Coron, Island hopping in the beautiful lakes and lagoons and Black Island

Staying in Coron is a must when you do a trip of more than 10 days in the Philippines :). It is a majestic island in the Philippines located in the North of Palawan. It is surrounded by lagoons with incredible turquoise waters. Explore the island over several days with boat trips. During the day get on a boat and travel from one island to an amazing beach and then to another island, discover wrecks and last but not least enjoy the dozens of snorkelling and or diving spots. It is called Island Hopping, these boat trips are known all over the world because they pass through breathtaking landscapes.

It is less touristy and less expensive than El Nido. We spent 4 days there. At a minimum we advise to spend at least 3 days to have time to enjoy it!

We are telling you everything about our trip on this island: how we organised our our 4 days, what was worth to do, our top 3, our favourite restaurants etc. The key spots we visited are the following: the Mont Tapyas, Black Island, Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Twin Lagoon, Calachuchi Beach and the Reef & wreck tour with Lunsong Coral garden and Pass Island.

Day 1 – Welcome to Coron, the Mont Tapyas

We took a domestic flight from Cebu City to Coron around 10.00am. Several airlines does this journey (e.g Cebu Pacific, Philippines airline). We’ve just stayed in Cebu City for one night and we decided not to visit that city.

At the beginning of the afternoon, we landed in Coron. Many van drivers were waiting at the airport and one of them was assigned to our hotel. We weren’t expecting that. The cost was 300 PHP for both of us. We dropped our baggages then we went to explore the city – there are many shops, many restaurants, and of course many diving centres and travel boat tours. 

We went in the town to discover and compare the different options for island hopping. After walking in the streets and discovered so many options, we stopped at a coffee shop. It was almost overwhelming and difficult to know which one to choose.

Mont Tapyas

Around 5.00pm we climbed the Mont Tapyas. In total, there are 721 steps. No worry, it is a very easy walk and there is fresh water sellers every 100 steps and of course at the top of the hill. It is an amazing view of Coron.

It was a perfect spot to watch a beautiful sunset. Just a tip, don’t leave once the sun is gone, the best colours are coming 15 minutes after with some nuance of orange and of pink. It is easy to go back down as there are lights so it is not completely dark. 

We had diner in a recently new healthy restaurant – Kulay Bowls – they have several options and you can make your own bowl for only 340 PHP. If you want to discover our recommandations where to eat in Coron – read this post.

Day 2 – the Reef & wreck tour

Early wake up to enjoy a breakfast with a nice view over Coron. For that day we picked the Reef & wreck tour, which is a great one for snorkelling. As we booked our tour the day before, a van came to pick us up at 7.45am. We arrived at the port at 8.05am. Finally, we left the port around 8.45am. You need to get used to it but in the Philippines everything goes slowly …! We were only 8 of us on the boat, which is small for a grouped tour. This was also a reason why we chose this tour to avoid the crowd. There are only 4 spots for the day but they are quite far away from Coron.

It took us about 1h30 to get to the first one – the Skeleton wreck. To get down deep enough at the level of the wreck you will need to dive about 7 meter. There were not many fishes. We didn’t stay there long.

Then the second stop was the Lunsong Gun Boat from WWII. Just by putting the head in the water you can see it as it less than 1 meter deep. There was a few more fish to see and some colourful corals!

The next stop was amazing – the Lunsong Coral Garden – it was one of the best snorkelling stop of our entire trip in the Philippines. There were many fishes – different kinds, colours, sizes. And so many bright colourful corals – pink, purple, blue, yellow! It was awesome! We stayed there about one hour. We definitely recommend this stop if you go to Coron.

Pass island

The next and last stop was Pass Island. There were only a few boats when we arrived there. It was our lunch destination – fresh fish, mussels, vegetables and fruits.

And then we flew the drone to get beautiful photos and videos. It looks like a postcard.

The way back to Coron was about 1h45 but it definitely worth it ! 

We looked at Google ratings to try to identify which companies to avoid. We booked our tour with one the most popular and recommended one: Calamian Islands Travel & Tours. But we don’t really recommend it. Our guide wasn’t very friendly and it is one of the most expensive one. The service was average and most likely similar to others. We paid 1600 PHP/person for this tour – Reefs & wreck. As mentioned above it was one of the most expensive tour company, you can get it the same for 1400/1500 PHP. You can negotiate the price in some companies around 100 PHP/person.

We went for a local diner at Lobster King. It is a restaurant were local can gather as they have huge tables. We didn’t try their speciality which is the lobster but we recommend the Kinilaw, a local fresh seafood salad quite similar to a ceviche. 

Day 3 – Island Hopping with private boat

Initially we decided to go to Black island on that day but due to the weather forecast we changed our plan. We decided to go on an island hopping tour as we wanted to see Coron’s key highlights with the sun.

Island hopping with a private boat is a MUST :). We definitely recommend to treat yourself with this amazing experience. Our day was hectic. We stoped at the 6 following spots – Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake, Smith Beach, Twin Lagoon, Calachuchi Beach. We also explained why it is worth to get a private boat, what was our budget. Finally we also add the details of our guide. For more details about our hectic day – look at our dedicated post – Island hopping with a private boat at Coron.

We didn’t regret one second our choice of selecting a private boat. We visited the key highlights with almost no tourists around. It gave us so much flexibility on where to go, how long to stay etc. As our guide kept repeated us « time is yours ».

We left the port of Coron around 8.00am and came back at 4.00pm. It was incredible. We have so many great memories.

To finish this perfect day, we enjoyed an happy hour at Sharky’s bar with some nachos. We didn’t eat there but the portions looked very generous! 

Day 4 – Black Island

How to go to Black Island from Coron?

Direction Black Island. It was very hard to find some information on the best way to go there. Just to let you know, it is a kind of expedition to reach this island! We rented a scooter from Coron, then drove for about 1h30 to Salvacion. There are no towns along the way but we crossed 2/3 small villages. Just a tip – we recommend to fill your fuel tank in full before leaving Coron as there are not many petrol stations until Salvacion. There are just some small shops and you may find gas bottles there.

We arrived in Salvacion around 10:30am. Salvacion is small and it is easy to hire a private boat, you just need to go to the port. The price for the boat is negotiable. We paid 2500 PHP for the boat. And then we went at the food market with our scooter (5 minutes from the harbour). You can buy vegetables, fruits, fish, meat! The boat was small and there was no space for a barbecue but there is a big barbecue on Black island.

Rate of boat hire from Salvacion, private boat rate, Black island
Rate of boat hire from Salvacion

The journey to Black island is about 1 hour. When we arrived at 12.00pm, the blue sky started disappearing! We decided to fly the drone before the sun was gone.

Black Island

Black Island

Then we ate our lunch that had been cooked by our captain. For information, there are cottages on the beach that you can use – it is 150 PHP per cottage. Otherwise, there is a table to eat just next to the barbecue for free.

As it began to rain, we visited the cave. It is interesting but nothing special, we only spent 10 minutes there. We seated on the beach protected by a palm tree hopping for the rain to stop ;)!

We saw some adventurous paddlers despite the rain. When the rain subsided, we decided to go snorkelling. There are a lot of fish from different size and colour and some starfishes. Due to the wind and the waves, the visibility was a bit obstructed. However, snorkelling is one of the best activity to do when it is raining as you don’t feel the rain!

And then we were super lucky as the sun came back to enjoy the last hour on the beach :).

At 3.15pm, our captain asked us to leave. Once we reached the port, we rode our scooter back to Coron to catch the last sunset. There are nice spot to stop on the road with beautiful panorama.

Back to Coron

We stopped for a selfie with the nice view but with one second of negligence and …. I won a new tattoo :((! It was my first time in scooter for this trip and I got too close to the exhaust and burnt myself on the ankle. We always travelled with a first aid kit but we didn’t have antiseptic cream so we bought some when we reached Coron.

We finished the drive as fast as possible to arrive on a time for a perfect sunset at Levine’s eatery. They have a great rooftop perfect for a nice cocktail after an epic day!

Coron, Sunset spot, Sunset at Levine's eatery
Sunset at Levine’s eatery.

We had dinner in a simple coffee shop. And finally we enjoyed a deserved carrot cake at Summer coffee – it is was so tasty :). You have to go there to try it ;).

Top 3

  • Sunset view at the Mont Tapyas – the view is spectacular. 
  • Secret Lagoon – we had been so lucky as we had this amazing spot with an individual hut just for ourself for our lunch. It was a dream. 
  • Island hopping with a private boat – it is a must. We definitely recommend to treat yourself with this amazing experience. Our day was hectic. 

Our hotel

Skylodge Resort, View on Coron
Skylodge Resort

We stayed at Skylodge Resort but we were not super happy with the hotel. There are plenty of options. Just a reminder as mentioned in the post where we described our budget, Coron is one of the most expensive island in the Philippines (after El Nido). So even simple hotel can be around 3500 PHP/night. Just make sure you’re not too far from the city centre otherwise you will have to travel in tricycle all the time. We also recommend to book your hotel in advance because this island can be crowded in the peak season and some hotels are full several months in advance.

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