Beaches and Lagoons in Coron

coron scenery

With just five days left in the Philippines before my visa was due to run out, I knew I wanted to spend my final days lying on a beautifully secluded beach, working on my tan, and sipping fresh pineapple juice.

I wanted somewhere similar to Boracay but without the tourists. 

boats on boracay philippines

Fortunately, my travel buddies had the same idea and, as my laptop had recently broken, I relied on them to research the prettiest beaches in the Philippines. They came to the conclusion that Coron had the best beaches and we booked our flights for the next day.

After a terrifying flight where the propellers on our plane seemed to stop entirely mid-air, and where I was 100% convinced I was about to plumet to my death, we landed at Coron airport and were immediately shoved into an overpacked, overheated jeep having no idea where we were actually being driven to.

Next was an hour of driving through Jurassic Park-esque scenery where Jen and I clutched at each other in fear as the jeep slowly crawled over creaking “bridges” — essentially two flimsy planks of wood thrown over a raging river, and which threatened to snap in half at any minute.

I wiped the sweat out of my eyes and grinned through gritted teeth, enjoying the adventure and simultaneously wanting it to stop.

Am I convincing you to go here yet?

The jeep reached an area with ten wooden huts, screeched to a halt, and then the driver motioned for us to get out with no explanation. We piled off with our bags as the jeep sped off into the distance, its tyres kicking up a mixture of gravel, mud and dust all over us.

Under the sweltering heat and humidity, we stumbled along the dirt track for what felt like hours but was more like 30 minutes, desperate for a sign of humanity.

We eventually found a small sauna disguised as a guesthouse where we decided to stay. It was kept at a permanent temperature of 40 degrees celsius, and the owner appeared to be crazy.

At least it was full of Christmas cheer.

sad christmas tree in the philippines

As I collapsed in my bed, drained and dehydrated, I decided that beach time was definitely needed so found the owner to ask where the nearest beach is.

What I got in return was a blank stare and a handful of brochures. Upon enquiring further I found out that there were in fact no beaches in Coron town.

The beautiful beaches of Coron that we had read so much about were a 1500PHP ($35) and 30 minute boat ride away…

At 7 a.m., we arrived at the crowded boat dock and fought our way through the hordes of people until we spotted the hostel owner frantically waving to us from a small boat. That was better: there were only two other people on our tour.

coron boats on the water

I allowed myself to relax as we glided past dramatic limestone peaks and secret islands with powdery white sand beaches. The Philippines is so, so beautiful

This was precisely what I had come here for.

beautiful islands in coron

Turquoise water in Coron Philippines

Just look at the colour of that water!

Our boat slowed to a halt and our tour guide pulled out a bag of snorkelling gear and announced that the first stop on our itinerary would be snorkelling at Siete Pecados for 10 minutes.

limestone rocks in Coron

islands in Coron

Sitting back I smiled as I listened to the gentle splash of water against the side of the boat and watched my travel friends snorkelling in the distance. I would have joined them, but, um, seawater brings my face out in a rash.

beautiful water in the philippines

We reached Kayangan Lake, our next stop. With views like this it was definitely worth the 200PHP entrance fee!

Kayangan Lake in Coron

After six hours of sailing our tour guide announced that we would be heading from the lagoons to the beach. That water!

Beach in Coron

I jumped out and leaped up to the beach, laid down my towel and began to relax. What a beautiful part of the world!

Beach in Coron

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The Philippines is paradise on earth, and Coron is no exception. Check out the colour of that water!


  1. Bula
    February 2, 2012

    FOR THE LOVE OF FERMENTED FISH SAUCE. These pictures look amazing. Why didn’t you take me with you? I want to go. Me! Me!! Pick me!!! I can offer you nothing because I am destitute backpacker. But I’ll make you a lanyard out of my hair. Deal?

  2. Bula
    February 2, 2012

    Seriously though. I know you say it sucked but your pictures say otherwise. When things suck for me, it looks like I was in the Born Into Brothels documentary.

    • February 3, 2012

      Yeah, it was just because I’d spent the past couple of weeks rushing around, going on tours, seeing as much as possible, so I wanted my last few days to be chilled out, lying on a beach and doing nothing – not watching people snorkel for ten hours!

      It’s true though – Coron was beautiful. I just wasn’t in the correct mindset to fully appreciate it.

  3. The World of Deej
    February 2, 2012

    Awesome pics…sorry you didn’t get the beach time you wanted. Hopefully it is right around the corner. Of course, a bad day there is better than a good day just about anywhere else:)

    • February 3, 2012

      Thanks Deej! Beach time will be coming up for me very soon, and it’s true – I could have been back home in England and that would REALLY suck! ;)

  4. John
    February 2, 2012

    Too bad it wasn’t what you were expecting. It sounds like you wer able to somewhat make the best of it though. I think that is the most important aspect – not allowing something unexpected to ruin your day completely.

    • February 3, 2012

      Yep – I tried to be positive when things weren’t working out how I had planned… Still, I was glad when the tour was over at the end of the day! :)

  5. Sheila
    February 2, 2012

    Oh no! I had the perfect fantasy of living in Coron for a couple of months, wake up and swim before I start my day. Now, what am I going to do if the beach is so far away.

    The photos look great by the way. I guess I’ll settle for snorkeling for one day =)

    • February 4, 2012

      Yeah, that was the fantasy I had too!

  6. February 3, 2012

    You still have a lot of places to visit in Philippines, if you’re not only searching for the beaches:

    The new 7 wonder of nature, Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan

    Hundred Islands in Pangasinan.

    Pagsanjan Falls where you’ll need to experience the rapids before reaching the falls in Laguna.

    Pagudpud beach in Ilocos.

    Cagbalete Island where you can see sands almost anywhere during lowtide.

    Siargao Island, the surfing capital of the Philippines.

    Batanes Island, if you want to experience Cliff of Moher of Ireland and the slopes of New Zealand in an Asian country.

    these are just few of a number of destinations you can reach. just google them. Just plan ahead, as the time it will take you to visit several places in this archipelago will just be too much.

    Hope you had fun in the Philippines!

    • February 4, 2012

      Plenty of things to see when I go back ;)

  7. Jeremy Branham
    February 3, 2012

    The water and the landscape remind me a lot of Plitvice!

    • February 4, 2012

      Yeah, the water was so gorgeous!

  8. Izzy
    February 5, 2012

    Ha ha, if white powdery beaches you look for in Palawan?You should have went to El Nido!Google it and watch youtube to see! El Nido is a combination of Coron and Boracay without the nightlife though.There is a little nightlife, but very laid back compare to Boracay.

    When you go island hopping in El Nido, you’ll get to go and see enchanting caves, hidden and breathtaking lagoons and limestone cliffs, and some of the finest and wild white and pristine beaches. Very quiet and peaceful, and yet tons of activities to do.Great sunset too.

    If you’d like to experience total luxury and better beach and water than Boracay?Go to Amanpulo Island located in Palawan as well. If you’re loaded, definitely a place to go for the beach and pampering. It’s where the jet setters, Hollywood A list, and Royals usually go to in the country.Secluded and Private island. At least 1000 dollars a night for two.But it’s really beautiful and a total paradise.

    You can also go to Camiguin island in between the south and central part. It is a secluded island next to Bohol, and often called as the “Paradise of Eden”. Volcanic hotsprings in a tropical setting. 15 minutes boat and you’ll get to go in a long trail of white powdery sand beach in the middle of the ocean, called “the white island”.Although Camiguin dont have the luxury that Boracay or El nido offers, but some resorts are comfortable and very few comes around.Sceneries are worth kept coming back to. Feels like you have the whole island for yourself.

    If you want more posh areas and luxury resorts and a bit of nightlife, go to Cebu and cross the bridge across to Mactan Island.

    Pagudpud in the North also have the beach of Boracay, but secluded and pretty much just the beach and big waves.

    There are other breathtaking beaches to explore in the south in Samal and Dakak, but i wouldn’t recommend you go down there. A minority of Muslims lives in the deep south and they are not very welcoming to foreigners and especially westerners.Although Samal and Davao are in the catholic region of the south, it’s better to not get close at all in some of those troubled islands in the deep south.Some stubborn tourists still ignores the travel warnings, and go to those islands in the deep south occupied by the local muslims and why some kidnappings occurs.

    Always always stay in the north and central part of the country, and rather mingle w/ the friendliest and hospitable christian filipinos.

    Just so you know, I’m a Canadian and love the filipino culture. Had my 5th trip in October of last year. Will go back again in November of this year.Avoid the typhoon season between June-October to enjoy your beach trips!

    Stunning powdery white beaches in the Philippines are common, but a lot of it are private and still undeveloped. If you’re quite an adventurist, Philippines is quite an exciting country to explore. If you have a chance, the tropical falls and rivers are something not to be missed as well. Volcanos are amazing too. Just bring along a group w/ you.Make friend w/ some locals and they are very friendly and will take time to take you around. And to make sure poor filipinos won’t take advantage of your money. Philippines is 95% safe and urban areas are very americanized w/ some of the biggest malls in the world and rich history and culture of American, Asian, and Hispanic.A combination of old,modern, 3rd world, and 1st world,lol.And my favorite country in Asia not only becoz of their friendly and hospitable nature, but the fact that more than half of the population do speak good english or at least understandable english. It’s not that hard to blend in.

    I hope this helps.Youtube all those places i’ve mentioned, just to have some ideas and what to expect.

  9. Izzy
    February 5, 2012

    Oh and one more thing, PI has more than 7100 islands. All has its own unique and beautiful landscapes. Pretty much, you can own your own island if you’d like,lol.And a great abundant marine life. Some of the best divers in the world are ranking the country as the best in the world to dive into.

    The whole Palawan is definitely the place to explore and you might say a paradise. It is environmentally protected and literally you swim w/ colorful fishes and corals when sunny and clear!!And sunbathe in beautiful white beaches in different islands you choose (el nido). Feb-May are the best time to explore Palawan. Not a lot of rains and you’d like to explore the area when sunny and clear water to see the exotic marine life of the area.Honda Bay is also a magnificent sugary white beach in Puerto Princesa and don’t miss the Puerto Princes River while there. It is now included in 7 wonders of the world for being the longest and protected underground river.

    I haven’t been to Mindoro and Marinduque white sand beaches, but it’s next on my list.:)

  10. Ryan
    February 5, 2012

    Hey Lauren, total bummer how your relaxing day of seclusion turned out. That sucks you have that reaction to the water, and how the whole boat tour was about…snorkeling. I can’t scuba dive because of my sinuses and allergies, so I feel your pain a little! Hopefully you’ll find some secluded beached to hideaway at next time, still stunning photos though! I’ve always found the best hidden beaches by wandering and getting lost =)

  11. Someday I'll Be There - Mina
    February 5, 2012

    Although you were really unlucky on this one, the pictures do look amazing! that must have been worth it, or atleast made up for some of your disappointment!

  12. crazy sexy fun traveler
    February 6, 2012

    Didn’t make it to Coron but these lakes look pretty amazing! Palawan is very similar, just with so many bays, not lakes. Loved it over there!

  13. February 18, 2012

    Wow, that is some seriously impressive scenery – love the contrast of the white beaches and the water and then the junglous mountains. I think I may have just made that word up. Beautiful stuff :D

  14. February 19, 2012

    Seawater makes you break out in a rash?? That’s terrible! I should start using that as an excuse, though, when people tell me I should go diving or something. :P But with that aversion to water this adventure sounds like a terribly boring (for you) nightmare tour.

  15. February 22, 2012

    Did you go to Malcapuya Island? It’s about 1.5 hours by boat from the jetty port of Coron. Gorgeous place! Less people too. Apparently the island was bought from a native islander for P500/£7 back in the ’70s!

    If you didn’t go then more reason to go back! If you want secluded beaches, next time you come to The Philippines check out Kalanggaman Island & Canigao Island in my home province – Leyte!

    I too went on a group tour in Coron and I felt it was too rushed as they try and pack everything in a short space of time. They should vary the tours more. Less snorkelling and more beach time! After a 2-day tour I felt like wrinkled mermaid!

  16. February 24, 2012

    It probably wasn’t as perfect as you pictured it but surely you made it work and the pictures are just amazing…keep having fun :)

  17. Ej
    May 9, 2012

    try Calaguas. this is so similar to Boracay except no structures around except for the house of care taker and toilet., you need to use tent only and they uses generator at night. Beach sand is similar to boracay, water are consistently around 3′-4′ even after 100- 150 meters (i think.) :). & izzy is so right about the beaches mentioned.

  18. Mike
    June 25, 2012

    You said you’ve been to Boracay island, from there just a 45mins. boat travel you can enjoy the beach of Carabao island all by your self, nice beach and not to many people are going there…

  19. Gayla
    August 3, 2012

    You have some wonderful photos of amazing and enticing scenery! Well done.

  20. Chi
    September 13, 2012

    This has got to be the most exciting “disappointing” trip i have ever read. Your photos are simply stunning. Should you go back to Palawan, head for El Nido. Same picturesque setting with more beaches :) You are going to have an awesome time getting lost there! Cheers!

  21. December 3, 2012

    Sounds like it was a bit of a challenge to get to Palawan for you. We are debating if we are going to include it on our RTW trip schedule. The pictures from your unexpected day trip looked awesome!

  22. iAn of Freedom Wall
    May 20, 2014

    If you are looking for something very similar to Boracay (long strip of whitebeach) with but with significantly lesser and verdant backdrop, you should have checked Mahabang Buhangin Beach in Calaguas Group of Islands.

    • June 24, 2014

      Thanks so much, Ian! I’ll actually be heading back to The Philippines later this year!

  23. October 30, 2014

    Hi Lauren, I am glad you somehow enjoy your stay here in the Philippines. Actually there are so many hidden paradise that this country can offer, both to Local and Foreign tourist. Hope your next visit will be as smooth as what you planned. :) I enjoyed reading your articles. Keep traveling. No one can ever take our experience and memories from traveling. :)

    • November 19, 2014

      Thanks so much, Arnold! Looking forward to exploring more of the Philippines soon :-)

  24. March 31, 2015

    Hi Lauren, I’ve spent all day reading your blog today :)) Anyway if you ever come back to the Philippines again try visiting mindanao next time. Surigao has great beaches specially in siargao, and the britania group of islands at surigao del sur

    • April 2, 2015

      Thanks so much, Mirko! I’ve heard amazing things about Siargao and would love to visit next time I return to the Philippines :-)

  25. June 14, 2015

    ha ha, this reminds me of when I went to Phuket and visited Phi Phi Island. I somehow got it in my head that it would be as secluded as all the photos – boy, was I wrong! 50000000 bazillion tourists – couldn’t even get a decent photo because of all the people and boats in the background!

    Good to know though, as I’m planning to be in Philippines towards the end of the year and still tossing up where to visit!

    • November 26, 2015

      Ah, man, Phi Phi is definitely a crowded place. Such a shame — I’ve seen photos of it in the 90s and it’s deserted!

  26. June 12, 2017

    Stumbled on this blog with awesome Coron pictures, but sadly not all photos loaded, but maybe it’s on my Internet. You seem to have reached Banol beach, this beach is not the best beach in Coron, it’s very small. To get the best beaches in Coron you need to travel for about 2-3 hours away from town proper by boat, Malcapuya Island is one of the beach destinations. Coron is much like El Nido~which houses a lot of the most beautiful and pristine beaches in the world. I adore the view of the Kayangan lake though.

    • June 13, 2017

      Ah, yes! I’ll need to update the photos in this post. Thanks so much for your advice! I’d love to return to Coron and see some of the other beaches one day.

  27. Private Rentals Umina
    July 31, 2017

    my favorite! coron! and proud of it!! HOMETOWN!

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