Here’s our complete budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan! This online guide will help you enjoy this paradise with our tried-and-tested budget tips and more. 🙂
First of all, let me tell you about Coron. It’s the second most-popular tourist attraction in Palawan, next to El Nido. It’s mostly known for the iconic view of Coron Bay. It also has various lakes, lagoons and beaches. Compared to El Nido, it’s relatively less crowded.
I actually traveled solo to Coron on a 5-day leisure trip. I immediately loved in starting in day one. Coron is complete mesmerizing — and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in the Philippines. In fact, for foreign travelers who plan to visit the country, it would be my topmost recommendation.
Aside from its beautiful nature attractions, another thing that I like about Coron is that it’s budget-friendly, even for solo travelers like me. Even though tour rates aren’t standardized yet, the rates for accommodation and tours are reasonable. I’m going to share several budget tips to Coron here with you!
Things to know before you go
- Coron is safeguarded by the indigenous tribe of Tagbanua. As such, some places are considered sacred and off limits.
- Be respectful. Wear a coverup when walking on streets.
- There are ATMs in Coron.
- Most establishments accept cash only, but some resorts and establishments also accept major credit cards.
How to get here
Manila to Coron
- Take a local flight to Busuanga Airport. Cebu Pacific offers the cheapest year-round fares.
- From Busuanga airport, there will be vans waiting that can take you to Coron (P150, 30-40 minutes). If you’re in a group, you can also hire the entire van (P1500). From the drop-off point, take a tricycle to get to your accommodation.
- 2Go has weekly trips from Manila to Coron. The port is located in Pier 4 in Tondo, Manila. Travel time is 11 hours; fare is about P1400+ per person depending on how early you book and your ticket class. Book ferry tickets from Manila to Coron here.
- From the Coron pier, walk for 15 minutes to the town proper or ride a tricycle.
El Nido to Coron
There are ferries from El Nido to Coron. For regular ferry, travel time is 4 hours; fare is P1760. Book ferry tickets from El Nido to Coron here.
When to visit
As in most destinations in the Philippines, the best time to go here is during summer where there is guaranteed good weather.
However, going during off-peak season has its perks too. You can avoid the huge summer crowd and even get discounted rates on rooms and tours. I love traveling during off-peak season for these reasons, moreso in Palawan which is rarely affected by the typhoon season. There might be cloudy skies or a bit of rain, but it doesn’t experience heavy rain as other places such as Manila.
How to get around
Coron town proper is small so almost everything is walking distance. Alternatively, you may also ride tricycles for a minimum fee.
On the day of your flight departure, you can ask assistance from your hotel’s receptionist to schedule a van pickup to the airport since the vans follow a daily schedule.
Island hopping tours
Island hopping is the main activity offered in Coron. Each island hopping tour is different, but mainly you will get to see beaches, lakes particularly Kayangan Lake which is considered the cleanest lake in Asia, and snorkel in underwater coral areas and shipwrecks. During island hopping, you will also get to see the iconic photo in Coron: an islet surrounded by clear turquoise water that is the Coron Bay.
Each tour may differ depending on the agency, but joiner tours are generally the same in terms of places to visit. As said above, there are no standardized tours in Coron so rates may vary per agency.
1. Coron Island Tour A
Tour A is a great start for your island hopping experience. It takes you to several beaches and snorkeling areas, as well as the famous Kayangan Lake. If you like snorkeling, I suggest you explore the surrounding waters in CYC Beach. Most people stay on the shore, but it actually has one of the best underwater spots I’ve seen during my stay there.
- Places to see: Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach, Atwayan/Sunset beach, Quin Reef, Green Lagoon, Kayangan Lake
- Rate: P900 per person
2. Coron Island Tour B
This takes you to more snorkeling spots in Coron. But the true highlight of this tour is the Twin Lagoon, which features dazzling-blue lagoons against a backdrop of karst formations.
- Places to see: Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Reef Garden, Twin Lagoon
- Rate: P1200 per person
3. Island Escapade Tour C1
This is a new tour which includes Malcapuya Island and other islands in Coron.
- Places to see: Coco Beach, Waling-Waling Island, Malcapuya Island
- Rate: P1200 per person
4. Island Escapade Tour C2
This tour takes you to three beautiful islands in Coron. The islands are located a bit far compared to other island hopping stops (about 2 hours), so majority of your time will be spent on the boat ride. Again, if you like snorkeling, you will enjoy Banana Island with its giant clams and Malcapuya Island wits its big schools of fishes.
- Places to see: Bulog Dos Island, Banana Island, Malcapuya Island
- Rate: P1200 per person
5. Reefs and Wrecks
This is the best tour for those who enjoy snorkeling and freediving, as you will be taken to a vast coral garden (lazily named Coral Garden) where it’s possible to get sightings of sea turtles and the shipwreck sites. The shipwrecks can be seen even from the surface. This is a fun tour; my only complaint during my tour is that each stop is too short so there’s not much time to linger and enjoy the underwater scenes.
- Places to see: East Tangat, Pass Island, Coral Garden, Lusong Gunboat
- Rate: P1300 per person
6. Coron Island Ultimate Tour
If you want to see the best island hopping spots in Coron in one tour, you can avail of the Coron Island Ultimate Tour. If you’ve already taken the rest of the tours, there’s no need to get this one.
- Places to see: Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach
- Rate: P1500
- Island hopping starts at at 9AM up to 4 or 5PM. If you’re availing of a joiner tour, make sure to get to the port early and keep track of time at all times so other joiners wouldn’t have to wait for you.
- The tour includes lunch buffet and water.
- Rental for snorkeling set and/or aqua shoes are not included (P150 each).
Other tours in Coron
If you want a little break from the sea, there are other tours in Coron you can avail.
Calauit Safari Tour
As its name suggests, the highlight of this tour is the Calauit Safari. The safari is home to various endemic and imported wildlife, such as giraffes. It’s about 3 hours away from the town proper, and as such pickup is usually at around 4AM.
Other places to see may vary depending on the travel agency offering this tour. Others may include side trips to town attractions while others offer snorkeling sites to be visited along with Black Island.
- Places to see: Calauit Safari Sanctuary, Isla Paraiso, Busuanga town proper, Malbato Church, (Optional) Black Island
- Rate: P2100 per person + additional P500 for Black Island
Culion Island Tour
Culion Tour is an underrated tour in Coron. It takes you to Culion, which was once a leper colony. Today, it’s a charming town with various historical landmarks.
- Places to see: Culion Church and Forest, Aguila Viewpoint, Culion Museum and Archives, Bogor Marine Park.
Coron town tour
If you have half a day, you can take a Coron town tour where you can buy souvenirs and take home cashew, which is one of the local products in Palawan. Other highlights include Maquinit Hot Spring, a natural hot spring within a mangrove forest, and Mount Tapyas which is a favorite spot for island hopping.
The tour is also doable DIY as you only need to commute via tricycle to get to the destinations for minimum fare. If you’re going to Maquinit Hot Spring, a private tricycle costs P300 good for 4 people; the driver will wait for you. Entrance fee is P200 per person.
- Places to see: Lualhati Park, cashew shop, souvenir shop, St. Augustine Church, Mount Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring
- Rate: P650 or P800 per person with set meal
Fireflies and plankton tour
This is a magical tour wherein you can see fireflies and bioluminiscent planktons. The tour starts at 6PM to 9PM, with buffet dinner.
- Rate: P950 per pax
Where to book tours
There are various travel agencies in Coron, Palawan. You can just walk around the Coron town proper and book for a tour, at least a day before.
Regardless of your choice, I highly suggest that you give a tip to your boatman/guide especially if you’re happy with their service!
As for myself, I availed of tours from JY Travel and Tours. Kuya Henerson is hands down the best tour guide here.
- JY Travel and Tours: Facebook
If you’re in a group, you might want to get a private tour (i.e., per-person rate is the same as joiner tour, but it will be exclusive to your group) or you may find your a private boat to rent.
The usual rental for a private boat is P2000 or above. There are travel agencies that offer this or you can walk along the port (near Sea Dive Restaurant) and find a local boatman willing to take you.
If you choose the latter, take note that you will have to buy your own food in the market for cooking during the tour and pay the entrance fees, which are not included in the rental rate. The advantages of this is that it’s cheaper and you can dictate which places to go and which time, which is useful if you want to escape the crowds. Moreover, you can also stop over beach coves not included in the usual island hopping tours.
Where to eat
There are a number of restaurants in Coron where you can enjoy local delicacies and other cuisines. Expect a budget of P200-500 per person. Here are the most recommended ones:
- Kawayanan Grill. This restaurant offers reasonably priced seafood platters.
- Santino’s Grill. A popular restaurant famous for their baby backribs
- Sea Dive Restaurant or La Sirenetta. A great option especially for sunset viewing.
I recommend La Sirenetta which has good ambiance and food.
If you’re on a budget, there are carinderias in Coron where you can buy meals for around P100 per person.
Where to stay
The great thing about Coron is that it offers a lot of budget-friendly accommodations.
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.
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.
Here are some of the most recommended resorts and hotels in Coron:
- Coron Westown Resort. A popular laid-back accommodation with outdoor pools. Book discounted rooms here.
- Two Seasons Coron Island Resort and Spa. This is a 5-star luxury accommodation, considered one of the best in Coron. Book discounted rooms here.
- Club Paradise Palawan. A private island resort with its own spa and pool. Book discounted rooms here.
Here are some of the recommended budget accommodations in Coron, Palawan:
- Seahorse Guesthouse. This guesthouse offers dorm-type accommodation, with free breakfast. It has a rooftop area where you can eat and which features a nice view of the ocean. Book discounted rooms here.
- Coron Paradise Bed & Breakfast. A good option if you want a private room in a budget, with free breakfast. It’s close to major establishments such as restaurants and souvenir shops. Book discounted rooms here.
Didn’t see what you’re looking? Check out other accommodations in Coron here.
5 Days itinerary to Coron
I recommend staying at least 5-6 days in Coron. If you wish to maximize your time, you can avail of the Coron Ultimate Island Tour and other 1-2 island hopping tours and the rest exploring Calauit Safari or Cuyo Island. If you’re into diving as well, I suggest adding 2-3 days more to your itinerary.
Anyway, here’s a sample 5 days itinerary to Coron
Flight from Manila to Busuanga
Check in at accommodation
Coron Island Tour A
Sunset trek to Mount Tapyas
Coron Island Tour B
Late-afternoon dip at Maquinit hot spring
Island Escapade Tour C1/C2
Reef and Wrecks Tour
Plankton and Fireflies Tour
Flight back to Manila
As island hopping tours normally start at 9AM, if you arrive in Busuanga Airport at 7:30AM or earlier, you still have time to drop your bag at your accommodation and join a tour.
Here are important budget tips so you can still enjoy Coron without breaking the bank!
- Snorkel and aqua shoes rental are not included in island hopping tours, which are rented out at about P150 each. If you’re going to stay for a few days, it’s best to buy or bring your own equipment. I got my own snorkeling set for less than P1000 and I’ve used it in other locations besides Coron.
- If you’re in a group, you may look at all-in tour packages. However, if you’re solo or in two’s, it’s cheaper to book the island hopping tours and accommodations separately. This advice was given to me by a travel agent when I inquired about rates.
- It’s cheaper to do the Coron Town Tour on your own, as the attractions can be visited via commute with tricycles. This is especially true if you’re in a group.
- For cheap eats, there are carinderias selling meals at about P100. Another favorite backpacker spot is the ihawans in the port area, where you can buy grilled chicken, pork and seafood for cheap.
Budget and other expenses
Of course, it’s cheaper to visit Coron if you’re in a group. Here’s a rough breakdown of expenses:
- Accommodation with breakfast: P500-600 (solo or shared expense in a group room)
- Tours: P900-1200
- Snorkeling rental – P150
- Food: Dinner – P100-200
Usually you only have to worry about dinner. Breakfast is often served complimentary in hotels and tours include lunch buffet.
For 5 days, a safe budget would be P9000-10,000 per person.
Did you find this budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan, helpful? Any other suggestions to future travelers?
What to read next:
Check out the rest of our articles in Palawan:
- Updated Guide to Puerto Princesa Underground River and Island Hopping in Honda Bay
- Travel guide to El Nido
- Travel Guide to Balabac, Guide to Island Hopping in Balabac and Onuk Island
- Travel Guide to Port Barton, Best Things to Do in Port Barton and Island hopping in Port Barton
- Top Things to Do in Palawan
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