Everything you need to know before visiting Coron

Coron is the jewel in the crown of Palawan, an island that has been voted as the best island destination in the world several times in the last few years, putting a remote place located in the far east in the spotlight, thus bringing people from across the world to this little paradise. Three municipalities or towns specifically enjoy the maximum attention in Palawan – Puerto Princessa (the capital of Palawan), El Nido and Coron.  If you, like me, are one of those people who saw breathtaking pictures of the pristine waters of Coron on Instagram and were inspired to visit the enchanting islands, read on for everything you need to know before visiting Coron.

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.

Visiting Coron

Why should you visit?

Without a doubt, Coron has some of the most pristine beaches I’ve ever seen. They’re remote, not as crowded as other places in The Philippines, are tough to get to and thus, are as natural as it can get and extremely gorgeous! Coron is also a diver's paradise, offering numerous shipwreck diving sites and coral gardens. The underwater sea life is spectacular, the beaches are out-of-this-world and you are far away from any semblance of fast-paced city life. For nature lovers, people who wish to be amidst the extreme beauty and don't care about vibrant and lively places such as Boracay, Coron is heaven!

The ideal amount of time to spend in Coron, in my opinion, is between 3-5 days.

What to expect?

Visiting Coron may not be everyone's cup of tea! It is stunning, no doubt, but getting to the islands or the most spectacular sites isn't as easy as you'd want it to be. 'Convenience' is one thing you cannot expect, and it is always better to know what exactly you're going to face if you plan on getting there.

Visiting Coron

Here are a few things that'll help you put things in perspective:

#1. Coron town (which is part of the Busuanga Island, the largest of the Calamian archipelago) itself does not have a lot to see and do. This is where the flights will come to and where the hotels are located, so you will be staying on this island. However, apart from a couple of beaches (which aren’t really that great), the hot springs and Mt Tapyas, there’s not much to see here.

#2. The best places in Coron can only be reached by taking a boat from Busuanga Island. You have the option to join either a group tour or rent a private boat. Private Tours are usually quite expensive and would make sense only for a large group of people thus group tours are the best way to go for budget travellers.

#3. Unlike El Nido, where most companies offer the exact same itinerary for the island-hopping tours, there are no fixed itineraries in Coron. Depending on the tour operator that you're booking through, you might get different inclusions in your island-hopping tour. The best way to book a tour is either through your hotel or take a flier from the pier when you arrive by ferry and call them later to make your bookings.

Visiting Coron
Bulog Dos, Coron

#4. Most full-day tours depart between 8.30 - 9 am, thus make sure to book your tour the day before or you're likely to miss out.

#5. The weather in Coron can be extremely unpredictable. At one moment, you might face torrential rains and another, you'll have clear blue skies! This is true for almost the entire country.

#6. If you're planning on taking an island hopping tour in Coron, make sure to carry a waterproof bag and place all your belongings in it. It is highly likely that once the ferry docks at an island, you might have to wade through waters up until your waist to get to the land.

#7. Carry your sunscreen lotions with you because the sun can be very harsh. Your skin can burn within 15 minutes! Also, hats and sunglasses would be sensible to carry too.

Visiting Coron
Banana Beach, Coron

#8. Unlike El Nido, where you can rent kayaks at each of the destinations that the ferry stops at, Coron does not have the same option. Your boat is likely to have one kayak which you'll either have to share with others or choose to just swim/ snorkel through the waters instead. You will, however, be provided with snorkelling gear on board.

#9. It is a sensible idea to carry some water shoes with you as many of the places where you'll disembark from the ferry will have either dangerous sea animals like the jellyfish or sharp stones at the bottom. These shoes are available for rent at the pier, where the ferry departs from.

#10. Most full-day island-hopping tours serve lunch onboard. If you are a vegetarian, make sure to let your boat guide know in advance as they can arrange for vegetarian options such as salads.

Visiting Coron
Malcapuya Island, Coron

#11. When you visit the remote islands on an island hopping tour, most of them won't have any snacking or drinking options. At best, you might find 1-2 beach shacks serving coconut juice and some chips but that's about it. You might want to carry your own drinks/ food.

#12. The sea can get very rough! If you have a history of sea or motion sickness, you might want to carry medicines and be prepared for the worst situations.

#13. There is not much nightlife in Busuanga Town. There are some karaoke or live music bars, but most of these places shut before midnight. The town is mostly safe but do be vigilant, like you would anywhere else.

#14. Most bars will have Happy Hours during the evening hours where you're likely to get great discounts on San Miguel or the cocktails. However, if you're a wine-enthusiast, prepare to pay at least 3-5 times for a glass of wine as you would pay for a glass of Long Island Iced Tea!

Visiting Coron
Bulog Dos, Coron

#15. If you are a foodie, you will love the fresh seafood served at most places. Moreover, the food is cheap! Here are some of my suggestions, to try while in The Philippines: Sizzling Shrimp Gambas, Pork or Crocodile Sisig, Squid or Chicken Adobo, Seafood Gising Gising and Sizzling Chicken Salpico.

#16. Although you will find a few currency exchange places in Coron, you will not get the best conversion rates. If you're coming from Manila or El Nido, it's better to get your money exchanged before visiting Coron.

Book your hotel stay in Coron here

All in all, I can safely say that Coron is one of the most extraordinary places I have been to and if you're someone who loves beaches and water, you are sure to fall in love with Coron instantly. Visiting Coron will be one of the best decisions you'll ever make!

Click here to read about What to do in Coron in 3 days.

134 thoughts on “Everything you need to know before visiting Coron”

  1. Despite almost getting stuck on the island due to storms, had a great time in Coron. Hop Hostel was my favourite hostel of my whole year in SE Asia.

  2. Very comprehensive post on what to know and how to prepare before heading to Coron islands. To carry water shoes is most important because it is throughout water activity all days. Good to know that weather is unpredictable and for this we have to get ourselves prepared in advance. Though Coron islands is not very popular destination but this place is for me as I love pristine and less crowded places.

    1. I guess the fact that it is not very popular yet was the top reason why I chose to go 😉

  3. Coron looks so gorgeous, Medha. Love your photographs. The pristine waters and the tranquility of the place is a big draw for me. Your tips will be very useful when we decide to go!

  4. OMG! This is so pristine! I really really hope I’ll get a chance to stay in Philippines for atleast a month and explore its natural beauty.
    Thanks for the tip about carrying the waterproof bag for island hopping tours. I wouldn’t have imagined this scenario…

  5. OMG! I don’t know how to go on with my life after seeing this! lol I get it, why it was voted the best island destination in the world! So many useful tips, thank for sharing !

    p.s. I´ll be posting an article soon on 10 places that gave me some serious Wanderlust in 2018, let me know if I could include your post in? Would be great to share it with my readers!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Wow! The very first pic sold me the place. It seems so unreal like a picture postcard. I am glad it is difficult to reach as you seem to appreciate the place more if it is difficult to reach there. I love the blue-green water. I would certainly love to dive in such clear blue water and with so much marine life down there I am sure it would be worth it. This is such an amazing guide to the Islands with all the complete information. I am sure it would be difficult to get so much of info. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is one of the best places to dive. There are also several ship wrecks that you can see underwater, apart from the marine life.

  7. I think this is a perfect guide for Coron! Your photos are very beautiful. I have been to Philippines many times but not to Palawan. Hope to make it next time. I have been collecting articles on that region and yours is also being bookmarked 🙂

  8. I am from the Philippines and I haven’t been to Coron. This post makes me want to go. Everyone I kno who’s been there loves it!

  9. Coron looks gorgeous in your photos, and I can see why it would be worth the trip to enjoy those beautiful pristine beaches. Do you have any suggestions for places to stay? It doesn’t sound like there are large resorts, but perhaps a cute beach shack? This is a great resource of information for anyone thinking about visiting Coron. Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Unfortunately, Tami, the island where most hotels and accommodations are, does not have a lot to do. Even the beaches there aren’t as pretty, you’d have to take a boat and get to the lovely places. Unfortunately, the beaches on Busuanga Island (Coron main town area) do not even have restaurants or bars on the beach, let alone hotels and shacks. El Nido would be a better choice for that kind of experience 🙂 You could also look at staying in a hotel on a different island altogether, off Busuanga. I came across two budget hotels which were located off Busuanga (Coron’s mainland), so a little disconnected from the town life and ferry tours, but located right on the beach so a nice place to relax. Check out Balinsasayaw Resort & Majika Island Resort.

  10. Thank you for the extensive information. I think I am more ready to go to Coron because of your post plus the lovely photos. Coron is on my bucket list but I and the husband are still looking for a longer period of time to do backpacking in overall Palawan.

  11. I’m not much of a beach person as I’d rather roam around than just sit on the beaches. However, the beautiful natural landscapes all around definitely make up for this! I’ve not heard of Coron even though I know about El Nido and Puerto Princessa though, would love to visit.

    1. It’s more off-beat than El Nido and Puerto Princessa, and thus more well-preserved and natural 🙂

  12. Coron is such a paradise I wasn’t aware about , Its great option to know that we can either fly in directly from Manila or take a ferry from El Nido. I am going to plan this trip this year itself . the pictures are really motivating to plan this fun vacation.

  13. Those beaches and water look idyllic (wouldn’t mind spending the afternoon sleeping in the hammock) and we are not bothered by the quieter nightlife. The only concern is the chance of rough water as neither of us are great on boats.

    1. Oh no, that’s a pity! Because there really isn’t much to do in the town itself, you’d have to take a boat and go to the nice places.

  14. Oh my, your shots are so stunning. These places are so high on my bucket list and I love the idea that convenience is not the keyword for their visit. Have to plan my trip here for the next winter.

  15. Coron is so beautiful with those amazing beaches! I liked the idea of water shoes. Very practical helpful tips, only I wish I will be able to visit.

  16. This place sounds amazing. I love that it’s not so crowded with people, but I also love your practical tips such as sacrificing convenience. Overall, well-written post. I can tell you took good notes and delivered valuable travel tips.

  17. I never knew Coron was on my bucket list until now! lol. I’m going to be daydreaming about kayaking in those waters for AWHILE.

    1. Haha, I already have an overflowing bucket list myself, I keep adding new places as and when I see any.

  18. What a thorough post! It made me realise that, however beautiful these places are, I prefer my creature comforts. Thank you for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly!

  19. Awesome list – honestly maybe I live under a rock but I hadn’t heard much about the island until very recently!! Hopefully by the time I am able to get there its beauty will still have been preserved 🙂

  20. Judging from the beautiful pictures here, no wonder that it has been voted as the best island destination in the world several times in the last few years! Also since you’ve mentioned that it’s not too crowded compare to other places, it sounds like a perfect getaway destination for me. Thanks so much for all the throughly tips, specially #12. I’m prone to motion sickness :p

    1. Aww, then you better be prepared 🙂 We had rough seas on our way back and lot of people were sick!

  21. I’ve been to Coron few years ago and absolutely loved it! Yes I took the ferry to El Nino, it was a 9 hours journey but amazing, relaxing and with incredibles views (I saw a whale jumping out of the water). I didn’t have a padi at the time and it was a shame as I’ve herd there are many incredible wrecks to see underwater.

    1. 9 hours, wow! I took the fast ferry and it was only 4 hours and it was freezing inside, with no open deck seating! I also did not have PADI, I did a discovery dive, for non-certified enthusiasts 🙂

  22. Coron looks gorgeous! The water shoes thing is a good idea. This was a problem even on Gili Islands in Indonesia. Disembarking from the ferry does involve your feet or even your suitcases getting wet. Is the sea rough only in certain seasons? I would want to try to avoid rough sea for travel.

    1. The weather is quite unpredictable in the Philippines. Even though December – March is the dry season and the best time to travel, it can get rainy and rough even then.

  23. Gosh can’t get over how clear that water is! I know where I’m headed this Christmas. Also, I feel like the fact that it’s not as convenient to get to almost adds to its beauty. Makes you appreciate it more for sure!

    1. I agree, I am not the one for convenience either. I’d rather visit untouched, far off places for the beauty 🙂

  24. I could not agree more that Coron, indeed is the crown jewel of the province of Palawan. Part of the adventure is getting there. It’s tough and challenging but one will be surely rewarded with amazing experience. Coron is more laid back which is just the perfect place to forget your worries and just soak in whatever nature has to offer.

  25. Wow, what a fantastic place to visit! To be honest you sold me with just the first picture. Looks like some really beautiful beaches. Would love to try all the delicious seafood there as well.

    1. Unlike El Nido where the tour itineraries are fixed across operators, Coron’s tours don’t follow a fixed itinerary 🙂

  26. This is a great guide! Your photos are all so sharp and oh my goodness, the colour of the water! That alone makes me want to visit so badly. I’ll definitely reference this article when I decide to go 🙂 Really useful tips!

  27. Wow! Coron looks heavenly with those unspoilt beaches and turquoise waters. Perfect for unwinding and writing. I’ve been planning to travel to the Philippines for some time now and your post has totally convinced me!

  28. I loved all your tips, but especially the one for renting or bringing water shoes! So many people don’t think of it! All of these tips offers some amazing insights to know before you visit. Thank you!

    1. The water shoes are really important! You could hurt or worse, bitten, without them!

  29. Forwarding this to a friend who is planning to go in June for his honeymoon. It will definitely help him in keeping things in perspective. I liked the way how you have given such wonderful and honest tips.

  30. Wow this looks like my kind of place! We love exotic beaches and have never really looked at Coron, we are now googling it, thanks for all the info! Amazing place

  31. What a beautiful place, it looks like a fairy-tale! I am definitely adding this to my list of places to check out, thanks for the post!

  32. Looks like a perfect idyllic beach destination to relax. Is this the new Boracay of Philipines? Are they competing or complimenting each other?

    1. It’s nothing like Boracay Anu. Boracay is a lot more commercialised, crowded and happening. Coron, on the contrary, is lesser crowded, more idyllic and not really that ‘happening’ when it comes to vibe. It’s for true nature lovers who are willing to put up with some inconvenience to get to some of the prettiest places they’ll ever see! I will very soon write a post on Boracay vs Palawan, to help people understand the difference and pick the right place as per their choices 🙂

  33. Coron is really on my list of places to see in the Philippines. I just hope it maintains its authenticity and isn’t ruined by mass tourism, like what’s happened in Thailand. I think the scenery is stunning, and will bear in mind your advice before visiting!

    1. I hope so too Lisa, I am glad I got there already, you never know what’ll happen once mass tourism takes over 😉

  34. You know Medha,I’m very much toying with the idea of making the Philippines my long-term travel destination for this year and reading through this post you’ve done nothing to deter me from that haha. I would love to do an Island hop and your comment about things not being convenient – It’s SE Asia Nothing is convenient to get to – but when you do get there it’s spectacular 😀 – Ok I’m going this year!! (Quick stop in Dubai before thought 😛 )

    1. Haha, yes, a stopover in Dubai followed by a long term trip to The Philippines is actually a fantastic plan. If I could, I’d choose The Philippines as my long-term travel destination too!

  35. Wow, the photos of the water blew me out of the water. I would love to visit, but given how challenging it is to get there, it might take me a while. Hope it continues to remain untouched and not go the way of Boracay.

  36. Coron has already been made famous hanks to the instagrammers. Philippines has some of the best beaches of the world! I am happy to hear that it is not crowded. Hope it stays that way. Despite being a difficult place to get to, I am tempted to spend at least a week here. You have shared some really great tips which people do no generally share on instagram.

    1. Oh I wish I had a week to spare for just Coron 🙂 It really seems like you’re far away from the rest of the world, in some corner!

  37. Ohh I love the beaches and I would like to escape there in December when it’s so cold in Europe – it would be a dream coming true. I can imagine myself laying whole day there on the beach not moving. Looks really amazing!

  38. These photos are amazing! It looks like a lovely place to visit. I would especially like that it is off the beaten path and less crowded. Your practical advice for the trip is very useful.

  39. While I’ve been to Manila numerous times(primarily on work), I’m yet to really venture out of Luzon, owing to time pressures and the like. I’ve wanted to visit both Boracay and Palawan for some time now. Your tips and recommendations will come in handy when I make my way down to Palawan. Nice photographs.

    1. Hopefully Boracay will re-open much prettier and cleaner after the 6-month refurbishment. Palawan is gorgeous, you must visit if you’re in The Philippines!

  40. Ive never heard about Coron before but when I am looking at your photos I really just wanna book my flight! The blue water looks amazing! I am very jealous about that hammock! It looks so relaxing to be on it ! Thanks for recommendation!

  41. We were in El Nido in 2014 but never made it to Coron because my husband got a bad stomach flue! Coron is beautiful and no doubt we are going there one day and with your great tips everything will go smooth and easy!

  42. What a beautiful place! Reminds me of the Cook Islands. This has been super high on my list of beach destinations to visit, I hope to make it there soon!

  43. What a paradise! It’s no surprise that has been voted top island destination various times… The color of its water is unreal and its remote location makes it even more special! Plus, I guess the seafood is the freshest you could find 😀

  44. I think it’ll be interesting to see how things develop in Coron now that more and more people are learning about it. You shared some really great tips. I especially appreciate the ones about the waterproof bag and water shoes. When I was in Thailand I had to jump off a long boat and wade through the water. I timed it right with the waves, but the person after me didn’t and a wave came through and completely soaked their bag.

    1. Wow, I can imagine! No point getting your belongings wet. Waterproof bag and also water shoes are good investments when exploring a place like this.

  45. It sounds like most of the activities are water-based. Just as it should be with gorgeous water like the pictures you’ve shown here. I think I’d be boating or swimming the entire time. Is there snorkeling good, too? And is the water warm? Coron does seem like paradise… And I’ll take a chicken adobe meal, please!

    1. The water was the perfect temperature and plenty of snorkelling opportunities due to the clear waters and colourful corals!

  46. The Philippines is one of my favourite countries in the world. And, Coron is mind-blowingly beautiful. Palawan is such a great place to explore. Did you explore other parts too or just Coron?

    1. I also explored El Nido in Palawan. Unfortunately could not make it to Puerto Princessa.

  47. We have been planning to visit the Philippines this year and Coron will be a lovely addition to it. I loved that sea picture of green turquoise water. The beaches look really clean. Great pictures and post-Medha.

  48. Corona looks incredible! The colour of the water is unreal, I would love to try diving there! The food sounds delicious too, sizzling shrimp and squid would be on my menu for sure!

  49. Absolutely gorgeous. So sad that we missed the opportunity to visit Coron when we were in the Philippines two years ago. The pristine water, the beaches…heavenly. Love fresh seafood…right up my alley! Thanks for the tips on how to get there!!

  50. I can’t believe Coron was voted the best island destination in the world and I’d never heard of it! I actually don’t mind the lack of convenience. I’m totally willing to work and sacrifice for incredible views and new experiences!

  51. We definitely want to go to Coron for scuba diving. Great advice about brining a waterproof bag for island hopping. We island hopped across the Andaman Sea in Thailand and had to wade into shore from the ferry in Railay. We were able to carry our luggage on our head and keep it dry but any surf would have soaked the lot. A waterproof bag would have been much easier and safer.

    1. Waterproof bags and water shoes are a must! Luckily, they’re available for purchase right at the pier, when you’re boarding the ferry.

  52. It’s so sweet that you write ‘what to expect’ and then there are all these breathtaking pictures of Edenic places – what more could one expect?! Seriously, I totally have to visit Coron – maybe already next year. Will pin your post for that occasion.

  53. It’s good to know that there’s nothing much to do in Coron, and that the weather’s pretty unpredictable. But since it looks so beautiful I guess it would be totally worth it. I would definitely decide on the spot, and perhaps even one day in advance, whether to go to Coron or not to avoid disappointments and stressful moments. After all, it looks like this remote island is made for people to travel slowly, and to go there to unwind and relax, right?!

    1. Well, there are islands and lakes around the Coron Busuanga Island which can be explored 🙂 It’s not meant as much for relaxing as it is for exploring around and enjoying some activities I’d say 🙂

  54. First time reading about Coron and I am in love with the place. The beaches are so dream like. The color of water most fascinating. I just hope it doesn’t get too crowded.

    1. It’s not really that crowded at the moment. But you never know what happens in the future 🙂

  55. Palawan was not even on my radar – never mind the province of Coron. This would be a great winter getaway for us. Your tips are good and practical. A boat tour would definitely be something I would want to do. Fresh seafood is always a great draw for us. We are not big night life people, so a quiet place is just fine for us.

    1. If you love remote places with rugged and untouched nature, you’re going to love Coron 🙂

  56. Wow, Coron looks very pristine. I hope that it doesn’t deteriorate once more and more people will come. Yes, it’s getting a lot of buzz and I hope they don’t destroy it’s natural beauty. Btw, I am same, I also look at places on Instagram!

    1. Instagram has inspired me to visit some really amazing places around the world!

  57. The beaches in Coron look absolutely stunning. This is a great guide for what to expect for Coron and how to get around since it’s not quite as developed . The tips for bringing a drybag, sunscreen and water shoes on the boat tours are good too, bo need for sunburn or a cut to ruin your day in paradise

  58. Hello Medha,

    Such a nice blog, your picture collection is amazing, thanks for sharing these wonderful landscapes, I’m also following you, keep up the good work


  59. I’ve really been seeing quite a buzz about Coron lately, and I can see from your post why it’s so popular as one of the most beautiful island destinations in the world. The turquoise of the clear waters is almost unbelievable, just stunning, and against the lush greenery and striking rocky landscape. Would love to visit.

  60. Wow! The best island in the whole world – now that’s some reputation to live up to, and clearly Coron has done well there, considering it has won that title several times in the past few years! The Banana beach looks pretty awesome 🙂

    1. They have an Island Tour which lasts the whole day and they take you to 3 of the most gorgeous islands I’ve seen in my life. I’ll be writing my post about that, soon!

  61. Cool tips for Coron visits.. 🙂 Your photos makes me want to return to Coron. I was not able to visit some of those islands. 🙂 I think you have covered important points for a trip to Coron. I’d just like to add that you can now travel to Coron from Cebu. 🙂

  62. Remote and tricky to get to, beautiful beaches and waters, this place is begging for me to visit. Coron looks like paradise. I might need more than just a few days though, because I could chill in that hammock for a long time before getting bored. Thanks for the helpful article, now I will have a chance of actually getting to the island.

    1. I agree, you could actually spend a long time in a place like this. The only problem is, most of these gorgeous islands don’t have hotels or places to live in, they’re 1.5 hours away from the mainland by boat, and the mainland itself doesn’t have a lot to offer. If you rent a boat or take a private tour, it’s expensive and if you go with a group tour, you really don’t get as much as time as you’d like to spend in the loveliest of places.

  63. Wow! I can definitely see why this was voted the top island destination in the world. Absolutely beautiful. Are they able to handle tourism responsibly, I assume there is a big influx with this kind of quality tourism rating!

    1. Earlier, the focus was on Boracay and they did have a lot of tourism influx there, due to which they’re actually shutting the island down for 6 months to ‘rehabilitate’. In the meanwhile, they’ve shifted focus to Palawan. I hope they’re able to handle it responsibly there 🙂

  64. OMG that looks heavenly! I wonder if it would be better to go to El Nido for the ease of it, or Coron as its a bit more off the beaten path. Regardless, I’m sad I never made it to Palawan when I was in the Philippines!

  65. I like that Coron is more remote and tougher to get to than the other Palawan provinces. It will be my first choice to visit for that very reason. Thanks for this guide that taught me everything I need to know to plan my trip. I’ll stock up on the motion sickness tablets in preparation of the rough seas!

    1. I loved it too for that very reason 🙂 The more remote the place, the more untouched and beautiful it is bound to be.

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