Coron has earned quite a nice reputation, popular among both local and international travellers for its stunning beaches, lagoons, and natural landforms you can’t see anywhere else. The most renowned tourism spot in Palawan has had its fair share of media coverage and vlogs racking up millions upon millions of views. And it certainly lives up to its high expectations, even till now!
The last time I was in Coron was way back in 2010, and it wasn’t as busy then as it is now! Most of the time, when I have foreign guests over, they prefer to visit El Nido – and so there we go! This time, however, we had time to visit both El Nido and Coron to get a combination of the best gems from both tropical paradises. Coron offers a variety of different tour packages depending on the schedule you want, and your preferred activities – we ourselves really only had time to do two tours.
In the end, we chose the Beach Escapade (which I’ll talk about in another article), as well as the Ultimate Coron Island Tour.
Here’s our Ultimate Coron Island Tour Experience:
We booked our Coron Island Ultimate Tour with JY Travel and Tours. It was quite easy to book with them, and they offer packages at a very reasonable price.
I have to warn you about something, however – and that’s to exert patience. Even though you book and travel as a group, there is a chance that you will get separated from one another because of their system of pick-up and boarding.
For example, if you’re travelling as a group but staying at different hotels, it is possible that different vans will come to pick you up because they base their pickups on location – people who come from the same hotel or hostel will typically be squeezed together in the same vehicle.
So, it’s best to tell the agency that you want to be together throughout the entire tour in advance to avoid hassle and miscommunications.
In addition to that, also extend your patience to the other participants because there were times during my two days touring the island that there was always that one group who sat by the porch and waited a lot – making the rest of the group wait along with them. This wasn’t necessarily the fault of the participant but it seems to be a rampant problem amongst all so do be prepared for that. Be there at the call-time but don’t count on the fact that the boat will leave on time – but hey, the delay has its benefits! You won’t have to worry too much about being left behind if you accidentally find yourself running late.
I did mention these incidents happened to us on both days. Again, let me reiterate: This isn’t an isolated problem of the agency we booked at. It applies to a lot of different tour groups – or all of them, perhaps. I met a group who booked a private boat while being in separate hotels and they still encountered the same problem.
Better to warn you early, right? Be happy and start your day right.
In our case we started out late which turned out to be a benefit for us.
You see, I will admit the tour sites get rather busy especially the commonly-visited ones such as the Kayangan Lake. But because of our delayed timing, we arrive at the locations with an initially busy crowd but after a little while people start leaving. This gives us a few minutes to cherish the beautiful lagoon just practically to ourselves.
With the Coron Island Ultimate Tour Package, includes life vests, a guide, and lunch (plus snacks!)
TIP: If you want to Kayak and to snorkel, you have to tell them before you leave the port, or else, they won’t be able to get one.
Kayak Rental Rates
Php 400 for one destination
Php 1000 for all the destination
Snorkel Rental Rates
Coron Islands we Visited
We rode our boat to get to the Kayangan Lake – quite the adventure in and of itself! We stepped out of the boat once we arrived at the vicinity where the lake was – this means that there are no boats to crowd up the area, which is good! It really helps preserve the cleanliness of Kayangan and avoids as much damage to marine life as possible. We also weren’t allowed to bring any food or trash out of the boat.
Once on land, we headed to a set of stairs, making our way to the Kayangan. They consisted of a total of 150 steps in order to get up to the viewpoint, as well as another 200 steps down to get to the actual lake.
This is one of the most popular places to visit not just in Coron, but in the entirety of the Philippines. Here’s where you see the famous, picturesque shot of Coron in all its glory. One misconception is that you’re taking a picture of the Kayangan Lake – it’s not! The sight you get from the viewpoint is actually that of Coron Bay! Either way, still a worthwhile and unforgettable sight to behold – mountain walls and crystal clear, teal water. After all, Kayangan holds the prestigious title as one of the cleanest bodies of water in Asia. Compared to 2010, the trees are thicker and they’ve put up a barrier. Still very pretty.
Swimming in the Kayangan Lake is certainly an experience as well – do bring your life vest into the water, as you aren’t allowed in without one. The lake is host to some of the clearest waters in the world and with goggles, you’ll find the world beneath the surface is just as amazing: a plethora of rock and coral formations as well as marine life.
We had a total of 1 hour to spend here, which is quite enough for sightseeing, taking pictures, and perhaps even a short swim.
The Twin Lagoons are quite literally that – two beautiful crystal lagoons with a giant limestone rock separating the two.
The first lagoon is easily accessible via boat but to get to the other one you’ll have to go swimming and pass through a tiny cave! The difficulty on getting to the second lagoon depends on the time of your visit. If you go during low tide, all you have to do is lie on a raft and slide underneath. During high tide, however, it involves a dive! Watch your head as the limestone rocks can be sharp.
One interesting thing about the twin lagoons is that this is the area where cool freshwater and salty seawater meet – so don’t be surprised about the sudden temperature change when you go swimming! It’s perfectly natural. It’s also normal for your goggles to fog up a little in those parts as well.
You can go kayaking here, but if you want to you’ll have to tell the guides before you leave the port as mentioned earlier
Lunch Stop: CYC Beach
After enjoying ourselves at the Twin Lagoons, we had lunch at a beach with soft white sand, at a hut provided for all of us to find shade under. We had cucumber-tomato-lato salad as well some adobo, fresh fish, and pinakbet. The foreigners loved it.
The CYC Beach, also known as the Coron Youth Club Beach, is a subtler yet still gorgeous spot to visit just off the main Coron Island. One of the things that makes it unique is the fact that it has absolutely no entrance fee – completely public and government-owned, unlike the other beaches.
CYC is a great example of what Coron is known for: Lovely shores with silky white sand and clear, practically flawless waters. It’s great for swimming and snorkeling around in, getting a more intimate feel of the marine life and local wonders – such as the dotting of mangrove trees and various rock formations in the vicinity. The shallow waters of CYC also make it a desirable spot for families, especially their children who just wanna wade around near the sand.
Undoubtedly one of the best snorkeling spots in the Philippines! Truly deserving of its name, filled with school of fish and vibrant coral reefs that just go on and on – make sure to bring along your snorkeling mask to fully enjoy a visit to this stop. Aside from corals, you might even come across some sea turtles and jellyfish – be careful not to touch them, though! Also, beware of the sharp corals and sea urchins. They’re pretty to see but take care, one of my friends ended up getting wounded here.
If you don’t have any snorkeling equipment, you can rent some from the guide or from local shops for around 150-200 pesos per person.
Shipwreck or Skeleton Wreck
Another snorkeling spot near the Coral Gardens. When you dive deeper into the waters, you’ll come across an ancient shipwreck. While it’s very old, it’s still distinguishable as an old boat! Nowadays, however, it is covered by corals and marine life who made use of the wreckage as their makeshift reef. They say that the wreck once belonged to a Japanese ship, which had been attacked by the American Navy in 1944 during the World War II.
Whatever the origin, the sight is truly a memorable and surreal one to behold – it’s like seeing the mysterious shipwrecks on television come to life in front of your eyes. It’s also nice seeing how nature adapts to its surroundings.
Siete Pecados goes by another name: the Seven Sins Islands. Quite an interesting name! There are actually several different variations as to the origin of such a title. The most popular one, however, is the story of 7 siblings who had gone sailing in bad weather against the advice of their parents and subsequently drowned – resulting in the emergence of the 7 small islands now collectively referred to as Siete Pecados. Siete, after all, translates to the number 7.
Aside from the myth, Siete Pecados is known as a snorkelling paradise! Dive into the waters and you’ll find stunning collections of limestone formations as well as a variety of different fish and marine animals sure to make you appreciate the biodiversity of the Philippines all the more.
We headed back to the shore after our visit and helped ourselves to some of the provided snacks! We had turon (banana fritters).
Look for the place where they sell alcohol to liven things up! On one of the islands we spotted a floating bankeros (which the foreigners called a floating 7-11) where you can buy chips and drinks.
TIPS for Coron Island Tours Visitors
- Make sure not to touch any of the corals at Siete Pecados and even the other diving spots! It is strictly not allowed. Aside from that, touching the corals and disturbing the wildlife can lead to some serious consequences over time – corals and sea life are rather sensitive and can perish easily if you aren’t careful. Take pictures and admire, but as much as possible do not touch.
- Avoid overuse of chemicals on the body when going swimming, such as sunblock or insect repellent because this can affect the clarity of the water and potentially even marine life.
Coron Island Ultimate Tour Rates
For its price, the Coron Island Ultimate Tour is quite worth it considering you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding transportation. The price varies depending on the season you visit and whether it’s a weekday or weekend – the price goes for as low as 1200 pesos during off-peak and as high as 1700 to 2000 during busy times.
Overall Experience of The Coron Island Ultimate Tour
All in all, if you’re looking for a Coron Island tour which gives you access to some of the absolute best spots on the island, all while doing so at a comfortable pace – then the Coron Island Ultimate Tour is the way to go. You avoid all the hassle and can have an organized tour with experienced guides in a reasonable amount of time!