A fantastic base for adventure, island hopping and underwater enthusiasts, Coron will have something to offer to even the pickiest tourist. We spent 4 days exploring this little slice of paradise in the Philippines and if you are wondering about the things to do in Coron, I will give you my top 5 experiences right here.
1. Coron Island Hopping
The best way to experience the best of Coron is by doing island hopping. Avoid the letter tours and choose a private tour provider (we went with Red Carabao) and see the beautiful islands undisturbed by masses of tourists. We paid PHP 8000 ($158) per person for a 2D1N tour. The tour included all food, drinks, entrance fees and more and it was really worth the money. We were only a handful of people on board and it was an experience I would definitely do again.
On the first day of the tour, we saw Barracuda Lake, Twin Lagoon and Skeleton Wreck. Afterwards, we sailed off to the private beach and unpacked our stuff. We kayaked, swam, snorkelled and enjoyed a beautiful sunset with new friends by the bonfire.
On the second day, we woke up to a yummy breakfast, ground our own coffee and got ready for a new adventure on the sea. The first on the list was Malcapuya Island, Ditaytayan Island and finally ending the tour with Bulog Dos. It was just the most amazing experience and I definitely recommend everyone to do it!
I wrote about our Coron island hopping tour in more detail here.
2. Hike Mt. Tapyas for sunset
Mount Tapyas offers the most beautiful views in Coron Town, Busuanga. The hike to the top is not for the faint-hearted though, as you need to climb 720 steps to get to the top. The trail and stairs are well maintained and there are plenty of resting stops on the way. If you plan on hiking for sunset, then make sure you start your ascend at least an hour before. It takes around 45 minutes to climb Mt. Tapyas and the views of rolling hills and the sun setting behind them will make this hike well worth the effort.
Good to know: Do not underestimate this hike. Bring plenty of cold water and a small towel. Everyone, including us, was drenched in sweat when reaching the top.
3. Go wreck diving
There are lots of dive shops in Coron and our biggest regret was that we didn’t book our trip to Coron for one extra day. The dive sites in Coron look really cool and you can expect a lot of good quality wreck diving. If you will opt for this, then try and book your dive 2 days in advance. We couldn’t find a single dive shop that would take us the next day and were quite disappointed that we didn’t know this earlier.
4. Paddle a kayak and snorkel at Siete Pecados
There are many local tales that explain how Siete Pecados came to be, and the one we heard during our visit was a very sad one. Siete Pecados stands for 7 sins and the tale has it that 7 children disappeared one night after being taken and the 7 rocks appeared the day after their disappearance. Another local legend tells the story of seven sisters, disobeying their mother to swim in the tranquil waters and drowning, forming the seven islets you see today.
These 7 small rocky islets lie only a few hundred meters off Busuanga Island’s coast. You can rent a kayak somewhere on the coast here and take about 10-15 minutes to paddle to the islets. We paid PHP 400 for the kayak and visited the place for a total of 2 hours. This spot has amazing coral reefs surrounding the islets and also one of the healthiest reefs in the region, so you will see lots of reef fish, some turtles, and huge schools of barracudas.
5. Visit the Maquinit Hot Spring
This is one of those hate/love places and I will do my best to describe it as realistically as possible so you can make a decision if it’s worth visiting or not.
The road to get to Maquinit Hot Spring is bumpy and uncomfortable and the premises itself not for every type of traveller. If you were at Siete Pecados before coming here, it would only take you 5 more minutes to drive here. Otherwise, it takes about half an hour to get there from town, and if you haven’t rented your own motorbike, the ride there will cost you quite a lot – PHP 400 to be exact. Aim to visit Maquinit from 4:30 p.m. onwards, when the weather cools down a bit.
The steep entrance fee of PHP 200 per person (same for tourists and locals) is rather high for what you get, but it’s worth the experience if you’ve never been in a hot spring before. The entrance fee does not reflect what you get for the price, though. There are no changing rooms (so arrive in your swimsuits) and the restrooms very difficult to change in. There is no place to really sit and relax comfortably and you might be bothered by the smells of the spring.
But what I liked the most while there were the small wooden paths and the views of the sea. It was cool to experience the hot water and relax.
Personally, I would come here since there is not so much else going on around Coron, but if you’ve been to a hot spring before, then you might as well just skip it.
How to get to Coron
Coron is easily accessible from Cebu, Manila or El Nido. The domestic flights are the fastest and most comfortable option, but also the most expensive. Having experienced the ferries and the vans, I would definitely recommend paying extra to fly.
A flight from Manila or Cebu takes around 1.5 hours to Busuanga Airport. A flight from El Nido takes about 40 minutes. Once you arrive at Busuanga Airport in Coron, you will then take a van to town. The van ride takes about 30 minutes.
The flight from Cebu cost us PHP 5600 (roughly $110 USD) per person and this is the kind of price you should expect from all locations in high season. Booking early is definitely a wise decision when travelling in the Philippines.
The cheapest and least comfortable way to get to Coron is by ferry and land transport. We booked the Montenegro ferry to El Nido and were terribly disappointed. The tickets cost PHP 1790 (around $35 USD) and the bumpy ride took 4 hours. If you have the budget, opt for flying. You’ll save plenty of time and patience 🙂