Solo Travel Guide to Coron, Palawan

Solo travel guide to Coron, Palawan

Looking for a solo travel guide to Coron, Palawan? Look no further than this one.

Last November, I headed alone to Coron, Palawan. I am in no way exaggerating when I say that this place is simply mesmerizing. In fact, it’s probably my best travel this year. For foreign tourists, if you only have a week or somehow a limited schedule in your visit here in the Philippines, I suggest going to Coron, Palawan.

One of the good things about Coron is that, aside from the great views and water activities, it’s budget-friendly even to solo travelers. Even though tour rates aren’t standardized compared to El Nido, overall the prices for accommodation, tour and even are still reasonable. In fact, I liked it way, way better compared to El Nido for a variety of reasons. Maybe I’ll expound on that another time.

For now, let’s begin on this solo travel guide to Coron, Palawan.

Solo travel guide to Coron, Palawan

I was here for 5 days. I initially thought this was a long time considering the activities are mainly island hopping but I was proven wrong. There were some spots I wanted to go back to there and then, and I missed going to the Calauit Safari or Cuyo Island.

5 Days itinerary to Coron, Palawan

Day 1 – Flight from Manila to Busuanga; start with Tour A
Day 2– Tour B, head to Maquinit hot spring
Day 3– Tour C
Day 4– Tour D
Day 5 – Buy souvenir and tour around town; flight back to Manila

For the Coron town tour, you can join a packaged tour for P500-700 or just do it DIY, communting via tricycles with P10 minimum fare.  Town sights include souvenir shops, cashew shops, Coron Bay walk, Mount Tapyas and Maquinit hotspring. I did it DIY because I wasn’t interested in visiting all stops and I didn’t have all day for a packaged town tour.

Island hopping tours normally begin at 9AM and even later, especially for joiner tours. If your flight will be arriving in Busuanga airport at 7:30AM or earlier, you can still make it to a tour. I actually planned on bumming on the first day but found that the guesthouse I’ve reserved a room with doesn’t accept check-ins earlier than 2AM. It’s a good thing the Seahorse Guesthouse allows guests to leave their bags at the reception for cases such as this one.

For the tours, most likely the agency will ask a service to fetch you from your accommodation to the port. Similarly, on the day of your flight back, you can ask your lodging receptionist to schedule a van pickup to the airport.

Island hopping tours

One of the first things you have to know is that it’s cheaper to avail of the island hopping tours and accommodation separately. Joiner tours start at P750-P1200, and accommodation for solo travelers can be availed at P400-800 per night.

These are the rates for joiner tours, which are suitable for solo or couple travelers. Rates are updated as of November 2016 and may have a higher markup during summer.

  • Tour A – P750 per person
    – Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach, Atwayan/Sunset beach, Quin Reef, Green Lagoon, Kayangan Lake
  • Tour B – P950
    – Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Reef Garden, Twin Lagoon
  • Tour C – P1200
    – Bulog Dos Island, Banana Island, Malcapuya Island
  • Tour D – P1200
    – Also called the shipwreck tour
    – East Tangat, Pass Island, Coral Garden, Lusong Gunboat
  • Tour E – P2400
    – Calauit Safari Sanctuary, Black Island, Lusong Coral Garden, Lusong Gunboat

There’s also a tour called Coron Island Ultimate Tour, which covers the best island hopping spots.

  • Coron Island Ultimate Tour – P1500
    – Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach

Lunch is included in the island hopping tours as well as entrance fees to the islands.

During island hopping, you can rent a snorkel and pair of aqua shoes for P150 each. If you’re going to be in Coron for a few days, I suggest buying your own snorkel. There are cheap ones for P700-850 and better-fitting snorkels for P1500.

If you’ve already been here and want to go to selected islands only, including those normally not covered in tours, you can rent a private boat in the ports in Coron for P1500-2000, excluding food and entrance fees. There’s one beside Sea Dive restaurant.

Hiring a private boat is recommended especially if you’re in a group. You have to buy your own food in the market for cooking later on and even dictate what time to visit the islands.

Tip: I heard there’s not much people in Kayangan Lake during lunch time and at sunset.

Travel agencies with joiner tours

There are various travel agencies offering similar rates. Just walk around Coron town proper and you can easily spot them. Here are some travel agencies in Coron that provide joiner tours:

For island hopping services, I went with JY Travel and Tours. Kuya Henerson is hands down the best tour guide here.

Personal favorites in island hopping

I can’t remember if we were able to see all these islands, but here are my favorites: the viewdeck in Kayangan Lake (which is also the most photographed spot in Coron), Green Lagoon, Twin Lagoon and the Barracuda Lake.

View deck in Kayangan Lake.
View deck in Kayangan Lake. (Photo credit to Xiao)

There’s also a lot of snorkeling spots in Coron.

Most people overlook CYC Beach because they stay in the shore; try to go a bit far on the beach and snorkel. It has one of the best coral and marine life I’ve seen during my stay here. The Reef Garden and Malcapuya Island are also great choices, and you can actually swim with numerous — perhaps hundreds at a time — of fishes.

Malcapuya Island, Coron.
Malcapuya Island, Coron. (Photo by Katherine)
Snorkeling in Reef Garden, Coron.
Snorkeling in Reef Garden. (Photo by Katherine)

On the other hand, I was looking forward to the Coral Garden (different from Reef Garden above). Friends have gushed about it. To me, it was disappointing. First, it was rushed. There was no time to stop and admire the corals below. We had to continuously paddle to reach the boat, which had moved to the other end of the garden after dropping us off. The underwater view lacks color. I didn’t see any turtles, but our guide said there was one.

Accommodations

There’s actually a lot of cheap accommodation options in Coron, and these are just a few of them.

I stayed in Seahorse Guesthouse, which offers dormitory-type rooms with 2 double-decked beds, good for 4 people. I was with my Chinese roommate Xiao, whom I’ve first met on tour. Staying in the dormitory room wasn’t awkward at all, and even though it wasn’t spacious it was comfortable. There are other lodgings with the same price, but at least this one was airconditioned with hot/cold shower. There’s a thick comforter for the night and a locker for securing items.

Seahorse Guesthouse accommodation in Coron, Palawan
View from the rooftop restaurant of the Seahorse Guesthouse. Taken by my lovely, world-weary Samsung Galaxy S4. (Photo by Katherine)

Breakfast is free on the fourth floor, which also has a nice view of the town and the sea. I also love the playlist in the mornings, some feel-good jazz or indie songs. Plus, the Seahorse Guesthouse is at the heart of Coron town — it’s about a 5-10 minute walk to the port and market and surrounded with souvenir shops.

I’ve selected a few recommended ones from online forums in this solo travel guide to Coron, Palawan:

Seahorse Guesthouse
– P600 per person
– Dormitory type, airconditioned with hot and cold shower, with free breakfast
– Contact details: 0927 4977 559

Patrick & Tezz Guesthouse
– P500 per night
– Fan room, minimum of 2 nights stay
– 0927 953 1407

Luis Bay Travellers Lodge
– P500 per night
– Fan room, with own toilet

Coron Backpacker GuestHouse
– P500 per night
– Double bed, fan room, shared toilet
– 0916 4004 871/ 0919 3886 028, Official website here

Budget and other expenses

I spent about P8000 for the necessities in my 5-day stay in Coron. Aside from the island hopping tours, here are the other expenses I could remember:

  • Van from airport to Coron, vice versa: P150 x 2
  • Private tricycle to Maquinit hot spring + entrance: P300 + P200
  • Food (mainly dinner): P500

For restaurants, one of most recommended places to visit is Santino’s Grill for its baby backribs. I don’t eat pork so I wasn’t able to try this one out. For sunset viewing, try to go Sea Dive Restaurant or La Sirenetta, which is at the end of a pier. I liked the ambience in La Sirenetta and the food is also good.

Planning your own solo travel to Coron

I recommend at least 5 days of stay in Coron. Aside from the island hopping tours, there are other things to explore — the Calauit Safari, the town of Culion and a few treats in Busuanga (falls, a low-key treehouse accommodation and more).

Like every other vacation spots in the Philippines, the best time to go here is the summer. It’s the only time good climate is guaranteed. I prefer going during off-peak season to avoid the summer crowd and get discounted rates, but this isn’t something that I recommend especially to foreign travelers who aren’t familiar with the fickle weather in the country.

Did you find this solo travel guide to Coron, Palawan, helpful? Any other suggestions to future travelers?

 

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Budget travel guide for a solo traveler to Coron, Palawan

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5 Comment

  1. Wow it looks so beautiful and the snorkelling looks awesome. Palawan has always been on our bucket list. Really need to get there soon! Great pictures.

  2. Martin says: Reply

    Hi! I’m going to Coron this January and I’m also booked at Seahorse Guesthouse! I just wanted to ask if they provide the guests with free towels? Also, do guests need to bring their own padlock for the locker or do they also provide them?

    1. Hi Martin, yes the inn provides towels and a padlock.

  3. Every time I see photos of Palawan I wonder why we haven’t gone yet. I looks so delightful and pristine.

    1. Rhonda, that is so true. I love Coron, especially. There are other low-key parts of Palawan I haven’t explored yet but am sure are just as amazing. 🙂

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