How to get there
Montenegro Shipping Lines
On our way to Coron, we had to go with the Phimal Ferry since Montenegro was all booked up due to the typhoon, and it was honestly a pretty rough journey. On the way out of Coron, however, we were determined to go with a different boat this time around, so we chose to travel with Montenegro and couldn’t have been happier with that choice.
The whole check-in process was an ease, the extra leg room was amazing, and it felt 10x safer than any other ferry we took in the Philippines! I was seriously impressed with their standards, and will always choose them for my future Philippines trips. The trip between Coron and El Nido (and vice versa) takes approximately 4 hours, so my advice is to bring some snacks, water, and maybe a motion sickness pill if the seas are choppy that day.
We ended up booking our ferry through a website called Biyaheroes, and I highly recommend using them for all your Philippines planning - There are over 7,000 islands in the Philippines, and trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B can be a serious challenge, so Biyaheroes can save you some serious stress!
I only discovered them during our last week in the Philippines, but it saved me so much research and planning time. All you do is type in your origin, destination, date you want to travel, and they do the rest for you! The website will show you how to get there (land, sea, or air), the cost of the trip, and how many seats are available. A true lifesaver when it comes to planning out your travels, and I only wish I found them sooner.
Where to Eat
When we’re traveling, there are some things we splurge on and some things we try to do on a budget. Food is just one of those budget things for us, and we usually don’t have a problem finding a good cheap spot for food. Coron proved to be a bit more of a challenge though. It could be that we didn’t have a bike and couldn’t venture out of the main town, but we did find one place that we became absolutely obsessed with, and that’s FoodTrip.
Located just a few minutes from the boat tour pier, we discovered FoodTrip on day 3, and I kid you not, we ate lunch and dinner there for the next 5 days straight. They even knew our exact order by our third visit. I ate chicken fried rice for pretty much every meal (once I find a food I like I pretty much stick with it 😂), and for a giant plate it only cost 120 pesos, or roughly $2.20 usd). The local restaurants tend to have huge portions compared to the more popular western places, so you really get the most “bang for your buck”. And after a full day out on the water, there’s nothing you’ll want more than a big ol’ plate of food!
Where to Stay:
For the ultimate relaxation experience in Coron, you NEED to stay with Casa Fidelis. Located about 20 minutes outside the main town, Casa Fidelis is a jungle oasis and one of the best accommodation experiences you’ll have while in the Philippines. The rural property is surrounded by lush jungles and home to the sweetest staff i’ve ever met, along with adorable cats, kittens, and dogs. Also a freaking amazing breakfast spread! For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that this is my idea of heaven. If you’re in the mood to get away from the crowds and re-connect with nature, this is an idyllic spot for you. Dom and I went out on one of their 3 Philippine-style boats on our last day in Coron, and I kid you not, it was our favorite day of our whole time in Palawan. Words can’t even do it justice, but i’ll give it my best shot below where I compare our private Coron tour with Casa Fidelis to our group tour with one of the tour companies.
If you’re in the mood to stay somewhere a little closer to town, we stayed at a little homestay found on Airbnb called Ina Homestay. We stayed there approximately a week, and had no complaints! It had everything we needed: good wifi (until more people checked in, to our dismay!), a super comfy bed, a spacious room, and even had a shared kitchen so we could make coffee and breakfast on the days we stayed there. Random tip: Blanca coffee is THE BEST coffee i’ve had in the Philippines, and it’s like 20 pesos per packet, so make sure to stock up on some for your travels. The only minor downfall of our stay at Ina’s was a shared bathroom, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not so bad if everyone else is respectful of cleanliness. Ina Homestay is located just a quick walk from the main town, so it’s a great place to stay if you want something central and within walking distance from all the restaurants and shops.
Private vs Group Tour
We went on a couple different tours in Coron so we were able to compare the positives and negatives of each. Our first tour was a private tour with a local guy we met at the pier, our second tour was a group tour with a tour company, and our third tour (and by far the best), was our day on the water with Casa Fidelis.
Private tour with casa fidelis
I will try to keep this short, sweet and to the point, but it’s going to be pretty hard considering I have a million great to say about our day with Casa Fidelis. We decided on a big snorkeling day, consisting of visits to WWII shipwrecks, lunch on a small yet unbelievably photogenic island, and a vibrant snorkeling sesh at Coral Garden. The verdict: AMAZING.
Our day started at 7am where we had the best breakfast spread we could've asked for - scrambled eggs, toast, fluffy American-style pancakes, a fruit platter, coffee, and loads of other delicious breakfast foods. If that wasn’t enough, we were also greeted by around 10 cats and kittens after our breakfast, and from that point on, I knew my day was going to be a great one.
After breakfast we headed down to the water where the Casa Fidelis boat was docked, and met our Captain for the day. Our first stop was a Japanese shipwreck where we snorkeled among the fish, splashed around the warm waters, and took GoPro shots of us diving down towards the boat. To top it all off, we were the ONLY boat at that wreck, so it felt eerie yet awesome to be the only ones snorkeling around something so impressive. Our second shipwreck was the more popular American shipwreck, and since we arrived around 10am, the water was crystal clear and you could see the whole ship. There were a few other boats there at that point, but we hardly noticed the other people while we were awestruck by the sight of the coral-covered wreck.
We then hopped back on the boat towards our lunch spot for the day, and boy were we in for a surprise. Lunch was served on Pass Island, and upon pulling up, I was speechless. The water was shockingly blue, the sand a blinding white, and the island was covered in tall palms full of coconuts. We were served fresh seafood, chicken and rice, veggies, a seaweed salad, fresh fruit, and water from a young coconut. The food combined with an absolutely epic view made it the most memorable lunch i’ve ever had. If you have the time, I HIGHLY recommend making a stopover at Pass Island to check it out. Our final stop of the day was a spot called Coral Garden, which once again, blew me away. We hopped off the boat into a deep drop-off, and swam our way over to the vibrant coral. We were yet again the only ones snorkeling, so we felt like royalty having such an impressive reef all to ourselves. It seemed as if the fish knew, because we spotted a turtle, a lion fish, and hundreds of brightly-colored fish who weren’t even afraid of us!
Ultimately, our day out on the water with Casa Fidelis was incredible. We had great - no, AMAZING food, breathtaking sights, the best guides, and a whole boat to ourselves for the entire day! I was so sad for the day to end, but it’s something i’ll remember forever. If you need more convincing, Dom put together a quick vlog of our day out on the water with Casa Fidelis which you can find on YouTube. We’re embarrassingly excited, so don’t judge us too harshly!
private tour with a local
For our very first trip, we were trying to get the most bang for our buck, so after reading a couple blogs and practicing my bargaining skills, Dom and I set off for the pier to go find ourselves a boat. We talked to a few guys offering tours, and each one seemed to have the same laminated price list for group tours vs. private tours. Since it was just the two of us and we had no friends in Coron (sad face), we bit the bullet and paid higher than what we had initially budgeted for, but ultimately still cheaper than any private boats in El Nido. A private boat for us to explore Coron Island was 2,500 pesos ($45 usd), and on top of that, we had to pay per destination visited. We opted to see 3 spots that day: Banul Beach, Twin Lagoon, and Kayangan Lake, so all in all, we paid around $30 each for a full day of island hopping. Not bad, not bad at all. The main reason we went with our local guy we met was because he promised we could leave before the other boats at 7am, but it seemed as if it was an empty promise. We arrived on time, and after being shuffled between 3 different boats, we sat for over an hour waiting for the tide to rise so we could leave. Not the morning we had planned, but also not the end of the world. I’m planning on writing another blog post about the specific destinations we visited, but let me just give you a tip: whichever spot you visit first will be amazing and quiet, and from there on out, you’ll be surrounded by orange life jackets filling the beautiful blue waters, so it’s a bit of an eyesore. Make the first stop count! Overall, the tour was good but not what I expected it to be. We got no food or water, received no information on the places we visited, and just overall felt a little underwhelming. It was nice having a boat to ourselves, but it didn’t even come close to comparing to our day out with Casa Fidelis.
group tour with a company
For our second tour, we wanted to go see the further islands of Malcapuya, Waling-Waling, and Coco Island, and since the boat prices were higher due to the farther distance, we decided to go with a group tour. We compared the prices of a few places in town, and settled on a tour with free pick-up leaving at 8am and costing 900 pesos each ($22 usd). I had the company name saved, but somehow deleted it so I don’t remember who we went with, but if you wander around the main town, you can find loads of tours offering this package. It was marketed as the “Ultimate Island Escape”, and pretty much lived up to its name. Our group consisted of 8 other people - mostly couples - and they were honestly all amazing. I was worried about a group tour since in El Nido they liked to cram 30 people onto a boat, and when you add life jackets into the mix, there’s not much room, but this tour was much, much better. The food was pretty good, the sights were great, the guides were informative, and it was ultimately a fun day out. If you’re on a strict budget, then I definitely recommend going on a group tour out to the farther islands. Since most tourists want to go to Coron Island, I think that’s a big reason why there were fewer people on our boat, which is a breath of fresh air compared to regular group tours.
As for my ranking of tours, it goes like this:
Private Tour with Casa Fidelis
Group Tour to the outer islands
Private Tour with a local