When you think of the Philippines, I’m sure you’re picturing an island paradise and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Coron. Located in the province of Palawan, it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful island regions in the world and it definitely lives up to the hype. The Philippines is comprised of 7000 islands and Palawan has more than 1700 of these! How crazy is that? As you can imagine, this means there are so many stunning locations for you to discover. The only way to explore the beauty of Coron is to go island hopping. This is where you will find the incredible stretches of white sand, crystal clear water, imposing limestone cliffs and beautiful lagoons filled with marine life. You can either venture out on a group tour, or you can arrange your own boat for a private trip. We decided to hire a private boat and went to the port the evening before to make the arrangements. This worked out well, as we wanted to start our day early to try and avoid as many crowds as possible. If you hire a boat on the day, you’ll most likely have to wait for them to submit their manifest to the Coast Guard for approval, which will delay your departure.If you’re a fan of diving or snorkeling, you will love Coron, there are a lot of spots with varied marine life and reefs to see. There are also shipwrecks that you can explore. Personally, I prefer to visit beaches and picturesque places where I can relax and soak in the beauty, this helped us decide where to spend our time. We spend two glorious days island hopping, swimming in crystal clear waters, taking in the most incredible views and discovering pristine beaches. Coron Bay is an absolute tropical dream, filled with postcard places – I’m sure I said “this doesn’t look real” about 50 times a day! Since a lot of the islands in Coron Bay are about 1.5 hours from the port, you will find they are a bit quieter than the attractions around Coron island. Whilst we did meet other groups, you were able to find a relaxing spot to yourself, a total dream. Empty beaches and not an orange life jacket in sight haha. I would say these islands and sandbars were one of the highlights of our trip and absolutely worth the time it takes to get there!
Group Tour vs. Private Boat
Now you’ve decided you’ll be spending your time island hopping in Coron, the next decision will be whether you join a group tour or hire a private boat. If you’re on a strict budget, the obvious choice will be to join a group tour. The cost of a group tour will include the cost of entry to each attraction, lunch and soft drinks. You will be on a set schedule and visit the stops listed on the itinerary with up to 20 other people in the group (depending on boat size and tour operator). When you hire a private boat, there is a standard fee for the boat, the price depends on which area around Coron you would like to visit. You then need to pay an entry fee for each location per person. Food isn’t included, so a trip to the market to purchase food and drink is required. The captain and guide on the boat will cook lunch for you, when you are stopped at an island.I would seriously suggest taking a private boat, you can personalize your itinerary and stop at the attractions which appeal to you most. You are also able to avoid the crowds as much as possible by leaving early and going to the sites in a different order than most tours. For me, the additional cost is worth it to explore at your own pace. However, if you are on a budget do investigate the option of taking a private boat. If you have a group of friends, splitting the cost between you may work out the same price as a the day tours. Have you been to Coron or the Philippines? Let me know. xo