Coron is one of the Philippines’ most popular tourist destinations. This unspoiled haven offers uncrowded white-sand beaches, crystal clear water, hidden lagoons, amazing mountaintop views and fascinating dive sites.
It may be the closest thing to paradise on earth, at least a version accessible to the average Joe.
Where We Stayed
A charming and secluded El Rio Y Mar Resort is located in Busuanga Island, Palawan and offers picturesque views of the calming blue waters, beautiful bay, and the hills. Encircled by a tropical ambience, El Rio y Mar Island is a one-hour flight from Manila to Francisco B. Reyes Busuanga Airport and 45 minutes by land and boat transfer to the resort.
With its unique flora and fauna environment, El Rio Y Mar Resort offers a romantic ambience combined with the serenity and beauty of the natural environment. The resort is set amidst a 500-meter stretch of beach, distinctive panoramic views with enchanting mangroves, and breathtaking neighboring islands.
As it is a secluded resort there are no food choices except for the Resort Restaurant. But it was fine. They have buffet breakfast and different varieties of food – from Asian to Western.
By just being close to salty water I was able to practice yoga, with the sound of the waves and the psithurism of the trees as music and fine white sand on my feet. It’s so idyllic!
We stayed for 4 nights here and it was so unforgettable! We’re actually impressed by the surrounding of the resort, it was REALLY blissful, comfortable and is a great place to spend a lazy afternoon.
You don’t need to leave the island indeed. Everything can be found in here. You can spend the entire day just enjoying the different activities the resort has to offer. El Rio Y Mar Resort is indeed worth a visit and will welcome you with excellent Philippine hospitality and warm smiles.
Things To Do
Unwind and Relax
You can unwind while catching the sunset at the floating Port Bar, pamper yourself at the indoor spa or indulge at the floating spa where you can watch fishes swim by below your massage bed while a masseuse gives you a relaxing body massage.
Apart from playing billiards, dart and Volleyball you can have some fun with the free use of non-motorize water sports like kayaking or paddling to the mangrove area. If you want more excitement you can ride the banana boat too. And to cool down, there’s an infinity pool where you can enjoy the panoramic view of the hill.
Trek on Sunrise or Sunset
Well, if you like some physical activity apart from Volleyball, then hike up to Hunter’s Peak for about 20-30-minutes would be perfect! At the peak, you will see the whole island and neighboring islands. It is best to hike up before sunrise or sunset because the view is just scenic and serene.
Snorkeling and Fish Feeding
We really enjoyed feeding and playing with the fishes while snorkeling at the pier just right at the floating bar. The bar is a destination place where you can enjoy drinks on the deck, whilst sitting in a cozy furniture surrounded by calm water and verdant aquatic life you can spot clearly those school of fish. At night, you can watch out for the king fish. In the afternoon or early morning, you can enjoy fish feeding and have fun snorkeling.
The Magical Twin Lagoons
Twin Lagoon is the place that you would not want to miss when you visit Coron. The place leaves people wondering if this paradise is real, stunning them with its unspoiled beauty. The name itself promises travelers and sun chasers that they will get not only one but two paradise treats!
The first lagoon is where the boats dock, while the second lagoon is hidden, the only access of which is a small crevice underneath the rock, or during high tide, a ladder over the rock.
The temperature of the water in the Twin Lagoons also alternates between warm and cold (similar to Barracuda Lake), where the cold freshwater meets the hot salt water.
It was very relaxing to just take a life jacket and just float and drift in the lagoon.
Tub Therapy in Maquinit Hot Spring
The Maquinit Hot Springs is claimed as the only hot spring in the Philippines with saltwater. Surrounded by mangrove trees and with a serene view of the sea, Maquinit gives that enchanted vibe while you’re taking a rejuvenating spa.
With one huge pool and a number of mini pools, Maquinit’s water temperature is extremely hot at 45 degrees Celsius. Its water actually comes from a volcano of Mt. Tapyas.
If you’re not used to soaking in hot springs, you might find the water awkwardly warm. To get a good feel of it, dip some parts of your body first like your feet. After a few minutes, you’ll get more comfortable with it. As you get yourself used to the temperature, try to dip other parts of your body. We’re just so lucky that it was raining when we dip into the natural spa. It compensates the coldness of the surrounding with the warm of water. It was a pure bliss!
The Famous Kayangan Lake
Like a post card and literally a paradise on earth. One of the most photographed places in the Philippines, particularly Coron, is none other than the beautiful Kayangan Lake. Actually, it’s not Kayangan Lake where you are taking a picture of the iconic viewpoint but you’re actually taking a picture of Coron Bay. The waters of Kayangan Lake are said to be the cleanest and clearest in the Philippines. While we haven’t visited them all it’s easy to see that this lake is special. The water is extremely clear and the colors are amazing. While it puts Coron on the map for most visitors, these beautiful islands hold many more amazing sights as well.
Before you get to the iconic viewpoint, this is the entrance or boats docking area. And it makes more exciting to see this emerald water on your way up.
You couldn’t resist the mesmerizing view while your boat docked in the area. By the way, one must pay P200.00 per person for the entrance fee, a little bit steep but the place was all worthy for the price. Proceeds goes to Tagbanua Tribes who inhabited the whole area, a good way of helping these locals who are maintaining the cleanliness of the place. From the docking area, you need to hike 150 steps uphill for you to see the viewing area and small cave. Then, another 150 steps but this time downhill for you to reach the Kayangan Lake.
And this is the Kayangan Lake! The lake has the right to claim its throne of being the cleanest lake in Asia because until now the water is clear as if you were just swimming in a pool. Thanks to the joint cooperation of the local government and travelers for taking care of this wonderful paradise. Water here is brackish (combination of freshwater and salt water). If only I could stay here for a month or so, I would.
Fall in Love with Siete Pecados
Our first stop during island tour was Siete Pecados, which means Seven Deadly Sins. “Siete” comes from the Spanish word that means seven and denotes the number of small limestone rock formation surrounding the snorkeling site.
We just docked our boat at the center of the seven islets and there we went snorkeling for about an hour. I was amazed by how rich the marine life in this site, corals were all alive and many kinds of fish were present in the area. The turquoise water surrounding Siete Pecados is usually cold all year round. But despite the cool temperature, it is still one of the most sought-after spots in Coron. Simply because snorkeling in Siete Pecados is like swimming in the aquarium.
Legend: According to the locals, called “Tagbanuas”, the seven rocks represent seven local children that one night set out to attend a celebration. These children never came home that night. In the morning, while searching for these children, the locals saw seven new rock formations standing in the middle of the sea and believed that these were the missing children. From then on, the area has been called Siete Pecados in memory of these children.
So if you happen to be in this little dot paradise never miss the opportunity to discover these God’s breathtaking wonderful creations.
How To Get There
Nearest Airport: Francisco B. Reyes Airport, also known as Busuanga Airport (Palawan)
Coming from Manila, this is the most convenient and fastest way to go to Coron Island where all these places are located. It will take you around 1 hour to get to Busuanga Airport. Check your preferred airline company for the flight schedule and airfare.
Once in Busuanga Airport, ride a van going to Coron town proper (P150). Travel time is 30-45 minutes.
Note: There are no taxis or tricycles at the airport; only vans shuttle guests from the airport to Coron town proper. These vans can drop you off at your hotel. You can rent the van for P1500 if you’re a big group. For private resorts, they offer airport/land/boat transfer.
Going to Coron from Manila is now possible via overnight ferries; 2Go travels this route twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays (P1200-2500, 15hrs).
From the town proper, you can either join a group tour (Coron Island Tour) or charter a private boat going to any of your island destination choice.