package that included two days Coron Island hopping and three nights at their comfortable accommodation.
Coron Island Hopping – Day 1
At the beginning of our first day, after breakfast at X-BnB’s roof terrace, we were introduced to Julius. Julius would be our tour guide for the next 2 days and what a fantastic guide he is. Always full of energy, jokes and laughter, Julius is made for showing tourists the best of what Coron has to offer. Our first day would be spent taking their Coron Island Ecotour.
Our day 1 Coron itinerary started with kayaking and paddle boarding through a handsome green lagoon surrounded by the area’s gorgeous limestone cliffs. This was our first-time paddle boarding but the lagoon’s calm waters were the perfect practise ground. We even managed to stand several times without falling! At the end of the lagoon, where it meets the open waters, some coral can be found for snorkelling.
Next stop on our Coron itinerary was Barracuda Lake. The warm water lakes on Coron Island make it unique and different to the islands in El Nido. There’s not much marine life to see in the lake but it’s a wonderful experience to swim it’s warm waters while being dwarfed by high limestone walls. If you’re lucky, you may see the single giant Barracuda fish who lives in these warm waters.
Calachuchi Beach Lunch
Julius took us to Calachuchi Beach to enjoy a BBQ of fresh grilled fish, chicken and bizarre looking but delicious seaweed. We’re used to eating seaweed at Chinese restaurants back home, but this was totally different. We had our own private beach hut for some shade and had time for more paddle boarding and kayaking in the calm seas. There were only 2 other tour boats sharing the beach with us.
Not far from the shores of Calachuchi Beach is Coral Eden. Coral Eden is an impressive area of underwater coral surrounding a small limestone island. The coral is home to an abundance of tropical fish in their swarms. The star of the show here is a huge Napoleon Fish who made this coral area his home after being washed up from deeper waters in the 2103 typhoon Haiyan.
The last stop on our day 1 Coron itinerary was to Hidden Lagoon. For the hour, we had the peaceful flat lagoon to ourselves, enjoying kayaking through lush mangroves and more time to practise our new favourite watersport, paddle boarding. We got pretty good at it by the end of the day!
Coron Island Hopping – Day 2
Our Coron itinerary for day 2 was all about snorkelling some of the best reefs in the area. Kayaks and paddle boards were packed away as we set off on their Reefs and Wrecks Snorkelling Tour!
When on a Coron Island hopping snorkelling tour, you’ll no doubt be taken to one of twelve Japanese shipwrecks. They’re a must on any Coron itinerary. These huge ships were left behind after a WW2 battle in 1944 between the Japanese and the US. The US bombarded 24 Japanese ships by airstrike leaving 12 of them to sink to the bottom of Coron Bay.
Today they’re a Philippine snorkelling and diving highlight. On our day 2 Coron itinerary, we were taken to two ships, Sangat Gunboat and Lusong Gunboat. At most other shipwreck sites around the world, diving is needed for best access, but at just a few meters under the surface, snorkelling the eerie ghost ships in Coron Bay was extremely rewarding. We could see and sometimes touch so many details of the ships as we swam with more terrific marine life.
The shipwrecks are a respected local presence in Coron Bay. Locals make a blessing ceremony every September in honour of all the soldiers who lost their lives in the 1944 battle.
Lunch on Calachuchi Island
Our favourite beach we visited while Coron Island hopping was Calachuchi Beach. A soft sand paradise, we had entirely to ourselves, to enjoy more perfectly grilled fish. Before Typhoon Haiyan, the beach was a popular tourist spot with cottages to rent but now lies empty with just one resident local family to greet the minimal day trippers. There are no plans to bring the beach back to its former glory. That’s fine by us since it’s simply beautiful as it is.
We’ve snorkelled in many reef sites around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, but Coron’s Coral Garden is the most impressive we’ve seen in a very long time. Coral Garden is several kilometres of stunning diverse corals and marine life. Julius dropped us off at our starting point and allowed us to swim around 1Km worth. It was a pretty sight as we passed table corals, fire corals and tree corals. A snorkelling experience we’ll remember for a very long time!
Check out all our Philippine adventures here! – Finding Beyond in the Philipines
The Best Place To Stay In Coron
Coron is a town on the rise but its still in its infancy. Because of this, there’s a lack of good quality accommodation available. If you’re on a shoestring budget, then there are plenty of backpacker places to put your head down at night, but if you’re treating yourself in the Philippines then we can recommend the previously mentioned X-BnB.
Run by the same team behind Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours, X-BnB is brand new and boasts 3 huge themed rooms with fantastic views over the town to Coron Bay and island. Enjoy their free proud-to-serve locally roasted coffee on the sun-drenched roof terrace as you discuss your Coron itinerary.
As soon as you arrive, Al and his team will make you feel welcome and ensure you leave Coron with a huge satisfied smile.
Coron and Coron Island hopping was our introduction to Palawan and the Philippines. We were blown away by the natural beauty of the area’s islands, beaches, marine life and friendly people. The Government and locals have big plans for this town so make sure to add our Coron itinerary to your Philippines visit before it becomes overrun with tourists like Boracay and El Nido.