What to do in Coron in 3 days

I fell in love with Coron through Instagram (that is not uncommon with me) when I saw a picture of Kayangan Lake. The crystal clear blue waters amidst the jagged limestone cliffs and gorgeous summer blue skies are still etched in my memory and I was glad to finally make it to the spot from where such stunning pictures floating on Instagram have been taken.

Coron is remote- it has won accolades for being the most beautiful island in the world yet it is not as touristy as most places with such intensely beautiful landscapes are. The beauty remains untouched while the tourists visit more accessible and easier-to-explore islands in The Philippines such as El Nido, Puerto Princessa, Cebu, Siargao and Boracay (yes, Boracay is set to reopen shortly after its rehabilitation). Most visitors are either nature and diving enthusiasts (the islands are famous for shipwreck diving sites) or the local tourists from other parts of the country.

It is not the most convenient island to get to, with limited flight & ferry connections and neither are most parts of the archipelago developed. You're likely to arrive at Busuanga Island, where the only airport in Coron is located and also where the ferry from El Nido will take you. Be prepared to experience some of the most amazing sights in the next few days. If you're wondering what to do in Coron, here's a detailed guide/itinerary for 3 days.

Read here about Everything you need to know before visiting Coron.


What to do in Coron

 

Day 1: Explore Busuanga Island

What to do in Coron

Most ferries and flights arrive midday and since the boat tours and day trips depart early morning, you will have to spend this day exploring Busuanga Island itself. You can either choose to stay in one of the many hotels on this island or if you're looking for a completely secluded retreat, Balinsasayaw Resort is a budget property located on an island off Busuanga, that can be reached in 10 min by boat from Coron Town.

However, I preferred to stay on the main island (in the town centre) itself so as to have easy access to several restaurants and boat tours. The most stunning lakes and beaches are, unfortunately, not on the main island itself. However, if you're looking to sunbathe and relax on a white sandy beach, head to Cabo Beach or Banol Beach. There aren't any bars or restaurants on these beaches so make sure to carry a picnic. There is, however, a small store with snacks and coconut water. You could rent a tricycle (be prepared for a bumpy ride) to get to these beaches and it is advisable to ask them to wait for you because you may not get another one to take you back. You do have wooden beach shacks to provide shade in case it gets too sunny. There is a small fee to enter the beach and there are no sunbeds or umbrellas, so carry a hat and sunblock if you wish to swim or sit on the sand.

In the afternoon, you can head to Maquinit Hot Springs to take a dip in the saltwater hot springs heated by a volcano. Beware, the water is blistering hot (at 40 degrees C) so if hot water is not your thing, you might want to skip it altogether or visit later at night (it is open until 8 pm), when it gets cool outside. Although it is one of the top things to do in Busuanga, I was not really impressed and might as well have skipped it altogether. However, I did see a lot of people relaxing and enjoying a dip in the pool.

What to do in Coron
Maquinit Hot Springs, Coron

In the evening, you might want to consider hiking 721 steps to the top of Mt Tapayas to enjoy some amazing sunset views. It is not really a mountain, considering the height is only 210 meters, however, it looms over Coron Town as it is the only hill in the area, surrounded by a flat terrain, making it very distinct in its presence. The steps, although a lot, are relatively easier to clumb, with several benches along the way for you to relax. If you're not in a great shape, give yourself at least an hour to do this arduous climb but once you get to the viewing platform, whether it is during sunset or any other time of the day, the views of the town, the coast, the far-off islands and the colourful boats crowding the sea are absolutely worth it.

At night, I highly recommend you to go for the Firefly and Plankton Tour, one of the most unique and stunning experiences you will find in Coron. Departing shortly after sunset, a boat will first take you to an overwater restaurant for an early dinner. You sit on a wooden platform in the middle of the ocean, enjoying some really fresh and delicious Filipino food, watching the darkness fall around you. After about an hour, you will embark on a boat to the middle of the mangrove forests.

What to do in Coron
Firefly and Plankton Tour, Coron

You will see the glittering fireflies in the trees, amidst complete silence as the boatman and guide explain the phenomenon behind their glow. In pitch darkness and tranquillity, these beautiful creatures will light up the trees. What I, however, found more intriguing, were the bioluminescent plankton in the water. Each one on the boat was handed a wooden log to disturb the calm waters and watch the plankton light up into thousands of green and blue twinkling lights. The experience was truly magical!


What to do in Coron

 

Day 2 - Ultimate Island Hopping Tour (to Kayangan Lake)

Unlike El Nido, the island hopping tours offered in Coron can differ from one operator to another in terms of its inclusions. Alternatively, you can do a private tour and choose the islands you wish to visit.

I carefully compared the group tours being offered by various operators and selected one that included a visit to both Kayangan and Barracuda Lakes. To read more about this tour, here's my post on How to choose your Island Hopping Tour in Coron (part 1).

Kayangan Lake has been declared as the lake with the clearest waters in Asia. Not only is the lake an absolute beauty, but the walk to the lake also offers some of the best views you'll ever see. The tour takes you to several white sandy beaches, lakes and snorkelling sites, one of which is a coral garden and another which has a shipwreck. All in all, this tour is a must in Coron.

Visiting Coron
View from the top of Kayangan Lake's viewing platform

This tour departs at about 8.30 am from Coron Town and returns at about 6 pm.


What to do in Coron

 

Day 3: Coron Island Escapade Tour

I had almost missed going on this tour because I had heard that the trip to the islands takes about 1.5 hours on a boat and I wasn't sure if I was up for that. However, I did board a boat at the last minute and I could not have been more thankful because this tour takes you to islands that will make you gasp in admiration. Virgin beaches with extremely eye-pleasing blue waters, fine white sand and immensely lovely landscapes are what you'll experience on this trip. True, the journey takes really long but the trip is worth it.

What to do in Coron

On this trip, you will visit three insanely incredible islands - Bulog Dos, Banana Island and Malcapuya. You can read more about this Island Hopping Tour in Coron (part 2).

Alternatively, if you have had enough of swimming, beaches, and water-related activities, you can choose to go for a wildlife safari to Calauit Safari Park. This tour usually departs before sunrise and takes you to a safari park where you can see animals from Africa such as giraffes and zebras and also some exotic, endangered animal species of Palawan.

76 thoughts on “What to do in Coron in 3 days”

  1. Coron sounds fantastic. I’m not much of a beach fan but the hotsprings look amazing and how about those fireflies?! It really does sound like the perfect place to relax though – definitely one for the Phillipine bucket list! Thanks for the inspo!

  2. Coron looks like such a lovely place. There are so many interesting places. My absolute favorite has to be the firefly and plankton tour. Must be such a unique experience.

    1. Although they do the firefly and plankton tour in several other places across the world, this was my first and I was in awe!

  3. I only went to Puerto Princesa when I was in Palawan but Coron has always been my dream along with El Nido! That hot spring looks like something my family will enjoy!

  4. I was recently thinking about the visit of the Philippines and Coron island is definitely coming to my list. Thanks for these practical tips. It’s a real paradise out there…

    1. Palawan is gorgeous and El Nido, as well as Coron, are the two best provinces to visit in Palawan. You’ll love The Philippines x

  5. Maquinit Hot Springs looks right up my alley! I have never been to a saltwater hot spring but plenty of freshwater ones. Looks like Coron has plenty of sites to see. I’d probably need 5 days!

  6. Hey Medha,

    you got me at remote 🙂

    I’ve wanted to visit the Philipines for quite some time and you’ve just given me yet another reason to hurry with my travels to the archipelago.

    Cheers and happy travels!

  7. Kayangan Lake is stunning, wow! No wonder you fell in love when you first saw it. I think I’m in love with Coron too already just looking at your beautiful photos. I’m actually planning to do an extensive SE Asia trip beginning of next year so definitely bookmarking this for my trip planning!

  8. Whoa! That looks just splendid. Totally my kinda place that’s pure, pristine and non-touristy! As I always say, Philippines is so blessed by mother nature’s bounty. I hope I get to visit Philippines on a long trip.
    Thanks for the tip on whether to stay in mainland with some facilities or more beautiful places with no facilities. Its a rather difficult decision I guess!

    1. Mainland is well connected, with lot of eating out options, boat tours, etc. The remote (private) island resorts are for people who want to be more laid back I guess 🙂

  9. Such incredible photos! I’ve been planning my dream trip to the Philippines and Coron is high on the list. That water looks amazing.

  10. Wow, it looks like such a stunning island. I can see how you might fall in love with this place on instagram! The firefly & planton tour sounds so magical! I saw the glowing waters in the Gili islands years ago and it always fascinated me.

    1. Wow, I didn’t know you could see bioluminescent plankton on the Gilis. I would’ve loved that, I was there last year!

  11. Coron looks wonderful and very unspoilt. I don’t know the Philippines at all, but I’d heard that some of the islands had become quite overwhelmed by tourism so it’s lovely to read about somewhere that isn’t!

    1. Boracay was one of those islands and they had to shut it down for 6 months to clean it up! Coron, fortunately, is a little remote and not easy to get to, so you don’t see a lot of tourists there yet.

  12. Harder to get places gets to keep their beauty because people have to work to get there. I like that. Only the dedicated will get to enjoy the beauty. Coron looks and sounds like a place I definitely want to make the effort to visit. The restaurant in the middle of the ocean and the peaceful ride convinced me!

  13. I know that the Philippines has many beautiful islands and heard the name of a handful from friends. But never knew about this Coron. The azure waters look splendid and the hot-springs sound a lot of fun.

  14. The island looks amazing, and it’s actually good that it isn’t as widely know as a tourist location, because then the natural beauty might be preserved for longer, because that beauty needs to be preserved for future generations.

  15. As you rightly put it Coron is remote. We were planning a trip to the Philippines and we had not even heard of this place. The right post for me at the right time. The place looks beautiful. And there is so much to do!

  16. Must say posts like these make us aware of places less seen and know and Coron surely is one. Live the whole feel of the place and so much to do and see. Beautiful beaches and lush green landscape what more can you ask for. The food must be as great I’m sure. Overall a great place and I will visit if I am around thanks for sharing coron with the world.

    1. The Plankton Tour was a great find, I’ve always wanted to do it but it’s hard to find a lot of places that offer it.

  17. My jaw is wide open after looking at your incredible photos! Kagayan Lake is simply stunning, and we’re planning on visiting next year. I hope to see Coron before it gets spoiled like Boracay, or worse yet, the Thai islands! I’m a spa and wellness girl, so it’s such a shame to read that you weren’t impressed with the hot springs. I hope if we do go next year, I’ll be more keen to stay in that divine hot water! Stunning photos as always Medha!

    1. I didn’t like the hot springs Lisa but that’s just me – I usually can’t survive in saunas either so I’m pretty sure if you’re a spa and wellness person and like jacuzzis, saunas and steam, you’ll probably really like the hot springs too. I felt like it was too hot when it was already so hot outside!

  18. Coron definitely is a new pick for Philippines. I have not visited the country so far but after reading about this beautiful place, would like to do it soon. Seems like a lot can be done in three days in Coron, and I love the idea of Island hopping. We were hoping to do it in Thailand but it was unavailable due to bad weather. While here, would also be curious to explore the wildlife safari to Calauit Safari Park.

  19. WOW This place looks so beautiful and you’ve put together a great guide of things to do. The view from the Kayangan Lake viewing platform looks fantastic, that’s definitely something I’d like to do. The hot springs looks great as well, so I’m wondering why you included it but didn’t actually like it??

  20. I will eventually make it to the Philippines and Coron. I like exploring places that are remote enough not to be overrun with tourists. The hot springs sound amazing but not until the temperatures cool down. But I’ve been looking for a destination with bioluminescent plankton – how cool!

    1. I wanted to take the plankton tour in the Maldives but could not. When I heard about it in Coron, I jumped at the opportunity!

  21. I haven’t been to Philippines yet but Coron island is one of the main reasons why I want to go to the country. I feel it is really beautiful with so many islands scattered in the region. I agree when I have researched I have found out that it is not easy to reach Coron Island so as you said maybe I have to reach Busuanga airport for going to Coron Island. I liked the ideas to how to spend couple of days in the island. I’m sure it will be very useful for me when I visit Philippines.

  22. Wow, how beautiful is Coron?! And that view from the Kayangan Lake’s viewing platform is just insane! I loooove hot springs, so that would be amazing after a few hours of exploring.
    The Philippines has been on the news quite a bit because of plastic pollution and other environmental issues largely due to tourism, and I’m wondering if Coron was affected at all?

    1. It was mostly about Boracay that was a victim of mass tourism. However, they shut the island down for 6 months to clean it up and that, I believe, would’ve sorted the issue for the time being. They just need to ensure certain rules are in place, for the future.

  23. What a beautiful looking post! I wish I was in Coron today versus the grey UK I see out of my window today. Look at that gorgeous clear water. I’ll be honest, before your post I didn’t actually know where Coron was, but now I’ve starred it on my map as a place to visit. Thank you for sharing an inspiring post.

  24. I normally have the same problem – I fall in love with places on Instagram. In this case, I can totally see why this place won accolades! It’s gorgeous.

  25. I can see, why Coron has won accolades. It seems like a little piece of paradise. Such a beautiful place and the best of all is that obviously mass tourism is not existing there. Especially the Coron Island Escapade Tour seems to be truly a highlight as I can see from your photo and as you describe it. I guess this is definitely worth the 1.5 hour trip to there. But I am sure my highlight would be the Firefly and Plankton Tour, this sounds truly like a unique beautiful experience!

  26. Loved all the blues and transparent waters. I had not even heard of it but I guessed it right… another tropical paradise from the Philippines!
    great images as usual…

  27. Coron looks so beautiful. That clear water makes me want to head there for Scuba already. Add to that the mystical fireflies around the water. And also, the hot springs. You got me sold on this place.

  28. I spent nearly two weeks in Coron. The diving is really spectacular with many dive sites around Coron. And I only really recommend a private tour for visiting Twin Lagoon and Kayangan Lake. I did both a group and private tour and private is much, much better. You can almost entirely avoid the tour crowds that descend on these places.

    1. I would’ve loved to do it too (private tour) if I wasn’t travelling solo. For a group of friends, it’s a perfect choice.

  29. Oh, I don’t have the impression that three days are enough for this piece of paradise…. I’d love to do the plankton tour since I missed it in Cambodia. And the island trips must be wonderful, too. Great tips for three days….or more 😉

    1. If you love water-related activities, you can certainly spend more time in Coron. It is, however, not one of those ‘relax in a beach resort’ type of destinations!

  30. I’m glad to read that Coron isn’t as touristy as some other Philippine islands yet. I think I must try to visit before that changes. The view from Kayangan Lake’s viewing platform is to die for. However, I’m not sure if I would want to go on an “African” safari in Asia!

    1. Haha, I hear you. I skipped it as well, although some people might see it as a good change from water-related activities. Especially those who have never been on an African safari 😉

  31. So sad I missed visiting Coron while in the Philippines. Such natural beauty. The hot springs and see glittering fireflies on a tour would be amazing. Love that you have highlighted much more than just beach activities. Safari tours and hiking add much more to the experience. Great post and hope to get back to the Philippines soon.

    1. The Philippines have so much to offer, I only managed to explore a bit of Palawan (El Nido and Coron) and Boracay on my first trip. I plan to return and spend a whole week at Cebu next time.

  32. You have unveiled another beautiful gem of the Philippines. Coron is another of the many paradises of the country. Always amazed at the sheer number of gorgeous places in the Philippines. The Fireflies and Plankton tour looks really amazing.

  33. You made me miss the Philippines badly! I was in Coron last year and it is indeed a breathtaking destination. I also loved the Kayangan Lake – wasn’t it cool to swim in fresh water surrounded by salted water? 🙂 Unfortunately, we didn’t get to climb Mt Tapayas, but I have to agree with you that the lake tour is a must!

  34. What did we ever do before Instagram? I’ve also been inspired by destinations I’ve found on the platform and now I’ve been inspired to visit Coron. I’d never heard of it before so thank you for sharing your experience. There’s so much I’d like to do there but I think the firefly and plankton tour top the list.

  35. Your description of the fireflies and plankton tour does sound magical — I would love to experience that as well. I love the beautiful colors of the water in all of your photos, and being able to enjoy so many sites without too many tourists would be heavenly.

    1. I haven’t been to Halong Bay but I’d love to go someday. The views from the platform while walking towards Kayangan Lake were definitely unparalleled!

  36. What a great alternative to Boracay. I’d love to spend three days in Coron, and the fact that it’s a bit remote makes it even more appealing. It would be tough to leave that Kayangan Lake’s viewing platform. Wow!

    1. Coron is a complete contrast to Boracay. I went to both and Boracay was more for people who wanted to relax and enjoy some water activities, nightlife and parties. Coron was so much more rugged and remote!

  37. I completely missed trying the Coron Island Escapade Tour when we were there. It sounds amazing and glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed it. 🙂 Kayangan Lake was closed when we were there and I’m really hoping to go back just to see it! 😀

  38. Oh wow, the views of Coron are beautiful, I could happly explore andstay in this part of the Philippines for a while. I love to do island hopping when I am there but those waters in the photos wants to make me stay here for a while. Stunning.

  39. You had me at snorkeling around a shipwreck. Or maybe it was the coral reef? Or maybe it was the chance to do both on the same day. Whichever, Coron sounds likes a slice of heaven. 40-degree hot springs are my idea of a good time, as long as I remember to pack enough water. And without having to deal with large crowds of tourists, I’m ready to pack my bags and visit yesterday! Thanks for sharing.

    1. The reef garden was beautiful and the fact that you don’t need to dive to see it, it’s right next to the surface of the water, even snorkelling can give you such amazing views of the colourful reef, is what makes the experience special.

  40. The Philippines have been pushing influencer marketing pretty hard these last couple of years so, like you, I’ve seen a LOT of content on instagram, and can appreciate the sheer beauty of the coastline beaches on display. Coron looks like a particularly attractiv location with those beautiful vivid waters and great base for island hopping. I didn’t know there were also hot springs in the area, love the look of Maquinit.

    1. Coron has what I call rugged, untouched beauty! It is underdeveloped and not easily accessible. Long and hard boat rides are required to get you to some of the most beautiful spots! But it’s all so worth it.

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