Coron, Palawan / © Nikka Corsino / Two2Travel

Tips for your trips: Coron, Palawan

We’ve always believed Coron was an expensive destination, much the same way as El Nido, also in Palawan. But more than a year of being on the road has taught us to ditch hearsay and do what most of us hate: research.





Thankfully, that’s not too much to ask anymore with Google and with the countless independent travel accounts online that have all made us realize that Coron–or any other destination for that matter–could be as cheap as you would allow it.

So if YOU would allow us, we’re giving you a rough guide on the expenses you’re going to have in a typical three-day two-night stay in this island. One thing’s for sure: it doesn’t matter whether you spend an arm and a leg or go on a budget; Coron is worth your every penny.

coron map two2travel

How to get to Coron

Fly directly to Busuanga; from there, take a van from the airport to downtown Coron. From downtown Coron, spots are reachable by foot, by rented motorcycle, or your friendly neighborhood tricycle. You can fly to Busuanga via Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, or Zest Airways.

1. From Busuanga airport to Coron town proper: P150 per person per way

Travel time: 30 minutes
You may check with your hotel if they can arrange a van pickup for you (as well as return trip on your departure date). If you don’t have reservations yet, there are vans right outside the airport willing to take you in for the same price. The P150 fare is a standard in Coron.

2. Around Coron town proper: zero to P500

Coron’s town proper is where hotels and establishments are, so most probably it’s where you will be based as well, except if you’re staying in one of the nearby islands.

Coron, Palawan, Philippines | Two2Travel.com

The town proper rests at the foot of Mt. Tapyas, which explains the hilly terrain which people from Baguio will find familiar and easy to navigate.

You’ll find the town proper very convenient especially for emergency needs. There are at least two banks (BPI and Landbank), courier services, clinics, drugstores, souvenir shops, restaurants, a market, and hotels of every price range.

Tricycle rides go for P10 per person, though drivers would be happy to take just P15 for two people (but, as we always practice when traveling, do what little you can to help the small communities of the place you’re visiting, even if it means giving only the extra P5 for your trike ride).

If you want to have your own pace and go somewhere farther than your feet could take you without sweating it out, hire a motorcycle from one of the numerous rental shops in town. Boyet’s (contact number: 09282929884) is rather well written about, though we found transacting with the owner, who by this time you might have correctly guessed is named Boyet, a tad less straightforward than expected.

To cut the story short, don’t settle for anything less than you expected, whether it’s an automatic ignition or a scooter instead of a semi-automatic unit. Try to haggle with the price as well. We had rented one scooter on our first day for P400, from 4 PM to around 8 PM only. The next day, we rented an XRM unit for P500 from 8 PM to 11 AM the following day. You’ll also be shouldering the gas: one afternoon of touring the town could cost you about 1 liter at P56.

Coron, Palawan, Philippines | Two2Travel.com

Where to stay in Coron

Travel with Airbnb

Coron has accommodation options for all types of travelers, from the nitpicky to the extreme backpacker. Rates can go as high as P5,000 per night per room and as low as P300 per night per person for a dorm-type accommodation.

Mt. Tapyas Hotel, where we stayed, charges around P1,300 to P1,600 for two occupants in one room.

Most hotels are within the town proper so it’s not difficult to scout should you want to just walk in.

Other hotels and inns:

Rudy’s Place Lodge | KokosNuss | El Rio Y Mar | Divelink | Coron Hilltop View Resort | Coron Village Lodge | Asia Grand View Hotel | Centro Coron Bed and Breakfast | Islands View Inn | Princess of Coron | Coron Gateway Hotel and Suites | Sunz En Coron

What to do in Coron

Coron is an island off the coast of the bigger Busuanga Island in northern Palawan. Busuanga is where you land; Coron town is part of Busuanga island.

Join in daily tours and other groups; book thru your hotel; or do your own island hopping tour.

DSC_1893 copy

1. JOIN OTHER GROUPS

(Our most recommended. The most affordable option too if you’re a small group)

Coron, Palawan, Philippines | Two2Travel.com

We had availed of a day tour island hopping package via Coron Galeri [see: http://www.corongaleri.com.ph], one of several local tour operators in Coron.

Its bestselling tour–the same one we had–costs P650 each plus a P100-rental of snorkel gear, which is optional. The P650 per person fee already includes boat rental, your lunch, all entrance fees to the islands, and the services of a tour assistant. The tour we availed of took us to the following spots: Kayangan Lake, the Twin Peaks Reef, Atwayan Beach (where we had our lunch), a snorkeling spot that was off an unknown island that had the richest underwater environment we had seen all day; the CYC Beach, and the Twin Lagoon.

Coron, Palawan, Philippines | Two2Travel.com

Going this way is the best for travelers who come in pairs (like us) because we were grouped with others (who, like us, also came in pairs. We even had a male solo traveler in our group). There are other packages to choose from as well, including tours to Culion Island and Calauit. Click this link for a full list of their tours. Be sure to reserve a day in advance if you’re availing of their daily tours (their office is at the town proper and is fairly easy to find. Just ask for Coron Galeri or Mae Linsangan). Island hopping starts at about 8 AM and ends at about 4 PM.

2. BOOK A TOUR WITH YOUR HOTEL

(Most expensive; itinerary and food are set; but most convenient especially for the very busy among us)

Hotels offer package tours along with board and lodging, and while this isn’t exactly more expensive, it does tend to limit your options especially when it comes to food (imagine yourself having to eat something you don’t quite like for the next three days only because you’ve already paid for it).
Coron Village Lodge, for instance, charges more than P5,000 per person for a 3-day 2 night stay, including meals.

Most 3D2N packages also come with town tours at P500 per person, which we think is too expensive for a place that’s so close-knit you can practically walk from one spot to another and rent a trike to other far-off spots like Maquinit Hot Springs. In our case, we were really too tired from climbing Mt. Tapyas so we decided not to go to Maquinit Hotsprings afterward. If you availed of a town tour, though, you will have to go there after your climb (all packages follow this sequence). Though we thought taking a dip in the hot water could be nice after a long day, we thought we could do with pizza and beer instead. :)

3. DO YOUR OWN TOUR

(Recommended for big groups, but you will have to put together everything including your lunch)

Here is the breakdown of costs:
*Standard rate of boat rental: P1,500 for a whole day, good for up to 10 people
*Entrance fees to the islands (per person):
Kayangan Lake: P200
Twin Lagoon: P100
Atwayan Beach: P100
Siete Pecados: P100
Malcapuya Island: P150
Banana Island: P200*
Barracuda Lake: P100
Twin Peaks Reef: Free
CYC Island: Free

UPDATE (As of October 13, 2012)

Coron has reportedly come up with a one-time entrance fee of P250 for every tourist going on island hopping instead of the old system indicated above. Payments will be collected at the municipal treasury office with the appropriate receipt.

Aside from this, Coron has also decided to close some spots: Tangingi Beach, Twin Lagoons, Smith Point Beach, Kaliwantay Beach, Banol Beach 1 & 2, Atwayan Beach, Malwawoy Beach, & Skeleton Wreck. The areas covered by the P250 fee system are: Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, Twin Lagoons,  Beaches,  Caves (both above and underwater), Ship Wrecks, and  Coral Reefs. [See: Source 1 & Source 2]

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Since you’re doing your tour on your own, you will have to prepare your packed lunch as well. There are restaurants around town (though finding one that opens before 8 AM is another matter) and the market is nearby should you want to cook your own meal, but thinking about all that effort you would have to put on defeats the purpose of being on holiday, doesn’t it?

If you’re staying more than three days in Coron, spread out your island hopping destinations since a whole day is good for around five spots only. Islands located farther off, like Banana and Malcapuya, are 2 hours away from town. Other spots, such as Kayangan Lake, Atwayan Beach, CYC Beach, Twin Peaks Reef, Twin Lagoon, and Siete Pecados belong to the Coron Island Loop and are a short distance from one another. The first spot is usually within 15 to 30 minutes from downtown.

*You may opt to stay the night at Banana Island at around P1,000 per person per night (contact the owners at 09292082363). It’s 2 hours by boat from downtown Coron, and though we weren’t able to see the island firsthand, we’ve read about superlative accounts of its white sand beach and snorkeling spots. Electricity is scheduled though (can’t have too much of a good thing, eh?).

Where to eat in Coron

Island = cheap food. Don’t expect fine dining in Coron, otherwise you’d be disappointed.What it does have, however, is this.

Bistro Coron is rather popular for its Bistro Pizza, shown below, which has onions, tomatoes, mushroom, garlic, ground beef, and cheese. Their smallest–10 inches–costs P299, while bigger sizes cost P399 and P599. Bistro Coron is a bit on the steep side, with dishes amounting to an average of P300, but their menu is  very extensive. You can have lobster, cocktails, prawns, pasta, etcetera.

Bistro Coron, Coron, Palawan, Philippines
Looking for more pictures? We’ve prepared an e-book especially for that. We’ve included some essential details as well. You may download Part 2 of our Life’s a Beach Series featuring Coron here:

TWO2TRAVEL’S LIFE’S A BEACH SERIES
Coron
Bantayan

Two2Travel

Owen Ballesteros & Nikka Corsino are trigger-happy travelers from the Philippines. They both swear by the sharpness of Nikon and almost always carry a packet of instant coffee when traveling. Photography is their bread and butter, their passion, and sometimes the only thing that prevents them from killing each other. If you have offers of work, collaborations, or an endless supply of instant coffee, please drop them a message here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08899876766253143711 Ochi Bernadas

    Reading your blog makes me want to travel. I’ll save up for Coron once I get my new camera. Haha I love, love, love your site. It’s so neat and the photos, as usual, are breathtaking! :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

    Salamat Ochi! Go go go! We spent more or less 7k each lang including airfare, though maaga kasi kami nagbook kaya 1500 each RT na yon. Ganda dyan grabe! Better than Boracay :)

  • http://trialaland.weebly.com/ Trialaland

    Hi Two2Travel! :)

    We’re planning to go back to Coron and the original plan is to have our hotel arrange all the tours for us. Pero I’m thinking twice na kasi I just checked Corong Galeri and they offer the same packages for considerably lower prices. I’m just worried about the food. Okay ba food sa tours ng Corong Galeri? :) Sobrang okay kasi ‘yung food nung hotel na pag-stayan namin kaya I can’t decide pa.

    Thanks! :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

    Hi Tria!

    We checked your post on Coron. Cool! Comparing the food you had previously with the one offered by Coron Galeri though, the latter’s a lot simpler. But if your group naman is renting the whole boat from them, I think you can request for a buffet lunch and ask Mae Linsangan (the owner) if they could arrange a specific menu for you. Tingin ko naman they will agree. :)

    Thanks for visiting! :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15157635749367514242 Reiza

    Cool! My sisters and I are travelling to Coron in December, and this is just what we need. I love the e-book. You take amazing photos!

    Reiza
    http://www.wander-if-you-must.com/

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

      Thanks again Reiza! We miss Coron too. Hope to return there early next year. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10866523101373511927 Rochella Jose

    First, your pictures are beautiful! Second, i love how you write. I love E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G about your blog–the layout, the photo books, the topics, blahblah i’m #fangirling. And lastly, around 7k lang including the safari?? That’s amazing! And this post is really helpful because my bf and I are planning to go to Coron for our anniversary. More power to you, guys! :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

      That’s super nice of you! Thanks! :D If any of you is experienced in driving a motorbike, by all means go to Calauit! Vans are pretty expensive and frankly, the motorbike ride was so much fun. :) Happy anniversary to you both in advance and enjoy Coron! ~nikka

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07349079669214643497 Alina Co

    I love your blog! This is one of the best, most engaging travel blogs I’ve encountered so far. Keep on blogging!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

      Thank you Alina! We appreciate your kind words very much. Hope you stick with us! ~ Owen & Nikka

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08953923245832184090 Tiago Barcelos Vaz

    Hi guys ! Your blog is now on my favorites ! Nices photos, nice tips and cool experiences !
    Me and my wife are travelling for the first time to Philippines, we choose Coron for the first trip ! We booked an hotel for 6 nights in Coron town, but now I’m afraid that it could be too much time there. As we have our flights to and from Busuanga airport, we don’t have so much flexibility. I was wondering that maybe I could cancel my booking and try to stay in different places (Like Banana and Malcapuya islands), what do you suggest for a 6 nights trip in Busuanga ? Thank you so much in advance and keep up the good work here !! I will, absolutely, follow your blog ! Cheers from Portugal !!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

      Hello Tiago! Thank you so much for the kind words. :)

      Yes you probably are better off spending more nights away from the town proper. You can stay maybe one night downtown, then go to Calauit (post here: http://www.two2travel.com/2012/03/long-road-to-calauit-and-back.html) and stay there overnight, and then transfer to Banana Island. If you dive, Coron has the PH’s best wreck dive sites. You can also check out some higher-end resorts located in one of the islands: Sangat (http://www.sangat.com.ph) and Club Paradise (http://www.clubparadisepalawan.com). If you opt for either of them, you may forego staying at the town proper altogether except if you want to climb Mt. Tapyas and experience the Hot Springs. Biking to Calauit—70km one-way—is good if you want to rough it up, but make sure you go there in daylight. :)

      Hope you enjoy the Philippines! And might I add, Coron is a wonderful first stop! :)

      Nikka

  • Anonymous

    Let me guys give you some cautions about RWR Travel & Tours or better known as Raquel Wenceslao, the operator herself. Being recommended by someone, we let her arranged our tour. As one of the booking conditions, we paid the 50% of the total package and full payment upon our arrival. The price were quite expensive but it doesn’t matter as long as we get the quality services. But things were all disgusting!
    Accommodation- bad ambience.
    Services/ transfers/food – poor
    Destinations- we paid for all the entrances fees but she did not included all. We asked for a refund but she never entertained us anymore. She had all our money so that’s it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10990597087724099078 Sasa Yap
  • Anonymous

    hi, question please?.. what mode of payment do you guys use in coron, cash or credit? T_T

    Thanks!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00779572056259030202 Two2Travel

      Hi, we used mostly cash. There’s a bank & ATM (BPI) at the town proper if you run out of cash. Lots of establishments also accept card though. :)

    • Anonymous

      Thanks a lot!
      Thanks!
      Thanks!
      ^_~

  • Anonymous

    Hi! Planning to go there in a few weeks. Do you have any contact numbers of boat owners who offer P1500-rent or just a little higher than that? Based on inquiries, tour operators generally quote expensive rates (as high as 15k). I think we can save up if we contact the boatman directly. Will really appreciate your help. Many thanks!

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