Coron Town Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Brooding limestone cliffs, an undeveloped, hodgepodge of half-built buildings and superb wreck-diving, Coron Town offers travellers an excellent gateway centre for marine adventures just off Busuanga Island.
Why go to Coron Town
Although Coron remains a charming fishing town, in recent years the tourism industry has really taken off; and with the masses of nearby beach and sea activities to pick and choose from, it’s not hard to work out why scuba divers are lining up to pay homage to this destination.
A number of sunken Japanese ships make for world-class wreck diving experiences and due to the exquisite surrounding islands, island-hopping tours are also a well worth the trip.
In Coron Town itself one can keep busy with shopping at the public market, browsing souvenir shops and exploring the town plaza. Although there is not a great deal to do in the town itself, the prime location of Coron Town is an excellent reason to visit. A jumping off point to all nearby activities, the position of this quaint town makes it an ideal place to spend a few days.
Half-day tours are offered if you want to learn more about the town itself as well as the associated history, culture and traditions of the locals. The beautiful saltwater Maquinit Hotsprings and the panoramic sunset from the Mount Tapyas view deck, combined with all the diving and snorkelling opportunities make visiting Coron Town a memorable and worthwhile travel experience.
When to go to Coron Town
The ideal visiting time for Coron Town is during the dry, summer season from October to mid-June. Luckily, the nearby dive sites offer the best visibility during these months too and May to November is especially good with no planktons in the waters. The rainy season occurs from mid-June to September and coastal water visibility is also poorer during these months.
Where to stay in Coron Town
With great variety in terms of accommodation options, Coron Town is ideal for those looking for a cheap room for the night, as well as travellers looking for a top-class resort with poolside breakfasts. With plenty of accommodation possibilities between these two polarities, visitors can pick and choose between sleeping arrangements that work best for their wallets and preferences. As expected, accommodation on the nearby islands comes with a heftier price tag and the option of 5-star lodging and luxurious amenities.
During peak season or holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Easter and Chinese New Year it is understandably advisable to book ahead of time. Something else worth noting is the frequent power outages in Coron Town. If this is something that would be particularly bothersome to you, it might be worth confirming that your place of rest has a backup generator to avoid any irritation or inconvenience.
Where to eat in Coron Town
Eating at restaurants in Coron Town requires patience and understanding from customers. The laid-back lifestyle of this quaint town frequently means that service is relaxed and slow. Additionally due to the majority of produce and ingredients being imported, a full menu is often not all available and food is not as cheap as other cities within the Philippines. Lacking in popular American fast-food chains, Coron Town offers a decent mix of both local and European dishes.
For those wanting to save on meal costs, delicious, fresh food can be bought from the bustling Coron Market that occurs daily. Be sure to try whatever local fruit is in season at your time of visiting. Starfruit, cashew fruit, star apples, coconut, jackfruit and juicy mangoes are all tropical delicacies that one can fill up on. Hungry penny-savers can also fill up their pockets and backpacks with delicious pastries from one of the numerous bakeries in town before heading out for the day.
How to get around Coron Town
In a city with no taxis, getting around in Coron Town is made possible with the frequent and commonplace tricycles that can be flagged down from just about every nook and cranny. Affordable and convenient, tricycles are a fantastic means of exploring the city.
Walking around the town as well as renting a motorcycle or scooter are also easy ways of independent exploring within Coron Town. Motorcycles and scooters can be rented from a couple of hours to a couple of full days. Rental prices are affordable and locals take the passports of travellers as insurance and as a reliable deposit. Van rides to and from the airport can also easily be organised with one’s accommodation.
How to get to and from Coron Town
Getting into Coron Town can be done via air or by sea. Planes and ferries will transport you and your swimming trunks to this gateway-to-paradise town.
Getting to Coron Town from Manila and vice versa, is done via one of the daily, domestic flights with Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines and Sky Jet Airlines. You’ll land at Busuanga Airport and then need to take a 40 minute transfer ride to Coron Town itself.
Minivans can be located outside the airport and cost around PHP180 per person or PHP1800 for the entire van. Easy-peasy! Something to note is that when you fly out of Coron, passengers are subject to a PHP200 airport departure tax.
Getting to Coron from Manilla can also be done on a 12-14 hour ferry. Tiring but cheap, this is an affordable alternative to air travel. 2Go Travel Ferry runs this route every Tuesday and Friday at 1:30pm. Getting to Manilla from Coron with 2Go Asia is also possible every Friday and Sunday at 4:30pm. Ticket prices range from PHP780 for a Super Value Class ticket to PHP1,540 for a Tourist Class ticket. For added comfort and the luxury of privacy one can also choose to book a private room aboard the ferry. One can easily book these tickets online via the 2go website.
There are three different ways to Coron from El Nido; namely via ferry, fastcraft and a passenger/cargo ship.
The 60-80 seater ferry takes between 5–9 hours depending on weather conditions. Cross your fingers for smooth sailing and pack a book, pack of cards and tasty snacks. Bunso and Jessabel are the names of the two ferry companies managing this route and they leave between 7:30am and 8am daily. Tickets cost PHP1,400 and can be purchased at the port, at your accommodation or at one of the many booking agencies in town.
Montenegro Lines operates a fastcraft boat that leaves for Coron from El Nido every morning at 6am. Tickets cost slightly more at PHP1,800 per person but get you to your destination in a speedy 3 and a half hours.
The third option is the cheapest alternative (PHP1000-PHP1150 per person) via a passenger/cargo ship but the unfortunate downside is that it only travels this 8 hour route on Wednesdays at 7:30am. MV May Lillies (Atienza Shipping) is the name of the ship and if heading to Coron from El Nido one can take this journey every Monday at 7am.
Getting to Coron from Boracay is also possible by flying Air Juan Airline. This small 9 seat charter airline flies this 45 minute route on Tuesdays and Fridays. This airline also offers flights from Puerto Princesa to Coron on the same days. A normal tickets cost around PHP6,500.
Are Coron Town and Busuanga a safe place to visit?
With the friendly, hospitable Filipinos welcoming you into Coron Town with their cheery dispositions and happy smiles, safety issues are fortunately of minimal concern. However, much like every destination, it’s always advisable to take the necessary precautions. If renting a motorbike it’s obviously paramount that you know how to drive it, always wear a helmet and are extra vigilant and careful.