Palawan is a long island in the Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines. Blessed with exceptional beauty, it’s a perfect example of paradise for both tourists and locals. Among its most well-known tourist spots are Coron and El Nido.
Coron is a big chunk of an island located on the Northern side of Palawan. El Nido is another place in the North but it’s made up of different islands and islets. Both are great destinations to escape the hustle and bustle of urban concrete jungles.
If you are looking for a nice getaway, these islands in Palawan won’t cease to amaze you. These are perfect destinations for adventure-seekers and nature aficionados. Don’t miss the chance to experience the irresistible attractions on this side of the tropics.
Coron is one of the largest Calamian islands in Northern Palawan. It’s in the Southern part of Busuanga Island and across Coron bay, you’ll find Culion island. Though the two islands are bigger than Coron, the size doesn’t affect Coron island’s special kind of beauty.
There’s no shortage of amazing tourist destinations in the Palawan region. But some things separate Coron from the rest of them. Despite the remnants of a dark past, Coron has turned a World War II wreckage into a popular diving spot.
Aside from enjoying the diving experience, you can also have a quick history rundown. You will find one of the Philippines’ cleanest lakes in Coron. After an exciting yet tiring day, hot springs in Coron can help in soothing your body and soul.
What Makes Coron Unique
Historical Diving Spot
Between the islands of Coron and Culion, the waves of Coron Bay can be seen. Beneath its clear waters, you’ll find 12 sunken ships from the World War II era. Those wrecked ships will remind you how destructive war can be.
Fast forward to the modern day, this spot in Coron Bay has turned into a popular tourist destination. The wreckage of the past can still give you chills, but the sense of adventure can still excite you. The chance to explore will turn negative feelings into positive ones.
History books do let readers know how brutal Imperial Japan was back in the day. Under Emperor Hirohito’s rule, Japanese forces didn’t hold back when it came to death and destruction. Filipinos fought back and had the American forces on their side until Japan surrendered in 1945.
Instead of making you feel down and out, remind yourself that you’re here for the thrill of exploration and learning. If you’re an underwater junkie and you’re also a fan of history, this popular diving spot is for you. Taking a deep dive there will give you a short history lesson and a refreshing experience.
For newbie divers, there are dive centers that offer open-water diving courses. Diving equipment and food are all included in a dive package. Make sure that your gear’s working properly before taking a plunge into the deep water.
There’s no need to worry as it’s the local pro divers’ job to keep you safe. Don’t skip this memorable experience especially if you’re an adventurous and curious person. Being an underwater Indiana Jones doesn’t sound so bad after all.
Coron takes pride in having Kayangan Lake in their territory. Located between the islands of Uson and Coro, its pristine condition is something to behold. Kayangan Lake is not only the cleanest lake in the Philippines but the cleanest one in Asia too.
A boat trip includes the said lake as one of the trip’s destinations. You can argue that it’s even the highlight of that boat trip. But to fully experience its beauty, you’ll need to take 300 or so steps first during the hike.
The climb is not very steep and stairs had been constructed to make everything easier and safer. It’ll take some energy and stability to successfully finish the uphill obstacle. But the payoff is worth the effort because Kayangan’s clear water will leave you speechless.
Come and visit Kayangan Lake to witness one of nature’s purest places. Aside from the exciting hike, some of the fun things you can do are swimming, diving and snorkeling.
Saltwater Hot Springs
After a day of hiking, diving, and snorkeling, you’ll need a short break to recharge. Your body’s probably aching for a relaxing dip in a hot spring. Coron Island can’t wait to introduce you to the hot springs of Maquinit.
This place is no ordinary hot spring pot. The springs in Maquinit are among the rarest hot springs in the world. Compared to countless hot springs out there, Maquinit is a saltwater hot spring.
Hot springs usually have groundwater in them. The geothermal heat of the water is produced by magma in most volcanic areas. Lake Kayangan is a volcanic mountain lake so the presence of hot springs will not surprise you.
Palawan is a Philippine island that belongs to the Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanic formations are common in the Philippines. Since Maquinit is in a place surrounded by saltwater, the hot springs there have the same type of water.
Saltwater is good for exfoliation, a process that removes dead skin cells. It’s tempting to stay in a hot spring to reap such a skin benefit. But overexposure to hot water can lead to dry skin and itchiness so take a nice bath without overdoing it.
To enjoy a dip in Maquinit’s cleansing springs, you need to make a reservation. The management of these springs only entertains a hundred tourists every 2 hours. A dip in these wonderful springs of Coron will cost you 2 to 4 USD.
As far as temperature is concerned, Maniquit springs’ water is around 38.8 to 40°C (102 to 104 °F). The said temperatures are good for relaxing and cleansing baths. Please don’t take a dip for too long so that you can avoid drying out your skin.
If hiking is your thing, Mount Tapyas is an awesome destination for you. Technically, Mount Tapyas is not a mountain but a 688-foot (210 m) hill. On its summit, there’s a 360-degree platform where you can enjoy the view.
The letters for the name of Coron Island are also there and in a way reminiscent of the Hollywood sign. People visit this place to witness the jaw-dropping scenery and bittersweet but still beautiful sunset. It’ll take 700 steps to get to the top but your effort will not end up in vain.
The hike itself is safe and not very difficult anyway so there you go. As long as you’re not flailing wildly like a mad person, you’re going to do just fine. Remember that you’re in the tropical region so take your water flask with you to battle the thirst.
A hat and sunscreen application are also helpful since unprotected exposure to the sun can harm your skin. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes to avoid tripping or sliding as you’re making your way to the top. The view at the top is postcard worthy so bring a camera with you for a souvenir.
The great news is there’s no entrance fee to climb Mount Tapyas. Though the sunset is something to tell your friends about, the sunrise in Coron is equally beautiful. Put Mount Tapyas on your list of destinations and you will not regret the beauty that awaits you.
Aside from Puerto Princesa and Coron, El Nido is another great place you can go to in Palawan. While Coron is one big island, El Nido is made up of several islands and beaches. Some of the most popular spots are the 7 commandos, Las Cabanas, Shimizu, and Cadlao.
If you think that Coron is a piece of paradise in the Southeast, El Nido is just as precious. The beautiful beaches make you wish that your home possesses the same kind of allure. El Nido’s jungles and limestone cliffs are worth visiting due to the awesome visuals and feelings they give.
Nature lovers will have a grand time in El Nido. A vacation there is a way of connecting and bonding with nature once again. Solo travelers, couples, families, and friends are all welcome to visit one of Palawan’s best places.
What Makes El Nido Unique
A trip to El Nido won’t be complete without visiting the waterfalls of Nagkalit-Kalit. The fresh air and water are perfect for those who want a clean break from stressful routines. Before getting a chance to marvel at its awesomeness, you’ll need to take a 30- to 40-minute hike.
It’s better to wear flip-flops with a strong and reliable grip because there are wet areas along the way. If you don’t want to walk around with wet hiking shoes, leave them in your hotel room. With determination and care, you’re going to reach this wonderful spot in El Nido.
The walk or hike to the falls is already exciting because of the cool breeze in the forest. Don’t worry about getting lost because a guide is assigned to help the tourist traverse the territory. When you reach the falls, take a dip in the shallow parts of the natural pool.
It’s a great spot for a picnic so it’s okay to bring some food there. Don’t forget to keep the area clean. The clean and cool water will refresh your body and fill your heart with joy. Don’t mess with the strong current of the falls if you can, for safety reasons.
Las Cabanas Beach
When your feet are aching to walk on white sand, Las Cabanas will take care of that. Aside from white sand and clean water, this beach is also a perfect place to watch the sunset. Accessibility is also one of its advantages because it’s only a tricycle ride away from El Nido town.
Some beaches will test your endurance before you reach them. Las Cabanas on the other hand gives you a more relaxed and convenient option for a beach vacation. Hotel accommodations are also available here if you’re planning a longer stay.
If you’re not a big fan of island-hopping and prefer to stay in one place, Las Cabanas has got you covered. White sand, beautiful beaches, picture-perfect sunsets, and accessibility are its strongest points. Enjoy your Piña Colada while watching the cinematic beauty of an El Nido sunset.
Cadlao Island’s Secret Beaches
Las Cabanas is a good destination for those who like convenience and accessibility. For those who have more adventurous spirits, the secret beaches are waiting to be explored. If you’re an island hopper, the secret beaches around Cadlao, El Nido, will get the explorer in you thrilled.
Aside from the great beach scenery, Cadlao island allows you to see the amazing wildlife there. The island is home to massive lizards, monkeys, and hornbill birds. To reach the said secret portion of paradise, you’ll need to rent a kayak.
Carrying plastic bottles is prohibited as a way of preserving the island’s cleanliness and ecosystem. But you can take your favorite water flask with you to quench your thirst. You’re also allowed to bring your camera to capture this place’s serene condition.
Since El Nido is made up of different islands, there’s another thrilling way to experience island-hopping. You can take yourself for a ride on Las Cabanas and Nacpan’s zip lines to get a better view of the islands. If you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush, these zip lines can scratch that itch.
The best time to get this kind of island experience is during sunset when the tropical heat is more bearable. El Nido’s beauty is more emphasized when the sun is about to set. This memorable and thrilling zip line experience will cost you 8 to 16 USD.
Don’t forget to wear your safety gear and don’t try to pull off a risky stunt or prank. Do not jump or get off a platform unless you’re instructed to do so. You can scratch that itch for adventure without compromising safety by cooperating with the people in charge.
Which Is Better – Coron or El Nido?
Coron and El Nido are both great tourist destinations, so choosing one over the other ain’t easy. Because Coron and El Nido are among the best tourist spots in Palawan, the better place depends on what you’re looking for or what you prioritize.
If you’re on a tight budget, Coron is a cheaper destination. Accommodation is not as lavish as what El Nido has to offer. But in Coron, you can have a wonderful experience with nature and its people without spending a fortune.
Coron is more accessible because it’s only 30 minutes away from Busuanga Airport. Chartered flights are available for trips to El Nido, but they’re comparatively more expensive. If you’re willing to splurge for a vacation in El Nido, it’s completely up to you and your budget.
Coron and El Nido are almost equal as far as natural beauty is concerned. When it comes to accessibility and affordability, Coron is a more favorable place. El Nido is a more luxurious destination so bringing some extra funds is probably a good idea.
Which Is More Beautiful – Coron or El Nido?
Coron and El Nido are both gorgeous spots in Palawan. They’re great places for adventure and exploration. But Coron is preferred by tourists who are looking for a cheaper and more accessible option.
If you’re on a long vacation and you have enough budget, you can try visiting El Nido so you can get a fuller experience of what Palawan has to offer. As far as beauty is concerned, Coron and El Nido are equal.
Which Is Cheaper – Coron or El Nido?
Most things in Coron are cheaper compared to El Nido. Food, souvenirs, and accommodations in Coron are very budget-friendly. A trip to El Nido on the other hand is considered by many as luxurious.
Coron or El Nido for Family
As wonderful as El Nido is, a vacation there is not going to be cheap. Especially when you’re with a group of people like your family. Coron is an equally good destination, albeit the hotels and restaurants there are not as fancy.
Both Coron and El Nido are perfect for summertime activities. El Nido is an island-hopping paradise but it’s, in a way, risky for small children. To keep your family safe and to prevent your budget from bleeding dry, Coron is a cheaper destination.
Coron or El Nido for Honeymoon
If you and your sweetheart are on a honeymoon, both Coron and El Nido are good places to visit. The choice depends on what you prefer to do on your honeymoon. For couples who just want to relax and watch the sunset romantically, El Nido is a good choice.
The availability of hotels and restaurants is among El Nido’s strengths. Zip-lining and island-hopping are also some of this place’s highlights. Coron is preferable for adventure-seeking couples who don’t like to spend so much money.
El Nido is not cheap and not easily accessible. If you’re willing to pay extra, it’ll be a perfect honeymoon spot. For couples who are not into fancy honeymoon stuff though, Coron is a better and cheaper place. It all boils down to budget and preference.
Is Coron and El Nido the Same?
Coron and El Nido share the same kind of climate with a healthy presence of wildlife and forestation. The most obvious difference between the two is their structure. El Nido is a group of scattered islands and Coron is a big and compact island. Both places are similar but also different in small ways.
El Nido to Coron
El Nido and Coron are 171.8 miles (276.5 km) apart. The most common way to travel from El Nido to Coron is through a ferry trip. Flights are recently becoming more available, but plane tickets are pricier than ferry tickets.
Aside from the ferry and plane, you can also book a boat trip. There are cheap yet slow boat trips and fast but pricier boat trips. Private boat rides offer a fast and distraction-free journey from El Nido to Coron and vice versa. It’s also the most expensive type of boat trip available in the area.
El Nido to Coron Ferry Booking
There is a ferry trip from Coron to El Nido and vice versa but it’s only available once a day. Departure time is usually around 8 AM and the arrival time is 2 to 5 PM so punctuality is a must. For a more convenient and secure transaction, you can make online bookings/reservations.
How Much Is the Ferry From El Nido to Coron?
The fare for a ferry trip is around 25 to 27 USD per person. 25 USD for an economy ticket and 27 to 27.50 for an air-conditioned passenger lounge ticket. Ferry rides are usually slow, but they’re more affordable than plane tickets.
How Long Is the Ferry From El Nido to Coron?
A ferry trip from El Nido to Coron takes 6 to 9 hours. If you’re in a rush and willing to pay extra, you may want to consider buying a plane ticket. A slow ferry ride ain’t so bad if you want to relax and watch the sea’s calmness while you’re on board.
Coron to El Nido Boat Trip
It’ll take 6 to 9 hours to travel from Coron to El Nido on a slow boat trip. The fast boat option can lessen the travel time to 3 hours. But a fast boat trip’s minimum cost is 37 USD while a slow boat fare starts at 27 USD.
Slow and fast boat trips usually involve a group of passengers. You have to pay extra for a fast travel time. If you don’t want to travel with a group, you can book a fast and private boat trip.
Private Boat From Coron to El Nido
A private boat trip is a fast and hassle-free way to travel from Coron to El Nido. You can put your feet up and watch the sea without getting distracted by strangers. But private boat trips usually cost 200 USD or more, so make sure that your funds can handle the steep price.