This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure.
DAY 1 - VISIT CORON TOWN AND ITS MARKET
If you`re staying in Coron town for longer than 2 days, you might want to get acquainted to this small village, where tourists and locals rub shoulders continuously as the majority of the inhabitants are working in the tourism industry – in restaurants and cafes, diving shops, organized tours, accommodations and anything related to these businesses.
Start with the local market which is a hub of everything local, from the myriads of tricycles parked in front of the entrance to the tropical fruits and veggies showcased in every stall – luckily for us, we had a crush culinary course by some Filipinos so we learnt how to cook banana flowers, coconut and guyabano and could replicate some basic food preparation with these tasty ingredients.
Local market in Coron town - the hub for everything local - Philippines
DAY 2 - ISLAND HOPPING
The most popular activity you can do in Coron Island is Island Hopping, of course – you can choose among different daily tours categorized by letters (Tour A, B, C and so on). All tours have the same identical itineraries, stops and price – it’s quite frustrating going around town asking for different itineraries as you will only be offered very expensive private tours. Unless you are in a group of 5 or more people, private tours are quite expensive and we have been told some popular stops like Twin Lagoon only opens to visitors around 8 am so you have to rush to the place to have it for yourself for a short time before the organized tours start to throw up lots of tourists at the most popular destinations.
The inviting waters in Coron Island, Palawan (Philippines)
After checking pretty much all companies in Coron town, we booked our island hopping with Coron Galeri – Calamianes Expeditions Ecotours which offered a slightly different package (similar to the Ultimate Tour) at the cheapest price we could get. As it only included 6 stops, we added Twin Lagoon for an additional charge on the day and unfortunately, it wasn’t worth it.
Personally, we enjoyed only half of the stops we took, especially the ones where no other boat was around such as at the Secret Lagoon and at Siete Pecados. We struggled with overcrowded stops such as the Twin Lagoons and Kayangan Lake which are indeed beautiful but full of people floating aimlessly in their orange life-vests. Lunch was served on Calachuchi Beach which was a nice quiet stop away from the crowds and was good quality.
Overall, we do not recommend island hopping if you would like to avoid touristy clichés and hordes of people fighting for space. Aim for more unique experiences such as sleeping overnight on an isolated island like we’ve done during our volunteering experience – you will appreciate the Calamianes Islands much more!
Lake Cagayan on Coron Island during island hopping, Philippines
DAY 3 - DIVING THE II WORLD WAR WRECKS
This is by far the best experience we had in Coron – in 1944 an American Air raid sunk 24 Japanese ships, however only 12 wrecks have been discovered so far. They are at quite shallow depth (between approx. 12m and 30m) and covered by corals and swarm with tropical fish, so perfect for any recreational diver (better if you have your Advanced Diving License)!
Some wrecks are very big (up to 160m) and you can explore the interior in depth accompanied by an experienced Master diver. Bring a torch and an underwater camera and enjoy the ride.
We used the company Amphibi-ko Center which has been recommended by a friend – prices for 3 dives per one day are the same all over the city as companies can not offer different packages. Just check the equipment is well maintained, clean it again and again if unsure as I got a mouth infection after diving and I`m pretty sure it was for the mouthpiece being not properly clean. Also double check all torches have full batteries as one of our friends had to abandon the dive because her torch was not working!
Wreck diving in Coron island, Palawan (Philippines)
DAY 4 - MORNING RIDE AND EVENING WALK TO MOUNT TAPYAS
You can rent a motorbike as low as PHP500 per day andexplore the island at your own pace – Busuanga is a big island and distances might be tricky. In one very warm morning we only covered the distance from Coron town to Conception. We heard good things about Ocam Ocam beach but we did not bother to go on our trip as the tide was very low (double check the tide before going, otherwise you end up walking on corals!).
We stopped to the beautiful waterfall of Conception before heading back – a lovely spot for a refreshing bath, but be careful: there were lots of water snakes when we were there, so no bath for us!
TIP – If you are running out of gasoline, you can buy few bottles at one of the small shops along the road – sometimes it is not evident they are selling gasoline bottles so keep an eye out. They resell gasoline at a slightly higher price so be prepared to spend something extra for this service.
Mount Tapyas is definitely one of the best view in town and good exercise too! When we were staying in Coron town, we got the habit of running up the 700 steep stairs to the summit just before each sunset – some of the best sunset colours we’ve ever seen in the Philippines!
TIP – Bring plenty of water to the top and your camera, of course.
Hurray to this stunning sunset on Mount Tapyas, Coron Town, Philippines
DAY 5 - MOUNT DALARA (OR TUNDALARA)
A challenging, though rewarding hike to the summit of Mt Dalara (or Tundalara for some locals). Take a tricycle from Coron and prepare for a very bumpy ride to the Mabintangen dam – from there you have to walk approximately another kilometer to the beginning of the track. Make sure you agree on a fixed price for the return ride with the driver and agree on a pick up time (take the driver’s phone number so you can call just before finishing the hike).
You will pass through dense jungle forest for the first two hours. The path is reasonably well maintained and is quite steep in some points. Once you get above the tree line, you have only 30 minutes left of steep climb through high grass before reaching the huge repeater on the top of the mountain – there is always a controller at the tower, taking turns with colleagues every week, and a cute puppy was also there to welcome us.
The views from the top are majestic – you can see Coron town and Mt Tapyas and pretty much the whole Busuanga and Coron Islands on a clear day. Worth every drop of sweat!
TIP – Start this hike as early as possible in the morning to avoid the excessive heat in the warmest time of the day. If you start early enough (4am) you can even glimpse the sunrise on Busuanga Island and beyond.
Flying high on Mount Dalara over Coron Town and beyond - Busuanga Island, Philippines