As the plane descended over Coron ready to land, I could see why this was the perfect place for island hopping! The islands stretched as far as the eye could see and the water looked absolutely perfect. However, I had been told that all the boats leave Coron harbour for island hopping at the same time in the morning and follow a similar route, making the islands crowded and full of boats and people in bright coloured life jackets. I’ll be telling you about how to beat the crowds and how I did island hopping in Coron.
Where to Stay
Coron town itself I would say to avoid if you can. It is very busy, dirty and there is really nothing to see. I stayed a bit further out of the town at Casa Fidelis. This is a lovely family run boutique resort hotel, tucked away from the town and surrounded by lush greenery. Casa Fidelis also organise trips, including boat trips and they had the perfect itinerary for us to beat the crowds. After a 4:30am wake up call and a delicious breakfast, we were ready to go.
Which spots not to miss Island Hopping in Coron
All prices shown are for private boat tours only, if you get a group tour, the entrance fees to al of these places are included. And for reference, 200 peso is equal to about £3.
Entrance Fee: 300 Peso
We boarded our boat from a different spot to the main harbour and made our way to Kayangan Lake. It was amazing to be the first boat there, and after a short climb up the steps we were at the famous viewpoint overlooking all the incredible rock formations. Then another walk down and the lake is located on the other side. Here you can jump in and swim, snorkel and wander around the edges of the lake. Even without snorkelling, the water is so clear that you can see everything below. Later on in the day there is a lifeguard, but when we went there was no one in the life guard stand.
Luluyuan Lake (also called Barracuda Lake)
Entrance Fee: 200 Peso
This spot opens at 6:30, but no normal boat trip will take you there this early. With Casa Fidelis, again we were the first ones there. Also, at this lake you have to wear a life jacket, even if you are a confident swimmer. Again, you have to walk up and down some steps to get to this lake in between the rocks. Barracuda Lake is another incredible spot for swimming and snorkelling. It is a fresh water lake and very popular amongst free divers. As you swim down there are plenty of underwater cliffs and the underwater world is clear to see. Also there used to be barracudas here, hence the name, but now you are safe!
Entrance Fee 200 Peso
We had to get the drone up here it is really spectacular! Amongst all the huge rocks are stunning bright blue lagoons. Unfortunately there was a storm coming the day of our boat trip but it still looked beautiful from above. Also I read that there are more jellyfish here in April and May, but we didn’t see any luckily.
Coral Reef Garden
Entrance Fee 150 Peso
I love snorkelling and have been to some amazing spots around the world but this was great! So many tropical fish to see, we even found Nemo! Snorkelling equipment was provided but I always travel with my own snorkel, saves money renting them and means you don’t have to share a million other peoples mouthpiece.
Island Hopping in Coron – Best beaches
The first boat trip we did was mainly to see all the amazing rock formations, so we felt we still needed to explore some beaches around Coron. We chose a private boat tour leaving in the afternoon as the morning had been very cloudy. We booked the boat trip on the morning of our trip on the main road in Coron, so no need to plan ahead! From there we went straight to the main harbour and hopped on our boat for the afternoon. Every boat trip you will have to wear your life jacket as you leave the harbour, but you can remove it once you are out of sight of the coast guard! There are many beaches to choose from, but we chose the ones that we were told were the least busy. Also bear in mind that at certain times of the year there will be no sand banks! We made the mistake of not realising and of course we were not told when we booked and specifically asked can we see the sandbank island, that there would be no sand bank. It was still amazing to see, but rather than walking on a sand bank you walk in up to 1 metre of water instead!
Bulog Dos Island
Entrance Fee: 200 Peso
This was one of my favourite islands. It was completely empty of people even in the afternoon, and even though it’s one of the smallest, it is just a lovely spot! There is also a spot that looks as though it would be a sand bank at a different time of year, as the sand stretches quite far out from the island.
Entrance fee: 200 Peso
This is the island where there was meant to be an incredible long sandbank! Unfortunately for us there was no sandbank, but it was still amazing to walk so far out into the sea and still be standing on the sand, even if we were up to hallway submerged in the water. It’s again a great place to snorkel as the water is so clear, we saw lots of schools of fish here.
Entrance Fee: 250 Peso
This island is one of the larger islands, and even has a whole basketball court amongst the palm trees, a great drone spot! The boats all anchor on the non sandy side of the island so nice you walk over to the beach area, it’s perfect to jump in and swim. This was one of the busier islands, however, so I would recommend going earlier rather than later.
Best Time of Year to Go to Coron
The dry season is from October to mid-June, but the rainy season sometimes starts early and we had some very stormy rainy days even in May.
How to get to Coron
We flew to Coron from Siargao, and as we booked late our flight had to go via Manila and took a very long time for what could have been a much quicker journey! The flights sell out fast so make sure to book well in advance.
Also most internal flights in the Philipines, you are only allowed 10kg of luggage, so make sure to but extra kilos online first if you need them, as I discovered, when you get to the airport the extra kilos get quite expensive!
To get to El Nido, there is a 4 hour fast fery that leaves from Coron ferry port, which is a separate area to the main harbour. I booked my tickets beforehand HERE . You can also go into most of the boat company shops and buy your ferry ticket there. It costs 1,700 Peso which is approximately 30 Euro or 27 Pounds.
How to Get around Coron
We hired a scooter to get around the island, as this is the cheapest option if you want to explore and get out of Coron Town. There also no pavements in Coron, so the easiest way to not get run over is to join the scooters! Otherwise there are also plenty of tricycles if you need to get around without a scooter.
Scooter rental cost: 400 Peso per day including helmets (About £6)
Where to Eat
If you like pancakes there is only one place – Island Brasserie has the best pancakes, and they are literally the size of a cake. They also do eggs and it’s cheap.
If you are craving pizza, this is the perfect place. Make sure to reserve a table as it gets very busy, but its worth it, great pizza and actually very cheap too!
For the only place with good wifi head to Coffee Kong! They have great smoothies and cakes.
Want to try some Filipino Food?
Chicken Abodo – is the most famous Filipino dish, basically marinated chicken.
Balut – this is the most common street food snack. It is a duck embryo, I didn’t try it myself but it’s a boiled duck embryo served with a splash of vinegar.
Best budget place to Stay
Some of my friends stayed here, and although it is in the centre of Coron Town, they had a great time. With a great rooftop terrace with sunset views, a cinema room, and amazing wifi, we even considered heading here to use the internet one day, as we had no service elsewhere.