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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.