Budget Travel Guide to Coron, Palawan + 5 Days Itinerary (Updated 2019)

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

Last November, I headed alone to Coron, Palawan. This place is mesmerizing and I fell in love with it. In fact, it’s probably my best travel for this year. To our foreign readers, if you only have a week or somehow a limited schedule in your visit in the Philippines, I suggest going to Coron.

Aside from the beautiful sights, another thing I like about Coron is that it’s budget-friendly even for solo travelers like I was. Even though tour rates aren’t standardized compared to El Nido, the prices for accommodation and tours are still reasonable. In fact, if you’re going to ask me, I like Coron way, way better than El Nido although the latter is more popular worldwide.

Anyway, here’s our budget-friendly travel guide to Coron, Palawan!

How to get here

By air

Take a local flight to Busuanga Airport. Cebu Pacific offers the cheapest year-round fares.

By sea:

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 P1100+ per person depending on which accommodation you’ll get.

Busuanga to Coron

From the 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).

To get around the town proper in Coron, you can simply walk or hail a tricycle.

When to visit

Like every other vacation spots 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. Moreover, even during typhoon season, Palawan is rarely affected with the typhoons so chances are low that you’ll miss going out on tours..

What to do in Coron

There are so many things to do in Coron! You can island hop, trek, tour around the town or visit nearby attractions. I recommend staying at least 5-7 days to visit all the must-see destinations here.

Island hopping tours

Stopovers may differ depending on the agency, but for joiner tours these are the island hopping tours:

  • Coron Island Tour (Tour A)
    Places to see: Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach, Atwayan/Sunset beach, Quin Reef, Green Lagoon, Kayangan Lake
  • Coron Island Tour (Tour B)
    Places to see: Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Reef Garden, Twin Lagoon
  • Island Escapade Tour (Tour C)
    Places to see: Bulog Dos Island, Banana Island, Malcapuya Island
  • Reefs and Wrecks (Tour D)
    Places to see: East Tangat, Pass Island, 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
    – Siete Pecados, Kayangan Lake, Twin Lagoon, Smith Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Las Islas de Coral, CYC Beach

Joiner tours

If you go on a joiner tour, take that note lunch and entrance/miscellaneous fees are already included in the published rates.

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.

Budget tip: Currently, there’s a lot of cheap packages which offer all-in inclusions (accommodations and tours). However, if you’re solo or in two’s, it’s cheaper to get the island hopping tours and accommodations separately. Joiner tours for island hopping start at P750-P1200, and accommodation for solo travelers can be availed at P400-800 per night.

Private tours

Hiring a private boat is recommended if you’re in a group. For private boat tours, you may need to buy your own food in the market for cooking during the tour. The good thing about getting a private boat is you can indicate which islands to visit first, which is useful if you want to escape the crowds. Moreover, you can stop over islands that are not included in the island hopping tours.

Tip: Visit Kayangan Lake during lunch time and at sunset, which is when there are the least tourists.

Looking where to hire a private boat? Travel agencies also offer boats for private use. Alternately, you can head to one of the ports in Coron and talk to some of the local boatmen. Most of them hire out their boats for P1500-2000, excluding food and entrance fees. There’s a port beside Sea Dive restaurant.

Other tours in Coron

Aside from island hopping, there are tours to nearby attractions that you can avail.

  • Calauit Safari
    Places to see: Calauit Safari Sanctuary, Black Island, Lusong Coral Garden, Lusong Gunboat
  • Culion Island Tour
  • Inland Tour

The inland tour is actually doable on your own. You only need to commute via tricycle with P10 minimum fare. Town sights include souvenir shops, cashew shops, Coron Baywalk, Mount Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring.

If you’re going to Maquinit Hot Spring, a private tricycle costs P300 good for 4 people; the driver will wait for you.

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.

Here are the rates for joiner tours offered by JY Travel and Tours (updated 2017):

  • Coron Island (Tour A) – P750 per person
  • Coron Island (Tour B) – P950
  • Island Escapade Tour (Tour C) – P1200
  • Reefs and Wrecks (Tour D) – P1200
  • Coron Island Ultimate Tour – P1500
  • Calauit Safari – P2400
  • Culion Island Tour – P1800
  • Inland Tour – P700

Where to eat

There seems to be a misconception that food is expensive in Coron. This isn’t true. There are the usual carienderia in Coron where you can buy meals for P60-100.

For restaurants, here are the most recommended ones:

  • Kawayanan Grill – reasonable seafood platters
  • Santino’s Grill – famous for their baby backribs
  • Sea Dive Restaurant or La Sirenetta – popular spot for sunset viewing

I recommend La Sirenetta which has good ambiance and food.

Where to stay

There’s actually a lot of budget accommodations 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.

Here are some of the recommended budget accommodations in Coron, Palawan:

Seahorse Guesthouse
– P600 per person
– Dormitory type, air-conditioned with hot and cold shower, with free breakfast
– 0927 4977 559;
– Check current room rates here

Patrik & Tezz Guesthouse
– P500 per person / P550-650 per 1-2 persons
– Fan room, minimum of 2 nights stay
– 0927 953 1407 / Facebook page / Official website

Luis Bay Travellers Lodge
– P500 per person
– Fan room, with own toilet
– Check current room rates here

Coron Backpacker GuestHouse
– P500 per 2 persons
– Double bed, fan room, shared toilet
– 0916 4004 871/ 0919 3886 028, Official website

RB Transient House
– P315 per person, dormitory / P550 per 2 persons, double room or twin room
Check current room rates here

Coron Paradise Bed & Breakfast
– P800-900 per 2 persons
– Twin room or double room, fan
Check current room rates here

Didn’t see what you’re looking? Check out other accommodations in Coron here.

5 Days itinerary to Coron

Here’s a 5 day itinerary to Coron, Palawan. Take it as a rough guide. If you only have a few days here, you might want to go for the Coron Island Ultimate Tour and then spend the rest of the days on Calauit Safari or Cuyo Island. If you have a week, you can visit all of these.

Day 0 – Flight from Manila to Busuanga, check in at accommodation
Day 1
– Tour A (optional: sunset trek to Mount Tapyas)
Day 2– Tour B + Maquinit hot spring
Day 3– Tour C
Day 4– Tour D
Day 5 – Buy souvenir and tour around town; flight back to Manila

Island hopping tours normally begin at 9AM or 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 on the same day. This is what I did. Seahorse Guesthouse doesn’t allow early check-ins but it’s possible to leave your bag in the reception area

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.

My favorite stops in island hopping

So from the itinerary above, here are my favorite stops:: 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, Coron
View deck in Kayangan Lake, Coron. (Photo by 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)

On the other hand, I was looking forward to the Coral Garden, which is different from Reef Garden above. Friends have gushed about it. I was a bit disappointed with it. First, our tour here was rushed. There was no time to stop and admire the corals underneath. Instead, we were dropped off in the ocean and had to continuously paddle to another point where the boat would pick us up. The underwater scenery wasn’t that colorful and I was told there was a lot of damage from a past typhoon. There’s a chance here to see turtles, although at that time I didn’t see any.

Budget and other expenses

Aside from the island hopping tours, here are my other expenses for the itinerary above:

  • Van from airport to Coron, vice versa: P150 x 2
  • Private tricycle to Maquinit hot spring + entrance: P300 + P200
  • Dinner: P500

As a solo traveler, I spent about P8000 for the necessities in my 5-day stay in Coron.

P.S. Heading to Palawan soon?

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Budget travel guide to Coron, Palawan (Philippines)

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51 Comments

  1. Hi Katherine! I read that you spent 8k on this trip. Did you go there via cebpac or 2go? Coz I’ve been checking out cheap flights and so far 7k is what I’ve seen. We’re going there for our cousin’s wedding in March next year. Hope to hear from you. Thanks in advance!

  2. Thanks for the blog as I it really helps me picture out how to do my itinerary..Planning to visit Coron this September for our 5th Anniversary

  3. Thank you so much i found your blog. Anyway will plano namin pupunta ng Coron sa First week ng January we have six peoples in the group from age 11 years old to 60 years old. Any recommendations From the beginning to the end of our trip? This is our first time.

  4. Hi! Sorry if this had been asked, I tried searching past comments!

    For booking your tours, did you pre-book all of them online or did you wait until you arrived to walk to their booth and then book them?

    Thank you!

  5. Hi, will travel 2nd or 3rd week of Nov, do you suggest to look for travel packages in Coron or book prior? Thanks

  6. Hi! Im really glad i came across this blog, this is helpful, we’ll be in coron on the 31st of October to the 3rd of November and we’re booked at SeaHorseguest house (me,my hubby and our son) i want to know the most practical tour we can get since we’re traveling with our 12y/o kid. Thanks! And can we just book it with seahorse?

  7. Hi. I happened to leave a comment in this post some few months ago, and since then i’m receiving notifs that I’m not even involved in.
    Ummm, how can I unsubcribe po? I need to know po sana. Thanks.

      1. Please don’t get me wrong, I love this blog & and it helped me a lot during my trip.. Maybe I only need to adjust notification settings. 🙂
        Thank you po..

  8. Hey, I‘m also heading to Coron as single traveler and I‘d like to do some of the tour packages you have mentioned in your blog. However, I cant find a link or name of the agency that provided exactly these Tour A etc. packages. Can you name it? Many thanks!!

    1. I was in Coron just last week, travelled solo as well. Booked my tour from Alherini Travel Services in facebook, and I must say, they are Legit, accomodating and very smooth to transact with. Hope that helps.

    1. I’m not sure if it’s going to be “perfect.” 🙂 June-November is the rainy season so it really depends on the weather, but the good news is Palawan doesn’t really experience strong typhoons. You might still get a lil bit of rain here and there tho.

  9. Hi! I’d like to ask for advice on how I can have a worthy vacation to Coron for 3D2N only. I want to travel solo and as much as possible not to join groups. Thank you so much!

    1. We don’t know the timetable for the vans, but take note that Coron is a major attraction in Palawan and so with the influx of passengers, there are always public vans outside the airport. If unsure, you can always contact your resort/accommodation; they are affiliated with those doing airport transfers.

  10. Hi Katherine we’re planning to go there with my partner.
    Is there any boat to rent in the pier area? I want to DIY my travel and i dont want to book tours. Which is more cheaper DIY or TOUR Agency?

    1. Yep, you can go to the pier but I’m not sure about the availability during summer.

      DIY or tour agency — it depends. If there are only 2 of you I’d go for joining a group tour instead.

    2. Hi Duke. I recommend Jon for private boat in Coron. You can ask them how much is the rate. This is worth considering if you want to enjoy the place on your own and you can choose which tourists spots you can visit. Though you have to shoulder the entrance fees and you have to buy your own food in the market for cooking later on.

      We hired JON, ARMAN, & STANLEY our boatmen/tourguide for 2 days island hopping. They’re helpful, kind and they made our Coron trip worth remembering ❤️

      For private boat:
      ■JON(Boatman in Coron): +639955287803
      +639218139568

      For solo or couple travelers it’s more cheaper if you get a tour at local travel agency, you dont need to think about your food and entrance fees since it is included in the package.

  11. Hi, I just want to ask. Is solo travelling to Coron safe? I want to assure my mom that it’s safe, or else she won’t allow me to go. And I already have tickets for April.
    Hoping to hear from you soon. Thanks.

  12. Hi! I’m visiting Coron on april 30 to may 4 2018, i will traveling alone is it not really that bad? it will be my first solo travel. Will I still be able to enjoy the tours and have an overall great time?

  13. Hi! I’m thinking of going to Coron this March, it will be 3D2N. Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Island and Maquinit Hot Spring are the places I want to visit. It would be my first time to travel alone. Just want to ask for help in planning my itinerary or how do I get there without joining tours.

      1. Hi! Nice blog, i enjoyed reading it. We will be travelling as a couple on Feb 27 to Mar 3. We plan to rent a private boat instead of joining a group. The cheapest rate provided to me is 3700/pax for the Coron Island Tour. And 4800/pax for the Malcapuya, banana and bulog beaches. Rates included all entrance fees, food, licensed tour guide. Do you think the rate is reasonable? Or i can find better deal once i arrive at Coron?

        1. I think the price is reasonable because there are only two of you. You can also try looking for a travel agency/boat owners who’ll agree on a rate per boat (not per person) and see if it’ll be cheaper. Last time I was there boat rental is 2000-2500, entrance fees and lunch not included. Not sure if the rate is the same for the three beaches you mentioned because those are a bit far.

  14. Hi! I’m visiting Coron on July 2018, so I’ll be expecting some rain 🙁 Given it rains, is it really that bad? Will I still be able to enjoy the tours and have an overall great time?

    1. We love to travel during the rainy season because of fewer crowds, lower rates. 🙂 If it’s just a little bit of rain, you’re still good to go. But if there’s a strong typhoon, tours might get cancelled. In general though, Palawan rarely experiences strong typhoons as in other parts of the PH… so you’d be terribly unlucky to be stuck in one. Good luck!

  15. Good day, Ask ko lng po if anu masuggest mo maam. Me and my cousins will be going this coming august, we are 4 in the group, is it ideal and cheaper if we will do DIY or avail a package for the whole tour? Thank you for your response

      1. Hi! Do travel tour agencies allow grouping solo travellers for private tours instead of letting them join with the group tours? This is to allow more flexibility on the itineraries instead of feeling rushed.

  16. Coron looks lovely. I have not been to the Philippines yet, but it is on my bucketlist!
    I see you did 4 tours? Would you recommand that? Did you meet loads of people on those tours?
    x

    1. Yes and yes. 🙂 I liked the first three tours. I wasn’t impressed with tour D, but I heard it’s a popular choice because of the coral garden. I did meet lots of people because I joined group tours. Hope you decide to visit here!

  17. I love solo travel and I’m looking at Coron for next year. Is it possible to request for a budget breakdown of your 5-day stay? 🙂 Thank you so much and i wish you more travels today, onward!

  18. Hello,
    I’m planning for a solo trip this September. Do you have to book the tour in advance or you can just get book then and there on a cheaper price. Also, I’m going on a weekday, there might be no group tours available.
    Thank for the help.

  19. 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?

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