Palawan has some of the most beautiful beaches, not just in the Philippines, but in the world. I’ve visited the city of Puerto Princesa and Palawan municipalities El Nido and Coron, and I can personally attest they are the three most beautiful islands I have seen in my life—even after trips to several island destinations around the Philippines, and even beaches in other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the US.
Among the three, Coron, made of limestone, is my favorite. There’s so much to see, and after going on island-hopping adventures in all three islands, I can say the one I experienced in Coron is the best. I list some of the reasons why below—from the sights I saw to the resort where we stayed.
1. Coron Town
Our island-hopping adventure started and ended at Coron Town, which has a population of around 25,000. It is part of Busuanga Island, and both are part of Coron Island, which is a municipality of Palawan. Note that Coron Town is different from Coron Island. Coron Town has several souvenir shops and is the jump-off point for a lot of island-hopping tours. You can also go zip-lining here, by the way!
2. Siete Picados
One of the island-hopping stops is Siete Picados, a marine park that’s considered the best for snorkelling on the island, especially during low tide. You can see beautiful fish and corals as you snorkel on the clear blue waters. I was so amazed by the wide variety of colorful fish in varying sizes swimming just within my arms’ reach (it seems). Just be careful not to step on or hit sea urchin spines (those long black pointy spines seem so close!) and the sharp corals that are dangerously close during low tide. This site is so named because it’s made of seven limestone islands clustered in one area.
A closer look at one of the seven limestone islands that make up Siete Picados, where you can snorkel around
3. Twin Lagoons
My fiance and I at the first of two lagoons where our boat docked; we swam underneath the limestone wall to get to the second lagoon.
A great stop for swimming, the Twin Lagoons are composed of half fresh water and half salt water. We docked our boat on the first lagoon, and then had to swim underneath a huge limestone wall to get to the other side, where the second lagoon is. The second lagoon is where you can enjoy a relaxing swim, which is made interesting by its varying temperatures, thanks to the mix of salt water and fresh water. During high tide, there are makeshift ladders where tourists can climb to the other side of the large limestone formation separating the two lagoons. Make sure to wear your life vest here, as some parts are really deep.
4. Kayangan Lake
The famous view you get after a 150-step climb to the Kayangan Lake vista point
One of the most recognizable spots in Coron, Kayangan Lake is the stop where you can view the limestone peaks peeking out of bright turquoise waters after a 150-step hike to the vista point. From here, you will also have to take another 150 steps down to get to the lake. The lake’s fresh water is great for swimming.
The path going down to the lake
Kayangan Lake is ideal for swimming. You can also ask your guide to take you to little openings or caves in the limestone islands surrounding the lake.
Kayangan Lake is also where we stopped to have our delicious lunch prepared by the boatmen in one of the stilted huts by the entrance to the lake.
Nothing beats eating fresh seafood by the sea!
Good news: In case you missed it, Kayangan Lake has now REOPENED TO THE PUBLIC after temporarily being closed to tourists after two Czech tourists drowned when they went free diving. So yay, Coron visitors can once again enjoy this popular spot!
Tourist entrance to Kayangan Lake
5. Maquinit Hot Springs
Several pools of warm salt water make up Maquinit Hot Springs
After swimming, snorkeling, and hiking through different islands of Coron, the Maquinit Hot Springs is the perfect last stop to relax before going back to one’s hotel or resort. The hot spring is made of salt water, and what makes it hot is its proximity to a volcano, which is reportedly not active, no worries. It is said that taking a dip in the warm water is good for the skin, among other therapeutic benefits. I found it really relaxing and refreshing, and it felt like I just came from the sauna or a steam bath—heck, a hot tub—after soaking in each of the pools. It’s a great spot for photos! One can get to this tourist spot by boat or land (I’ve tried both, and I must say I prefer going there by boat).
The entrance to Maquinit Hot Springs if you go by boat
Club Paradise beachfront
It’s best to book your island-hopping tour through the resort where you are staying in Coron. In our case, it was Club Paradise. The resort staff took care of us from start to end, saving us the trouble of booking a random boat and guide for island hopping. Their staff is also equipped with a first-aid kit and are trained to administer first aid in case of emergencies. Ask for Kuya Noel, who takes great photos!
Kuya Noel’s first-aid kit and life vest for Club Paradise guests
From Club Paradise, one can get to the island-hopping jump off point after a 40-minute boat ride across the sea and through the Pangawaran River’s brackish water, an hour-long van ride, and another 20-minute boat ride.