Hands up if you want to swim in the bluest and clearest lake in Asia? You would be silly not to want to dive under the water at the beautiful Kayangan Lake and look up at the cloudless blue sky where all you have to think about is getting those #wanderlust shots for Insta. If you missed the last post on the Island of Palawan, have a read here . Continuing on the tour of the stunning islands of the Philippines, let me introduce you to the Island of Coron.
Coron is about a 1-hour plane ride from the capital of the Philippines, Manila. There are actually. There are two places with the name of Coron in the Philippines. One is the name of the main town on Busuanga Island and the other is Coron Island which is a 30-minute ferry ride from Coron town on Busuanga. Coron is a small fishing village with a population of just over 40 000 people and it becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination for a number of reasons. So let me tell you why Coron Island should be added to your bucket list and why you will have the time of your life in this little slice of paradise.
What to Do?
Probably one of the most photographed places in the Philippines, looking out onto Kayangan Lake will be one of those ‘pinch me’ moments in your life. Taking the title of the clearest lake in Asia, this is a one of a kind natural wonder. One of the most popular images you see of Coron is not actually of the lake itself but of Coron Bay on the other side of the lake. This bay is popular for snorkelling and diving. It is home to some of the most colourful fish and coral in the world. It is a great place to get your diving license if you’re interested in becoming a certified diver and to start your underwater adventures.
A mostly secluded stretch of white sand and coconut filled palm trees. This beach is perfect for an afternoon under the sun. Remind yourself that it is never too early for a cocktail! This beach can be accessed through a half day or full day beach hopping tour. This includes pick up/drop off from your hotel and a tropical buffet picnic. There are also a number of hotels along the shore of Malcapuya Beach so if you want to live right on the water for a few days, weeks or whatever floats your boat look into staying in a private bungalow through Airbnb.
A smaller and more secluded lake next to Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake will make you feel truly close to nature. Look up at the tall limestone cliffs and hear the sounds of the jungle. An added perk of this lake is that is features hot springs and underwater mountains. Get ready to explore!
Break up those beach activities and surround yourself by a mangrove forest. This is home to a variety of brightly coloured birds and native wildlife. The most popular thing to do here is to take a kayak and paddle around the twisting and turning rivers.
Out at Coron Sea there are 12 sunken Japanese WWII warships that have formed an unmissable underwater experience. These spectacular aquatic views are listed in Forbes Traveller Magazine as one of the top 10 best scuba diving sites in the world.
A romantic lovers spot for you and your bae. Stroll arm in arm along the white sand beaches with your special someone before returning to your own private bungalow on the water.
Get ready to make your friends extremely jel with your perfectly curated or totally candid beach snaps! The water changes from crystal clear to bright turquoise to a deep midnight blue. This tiny island has a chilled af beach bar where you can order a variety of tutti frutti cocktails and work on your tan.
This beach is usually very quiet and is perfect for seaside picnics and splashing around in the warm shallows. Organise an island hopping tour at one of the many tourist and sightseeing shops in Coron town. Sometimes it is possible to personalise a private tour where you can dictate the time you want to spend at each location which means more time at quieter and less crowded beaches.
It’s worth the hike up all those steps to see a 360 view of the entire island. It is a gorgeous place to catch the sunset so make sure you go later in the day when it’s a little less hot and you can watch the sun go down over the horizon. Remember to bring a lot of water, sunscreen and wear a hat.
Coral Garden is home to rich biodiversity and is a marine lovers dream. This site offers diving depths of 40 meters which is totally surrounded by protected reef life. However, you need an Advanced Open Water certification to dive here. If you are not an experienced diver you can still snorkel here and see the beauty from the surface.
Maquinit Hot Springs
If you can handle the heat, come to Maquinit Hot Springs where the water reaches temperatures of up to 35-40 degrees. For a more pleasant experience come here at night and float in the water looking up at the starry night sky.
Where to Eat?
La Sirenetta Restaurant & Bar – Catch the ever-changing cotton candy skies at dusk over a feast of the best seafood on the island.
Winnie’s Restaurant – Traditional, cheap Filipino meals cooked with top quality love by local chefs. I recommend trying lechon (roasted pig), pancit (noodles), adobo (meat dish), kalderta (beef stew), bulalo (soup).
Altrove Restaurant – For a change in Asians meals, just for one night! Check out this popular Italian restaurant. They have the best wood-fired pizzas on the whole island.
Sinugba Sa Balay – A no fuss, quick service restaurant that serves Filipino and other Asian cuisines. They have a chalkboard menu of simple but tasty meals. You can’t go wrong with adobo, a meat dish of chicken or pork cooked in garlic, onions and other spices paired with rice.
Santiago’s Grill – Specialising in barbeque goodness head to Santiago’s Grill for a filling feed served on hot plates.
Lolo Nonoy’s Food Station– The cheapest feed you’ll find on the island. Simple but it does the trick.
Levine’s– Opposite Bay View Inn in Busuanga, this restaurant and bar looks out towards Coron Island and is the perfect sunset spot to grab a drink and enjoy some tofu and vegetable spring rolls with a vinaigrette sauce. You’ll keep coming back for more!
Where to Sleep?
Most accommodation on the island, if not all of them are very affordable so it all depends on your budget and how you want to travel. Do you want to stay at a resort or sleep backpacker style? Coron is a place where it’s super affordable to stay at a resort so if you want to live it up on your travels without the super expensive price tag, do it here.
How to Get There?
Coron town on Busuanga Island is a 1-hour flight from the capital, Manila. There are a couple of internal, local airlines that regularly fly to the island such as Cebgo and Skyjet. From Coron town, Coron Island is a 30-minute ferry ride.
Next up, how to have the time of your life on the Island of Cebu! In the meantime, check out our guide on the Island of Palawan, another tropical paradise destination just a 3-hour ferry ride from Coron.
Words by Tamara Bose.