If Coron isn’t already on your Bucket List, then get a pen ready! You can consider Coron to be a smaller, quieter, and just as pristine version of El Nido. Just like its neighbor, Coron has natural wonders that defy logic and make you question reality. Swim through underwater mountains, visit hidden lagoons, snorkel over otherworldly reefs, lounge on baby powder sand beaches- the adventures never stop.
As the north of Palawan has only recently made its debut on the traveler radar, you can consider everything beyond El Nido (Coron especially) as relatively undiscovered. What used to be a sleepy fishing town is slowly waking up to welcome tourists to explore. This means that the adventures on Coron are less crowded, less expensive, and less spoiled than almost every other island area you may have visited in South East Asia. Before the world catches on and Coron pops up on ‘Top 10’ lists all over the world, come have a taste of paradise.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Coron:
1. Coron Bay
Coron Bay is where all the magic happens. This breathtaking maze of deep blue water winds around tall limestone cliffs that remind you of the movie ‘Avatar’- it almost doesn’t seem real.
There are multiple shipwrecks in the bay that have encouraged the growth of natural reefs. These reefs and the wrecked ships make ideal dive and snorkel spots.
You can sign up for Island Tours that take you through Coron Bay while stopping at secret inlets, guiding you to the best swim spots, and visiting viewpoints that give you full perspective of the bay.
2. Kingfisher Park
You’re going to do a lot of beach lounging and snorkeling in Coron, so why not switch it up for a day?
Kingfisher Park is a mangrove and bird haven with tons of natural life to investigate. There are vegetation and animal species here that are specifically endemic to Palawan; in other words, you can only see them here!
There are a few activities you can take part in including The Mount Lunes Santo Trek and the Starry-starry night Tour. But the most popular activity at Kingfisher Park is to kayak around the mangroves to get a closer look at the wildlife both in the mangroves and under your boat.
Ask a local tour guide about all of the above and he’ll sort you out.
3. Underwater Mountains in Barracuda Lake
Not only are these underwater rock formations totally mysterious but also, they are set in an inland lake instead of off the coast with the rest of the crazy rock formations. Just when you thought Coron couldn’t get more alien, it goes and does this.
Barracuda Lake is an incredible dive spot where you’ll whiz around the underwater mountains like you’re peter pan, swim through layers of salt and freshwater that are clearly distinct, and hit warm patches where the water can reach nearly 40 degrees Celsius.
There is no other dive spot like this in the world, so take advantage while you’re here.
4. Banana Island
Want to get romantic? Banana Island offers tons of romance nooks to cuddle up with your sweetheart.
Cozy next to each other in an isolated bungalow hovering over the water without another soul in sight; have your boo gently push you on the swing hanging from an old tree as your feet dangle into the water; or snorkel hand-in-hand and find little treasures for each other in the reefs.
After you are pumped full of dopamine and love hormones, sit on the shore and watch the sun go down. Now, that’s romance.
5. Bulog Island
If you’re ready to make all of your friends and family extremely jealous, then proceed to Bulog Island. The sand is perfectly powdery and white, the water is a beautiful ombre that fades from a clear crystal to a bright turquoise, and the scenery is what Instagram dreams are made of.
When the tide is low, a fresh sandbar appears where you can take those coveted jumping photos that make you look like your floating in the middle of the ocean.
And, if that wasn’t enough, the way the catamarans line up on the beach looks like something out of National Geographic.
Bulog Island is a must-see destination while visiting Coron.
6. Wreck Dive in Busuanga Island
Just west of Coron Island is Basuanga Island that is home to an underwater wonder that divers just can’t get enough of.
In 1944, dozens of WWI Japanese ships were hit in an aerial attack, sinking their ships right off the coast of Busuanga Island. Here is where these massive ships found their final resting place.
Plenty of dive shops offer these wreck dives where you can swim inside and around the ships, which are now covered in colorful reefs and eerie underwater moss. It’s an adrenaline-pumping dive that is worth the hour or so boat ride to the site.
7. Banol Beach
Banol Beach is a small, idyllic white sand strip perfect for a day of tanning and splashing about in the cool water.
Rather than reggae bars and guesthouses, you have jungle forests and pre-packed picnics. Pack a bag full of snacks, beers, and water to make it an event.
The beach is usually very quiet, which means there is more space for you and your photo opportunities. No matter if you’re working with a smartphone or a professional camera, every shot turns out super Instagram-worthy.
Backpackers are usually on a budget and have to settle for painfully beautiful shacks on the beach. Well, Coron is stepping up the budget dinner views with a torturously gorgeous high-rise view of the bay that captures sunset perfectly. Rough life, right?
Vegetarians and Carnivores will be treated to dishes starting at Php 120 or $2.50 USD. Levine’s is the go-to place to try various kinds of sisig that will leave you wanting more. From tofu sisig to beef sisig and even octopus sisig- it’s a culinary adventure.
9. Maquinit Hot Springs
Can you handle super hot bath temperatures? Take the plunge into 39 to 40 degrees Celsius hot springs in Coron.
The trick is to submerge your whole body at once and don’t move a muscle! After a minute or so, your body will start to adapt and you will begin to melt into the experience.
Visit the hot springs at night when the temperatures in the air start to drop. This makes for a more pleasant experience. Not only that, but Maquinit Hot Springs for sunset is a pretty spectacular experience that gives way to twinkling stars and a bright moon against the dark sky. It just can’t be beat.
10. Hike Mt. Tapyas
You’ll catch glimpses of Mt. Tapyas while you’re out on the boats in Coron Bay and might wonder what’s going on up there. You can find out if you’re willing to climb a set of stairs that stretches 210-meters into the clouds.
As you ascend, you’ll pass plenty of fatigued travelers still with a smile on their face as each step gives you an even more gorgeous view of the island.
At the top of Mt. Tapya is a huge Christian cross that someone has actually been determined enough to carry up the mountain!
The final view gives you an unprecedented glimpse down on to small villages, Coron bay, and the layout of the islands that surrounds it. Totally worth the hike, just bring water!
11. Coral Garden
For the more experienced divers, this site offers depths of 40-meters that are totally surrounded by protected reef life. Better yet, visibility can reach up to an astounding 80-feet, offering the most crystal clear dive experience you may have ever had. You’ll need your Advanced Open Water certification to come here, but luckily, there are plenty of dive shops in Coron to help you sort that out.
Coral Garden is home to rich biodiversity. Expect to see colorful anemones, clown fish and brightly colored reef fish by the hundreds.
If you haven’t completed your Advanced Open Water course, then bring a snorkel and you’ll get some great views from the surface.
12. Siete Pecados
If you’re looking to become one with schools of fish, this is the dive site for you. Literally translated, Siete Pecados means ‘the fish site’ with huge schools of tropical fish, rich corals teeming with creatures, and bright reefs.
The best way to visit Siete Pecados is to hire a private boat. Make this snorkel trip your first adventure of the day so that you can avoid the heat and the crowds.
Ask your tour guide to bring some fish food along and you’ll make lots of underwater friends.
13. Swim in the Twin Lagoons
Also called the “hidden lagoons”, the Twin Lagoons offer a one-of-a-kind experience. The lagoons are essentially two small lakes that have been created inside limestone cliffs and are fed by the turquoise ocean water nearby.
When the tide is low, the surface of the water lays below a beautiful limestone archway, where you can swim through to the other lagoon.
As you swim through the water, you’ll pass through warm spots and cold spots that just add to the strangely wonderful experience.
14. Skeleton Reef
You have probably never been scuba diving in a more beautiful reef.
Skeleton Reef is home to a sunken Chinese fishing vessel that has stimulated that growth and development of an amazing reef. Jammed packed of brightly colored corals, blue and red clams the size of a burrito, and big schools of black and white striped fish that aren’t afraid to swim around with you- prepare yourselves for the snorkel session of your life all cordoned off in one small lagoon.
15. Swim in Lake Kayangan
That’s enough swimming off the shore; now it’s time to take your water adventures inland. Imagine Coron Bay if it was in the middle of the forest. That is exactly what to expect with Lake Kayangan.
Put on some comfy shoes and set off on the 15-minute hike up approximately 300 stairs. The hike takes a bit of effort but the lush forest scenery will certainly help make the journey more enjoyable.
The lake is gorgeous with a shore that you can wade into. From up high, it’s easy to see where the lake suddenly drops off into a deeper swimming pool. With 70% freshwater and 30% salt water, this lake is believed to be inhabited by (nice) spiritual beings and thus, is a spot where locals perform spiritual rituals.