3 days in Coron island hopping, karaoke-ing & stand up paddleboarding
Hot springs, island hopping, massages and karaoke – what more could you want from a beach holiday?
If you have a limited amount of time in the Philippines and want to escape to an idyllic beach paradise, Coron is only a short 45 minute plane ride away from Manila. One of the main islands making up Palawan, its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful seascapes also make it one of the most sought after holiday destinations for locals and tourists alike. We spent a total of 3 days in Coron, however would recommend a longer stay to explore the other neighbouring islands.
We’ve listed our list of places to see and things to do below for a rough 3 day itinerary in Coron.
|Maquinit Hot Springs||Coron Bancuang Mansion|
|06-Jan-15||Private Boat Hire through Calamianes||CYC Beach
|07-Jan-15||Hotel private vehicle hire||Busuanga Bay Lodge
|SM Aura||Bonifacio Global City|
Take a spin on a tricycle
Also known as a tuk tuk or auto rickshaw – the tricycle is basically a motorcycle with a fixed passenger sidecar. It is probably the easiest and most economical way to get around Coron. They’re relatively easy to find as they stand out; usually blasting loud 90s power ballads, festively decorated and named after a significant other or saint. Flag one down and negotiate the price with your driver.
Pimped up tricycles
Burn some calories climbing Mt Tapyas
If you want a 360 uninterrupted view of Coron island, you’ll need to conquer 700 steps to get to the summit of Mt Tapyas. Luckily, the hike up is made easier with concrete steps and rest benches along the way. Once people reach the peak, they tend to congregate at the main fenced lookout. However, if you take a stroll behind the cross, there are other lookout points to take more instagram worthy pictures from. Entry is free and we would recommend going at sunrise or sundown to catch the pretty lighting over the bay. No filter needed.
Views from Mt. Tapyas
Belt out some 80’s love songs
A visit to the Philippines wouldn’t be complete without a favourite local pastime – karaoke. Or videoke as they like to call it there.
We hired a karaoke room one evening at Coron Westown Resort. To fuel our 3 hour karaoke session and in between turns belting out Filipino faves from Air Supply, we feasted on a banquet washed down with San Migs to keep the confidence up (and perhaps drown the memories the next day!).
Get your paddle board on
Busuanga Bay Lodge is a secluded resort located on the opposite side of Coron Town. If privacy and relaxation is your main priority, this is probably a good option for accommodation. We visited the lodge for a quick lunch and to use their public facilities. Pool use at the resort was exclusive to hotel guests only, however there are still a few water activities that are available for the public such as kayaking, catamaran sailing, jet skiing and stand up paddleboard. We opted to hire the latter as the bay was enclosed and the waters still; perfect for exploring by SUP!
Bathe in a natural hot spring
Entrance fee | 150 Php
After a long wait from Manila at the airport and a bumpy ride to the hot springs, we were thankful for that first dip in the steaming hot pool. Maquinit Hot springs is a 30 minute drive from Coron Town down a rocky unpaved road. We arrived in the evening around 20:00 and it was quite packed with other tourists. This didn’t stop us from relaxing as the pool area was quite big and we didn’t feel like our personal space was being invaded.The bottom of the pool is pebbly and slippery at places with algae, so we recommend you wear scuba shoes if you plan to explore the perimeter. After about 21:00, most of the visitors leave, but it was high tide so the waters began to overflow – if you’ve left your footwear by the steps, just make sure they don’t drift off into the mangroves! The facilities were minimal with no showers and two bathrooms so you’ll have to rinse off back in your hotel.
Fee | 650 php per person
Calamianes Expeditions and Ecotours, 11 National Highway, Coron | +63 919 305 4363
Our hotel booked an island hopping tour for us through Calamianes Expeditions and Ecotours at 650 Php per person. We had a party of 5 and the minimum hire was 6 per boat so we just paid an additional 650 pHp to make sure we had our own private boat. They had a range of tours on offer, but we decided to go with the “Coron Island Ultimate Tour” as it seemed like it showcased the best of the islands and included lunch and beverages.
Our first stop on our island hop was CYC Beach. Surrounded by clear, shallow waters and mangroves framed around the island, the fine white sandy beach was a nice stop for a refreshing dip.
With the nearby Coron islands in the background – it makes for great landscape photo ops.
An unassuming formation of rocks called the Twin peaks hid a surprising underwater world. The visibility was good for snorkelling and there was a variety of coral and fish to keep us entertained for an hour or so before making our way to the next stop.
Nothing says paradise more like relaxing in a little bamboo hut precariously perched on a rocky slope, overlooking pristine blue waters. Aptly named kalachuchi (frangipani) beach, frangipani trees grew in abundance all over the island – this beach had the definition of paradise on point. We feasted on fresh fish and marinated pork chops cooked over an open fire grill, fresh seaweed salad, and rice cooked by our boat captain-cum-chef. After our satisfying island lunch, we climbed back down on the beach and marvelled at all the starfish that had made their way to shallow waters.
A short boat ride from Twin Peaks, was the hidden lagoon. We anchored in the middle of the lagoon, however we were all itching to get to Kayangan lake, so we asked our captain to make his way there instead to extend our stay.
Looking back on photos of Kayangan Lake never fails to fuel my insatiable appetite for wanderlust. Approaching the docking point for Kayangan lake, we could barely make out the rocky steps ascending up the side of the hill. We climbed up for around 10-15 minutes before descending again. Its a manageable ascent as there are guide rails framing most of the path. Enveloped by large rock formations dotted with green trees, the picturesque lake was something out of a painting with its impressive blue hues rippling on the water.
Near the shallow waters of CYC Beach // Fresh seafood lunch at Kalachuchi Beach //
Hidden Lagoon // Kayangan Lake // Clear waters of Kayangan Lake
|On your ascent to Kayangan lake, theres a lookout near one of the caves which overlooks the surrounding islands and docked boats|
|When you visit Maquinit Hot Springs, ho in the evening when it is cooler rather than the peak of the day to appreciate the warmth of the water|
|We highly recommend taking a taxi or hiring the hotel car instead of a tricycle to the hot springs to make your journey more comfortable|
|Pack snacks and lots of water when you go island hopping|
|Pack on the sunscreen during the day, and insect repellant at night (its a tropical island so you will be dinner for the mozzies)|