Coron is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist highlights of the Philippines. Coron is one of the four municipalities that constitute the Calamianes, a group of islands that dot the waters of North Palawan. The islands commonly known as Coron, are actually a cluster of islands, including Busuanga Island (the largest island and home to Coron Town) and Coron Island, amongst many other islands in the Palawan Region.
Let's see if we can make it less confusing - or is that more!
Coron Town is NOT on Coron Island. Coron Town occupies half of Busuanga Island and "Coron Town Proper" is known as the main commercial section. Coron Island, however, (emphasis on island), is a separate island off the coast of Coron Town. Say what?
Here are two maps that may help:
If you fly into Coron, you will arrive at the Coron airport (more formally known as Francisco B. Reyes) on Busuanga Island, about 25km inland from Coron Town and less than an hour away.
Coron also has a pier, and over the past few years, new boat routes have opened for tourists coming from Manila and other parts of Palawan like Puerto Princesa and El Nido.
Most of the tourist attractions are not on Busuanga Island, but on the neighbouring smaller islands and below the crystal clear waters. That being said, it is quick and easy to organise all your sightseeing from Coron Town and it is also the most practical place to stay. Basing yourself here will also give you the widest range of accommodation and food options. Choosing to stay on one of the other islands may be very appealing, but you will need to dig much deeper into your wallet for this experience!
GETTING TO CORON
From Manila to Coron
Flying is the easiest and fastest way to reach Coron from Manila and will get you there in under an hour. Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Skyjet all operate daily flights from Manila. Flights can get quite expensive when not on sale and you might find one-way tickets starting at 3,650 PHP ($70). During peak season, the price can easily triple so it's best to plan your schedule well ahead of time and book your ticket in advance to get the cheaper rates. From Coron airport, you can get shared transport for 150 PHP per person to your accommodation in town. You can also pre-book your transfer online.
The slower alternative would be to take the overnight ferry from Manila to Coron. The ferries depart from the Pier 4 of North Harbour, Manila at 19:00 every Friday and take around 11 hours, so will arrive at 7:00 the following day in Coron. Tickets start at around 1,500 PHP when you book directly through 2Go Travel. However, this price depends on how early you book and which ticket class you purchase. You can also book through 12GoAsia.
From El Nido to Coron
There are daily ferries from El Nido to Coron.
A much more fun experience is to take a 3D/2N or 4D/3N long all-inclusive island-hopping boat trip. This is MUCH more expensive but, from what we have heard, it can be a truly fantastic experience.
Two companies each operate 1 trip per day: Montenegro Lines departs at 6:00, and another company called Phimal departs at 8:20. The Montenegro ticket costs 1,900 PHP ($35) per person, and the Phimal ticket costs 1,800 PHP ($34) per person. During peak season tickets sell out days in advance, so make sure to book your tickets online well in advance.
You can book tickets for the fast ferry online, at the operator’s ticket outlets or through your accommodation. Also, remember that there will be port fees payable upon departure.
All of the boats depart from El Nido Ferry Terminal and dock at Coron Port. The port is about 2km from the town centre of Coron. If you don’t mind the 15-minute walk, you can walk to the town centre or your hotel. An alternative option would be to ask your accommodation to help you arrange local transport. Travelling by Tricycle around Coron, a reasonable rate is 10 PHP per person but expect to pay around 20 PHP per person if you have luggage. You will probably be asked as much as 50 PHP per person so make sure you agree on a price before you get in.
If you are pressed for time you can also fly from El Nido to Coron with Air Swift which operates one flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Their schedules change according to specified dates, so it’s best to check their website for the latest updates.
Expect to pay 2,600 PHP ($50) for a one-way ticket. The plane departs El Nido Airport and lands at the Francisco B. Reyes Airport in Coron. The flight takes 40 minutes. From Coron airport, you can get shared transport for 150 PHP per person to your accommodation.
From Puerto Princesa to Coron
Theoretically, the quickest way to get from Puerto Princesa to Coron is to fly. However, there are NO direct flights at the time of writing and most flight options will take you via Manila or Cebu. The fastest route is actually via Clarke International (Angeles) which will get you to Coron in around 3 hours. No doubt flying will be the most expensive option but if you time it right and manage to snag a good deal it might just be worth it! Check SkyScanner for some options.
The next best alternative would be to take the direct overnight ferry from Puerto Princesa to Coron, which takes about 11 hours and runs once a week. Departures are currently every Sunday at 7 am from Puerto Princesa and you can book tickets directly with 2Go Travel which start at around 1500 PHP.
The option most travellers take is to split up the journey and opt for a shared van to El Nido and continue from there to Coron with a fast ferry as above.