Philippines Day 2: The Ultimate Coron Tour
Waiting for the sun to come up so we could escape our room
This day was definitely EPIC but it was off to a slow start… Since we fell asleep so early we were wide awake around 1:30 AM with nothing to do until 8ish when the tour company would come get us. We killed time reading and chilling in our room until 6 when the sun started coming up so we threw on a cover ups and ran outside to greet the morning sun on the water. By 7, coffee shops and restaurants started opening for breakfast so we walked into town to grab some waffles! Then back for a bit more waiting for our tour.
It was a somewhat colorful sunrise….
The main highway into Coron town where all the cafes are
They were pretty prompt right at 8:30 and had a trike right outside the hotel door that we took on a 5 minute ride to the tour operator shack. There we paid for our tour, were rounded up with a few other guests, and transported to our boat…. which we were sitting on by 9 and waiting.. and waiting. It seemed to take FOREVER for them to gather all the guests on the boat (we were one of the first to arrive) and then get the supplies. They also didn’t tell us snorkels weren’t included in our tour so after 30 minutes of sitting there I asked if I could just go run and get my goggles that I brought from my hotel room that I could literally see from the boat! haha Thankfully I did too since half the areas were snorkel stops and it would’ve been a huge bummer to miss them! Tippe paid 100 pesos or something to rent a snorkel for the day.
Our first ride on the back of a trike
The Ultimate Coron Tour is very similar even though offered by multiple companies. It includes 7 sites, 5 stops, entry to all of the sites, a kayak at one of the stop, a full lunch at one stop with coke to drink, a snack after the last stop, and water all day aboard. For this tour, all of the stops were about 20-40 minutes away so there is plenty of time to enjoy the scenery on the boat. Group numbers range from 15-20 but we easily had 20 people on both our tours. You have one tour guide and several boat men that operate the boat to accompany you. For a great price, this was a great tour! But know you have private options that started around 2700 pisos for 2-4 people for a full day. This cost however does NOT cover lunch OR your entry fees to all of the sites (which are around 100-200 pisos) unlike the group tours which cover everything!
Finally just after 10 we were off to our first destination:
First glimpse of the Twin Lagoon
This stop had been on my bucket list before any of the other Philippines destinations to be honest, as it was the first thing I came across. The water is a beautiful green and the surrounding cliffs have the most interesting erosion pattern. There’s a spot where the cliffs are seperated under water where you can swim into the adjoining lagoon which was really cool. (though it wasn’t as cool as the video I’d seen suggested it would be) We had 40 minutes to swim around the lagoons before we had to head back to the boat and onto our next destination:
Lots of boats parked outside the lagoon. We had to walk/ swim but you can see the first lagoon tucked in there around the corner. The water was seriously perfect.
Standing on the bow of the boat
In the first Lagoon making our way to the 2nd one.
The first Lagoon still
Looking over to the connection to the “twin” You can go over…
Or you can go under to get to the twin lagoon
You didn’t have to swim very far and head space wasn’t too bad.
You just had to watch out for some of the over hang
Finally in the 2nd lagoon. I loved the cliff formations!
Back to the first lagoon so we could hear the whistle warning us our boat was leaving soon
The water was seriously THAT color
Hanging out in the lagoon
Back to the boat
Ready for our next stop
A great diving and snorkeling spot that was teeming with fish and the wreck clearly visible. (though without fins extremely hard to dive down to see) This spot is the remains of an old Japanese war ship (there are MANY around Coron Island) The only downside was that by the time we got there, it was SO busy with other boats… many of which would anchor right next to the ship and would float over it… kind of a hazard when you have a bunch of un- aware tourists with their faces down in the water… We almost got run over twice before I gave up and went to just look at the fish away from the wreck.
There were LOTS of fish in this area
The bow of the shipwreck
Fish were everywhere and so were the people haha
One more of the wreck
Our lunch stop and as you may have guessed… a beach smack next to the ship wreck. The tour lunch was great! They grilled yellow fish (tuna), pork, and chicken with tons of rice then we had bananas for desert.
Clams, pork, and fish on this day!
The over water shack we ate our lunch on
CYC Island/ Coral Gardens/ Beach
Here we had the option of snorkeling more or just swimming over to the beach area which is what we ultimately decided to do. The beach was almost sand bar in appearance since it jutted out past the island but it felt like it was the middle of no where unlike the other beaches which are on the giant island of Coron. We didn’t do much here in the 30 minutes or so that we had, except lay in the sun.
I was pretty impressed with the enterprising guy that was kayaking around selling beer and snacks to the lazy beach goers, like how genius is that?! They seemed to be about 100 pesos? so if this is something you’d want to partake in, make sure you bring some extra pesos with you in your dry bag.
After the rapid fire of stops before here, we were excited to relax on a beach haha
GLT/ Girls Love Travel sign (how Tippe and I met!)
My other most anticipated stop of the day, Kayangan lake is said to be the cleanest AND clearest lake in South East Asia… I haven’t seen all the lakes but I can say it was both clean and clear. haha
The water is fresh water in the swimming area so the tour boats required us to bring out life jackets… little did they know I can easily float in fresh water just as easily as in salt water.. I’m that buoyant hahaha. But it did come in handy for towing my stuff around.
The entrance to the lake had restrooms you could use.. if you dared and really needed to, as well as other little shops. We only had 45 minutes though so we trekked up the hill to get our photos of the incredible view point, and then have a relaxing swim in the lake itself. After a full day of salt water, and just
a little A LOT of sunburn, that cool fresh water felt AMAZING.
There were also really cool boulders/ rock formations to check out under the water, and a few other people found caves. I would definitely put this lake on your must do list with a visit to Coron.
More cool island formations around Coron
Heading up the stairs to the viewpoint and then on down to the lake.
There were around 300-350 steps totals
The amazing view of Coron bay as you make your way to the lake
Highlight of the day for sure
Right by the viewpoint there are some caves to explore!
Heading back to our boat at the (almost) end of a terrific day!
A boat that matched the color of the water so perfectly
Looking back towards where the lake was on the other side of that saddle
Our final stop before turning the boat home and we almost had to miss it due to the winds picking up. The Siete Pecados weren’t even on my list of things I had to see when we set out to Coron but boy am I glad we got to check this area out! The coral gardens were incredible! Definitely the most abundant, vibrant, and beautiful we saw on our entire trip. The water was super shallow and clear so at times I was worried I was closer to them than I probably was… either way it had me keeping my body flat as we floated over the tops of them. If you love snorkeling, I would make this another must when in Coron.
So. Much. Coral
Our boat dropped us back off shortly after 5 where we had another <4 minute trike ride back to our hotel. We rinsed off (let’s be honest why would we wash our hair with another beach day the next day?) and we headed to find some dinner. We had noticed a restaurant with a heart shaped entrance when looking for breakfast and as we wandered back that way the smells coming from their grill was too good to pass up. I got a pork kebab with rice and this incredible sauce that they just called “sweet sauce” plus a hot chocolate like coffee drink called Milo? Apparently it’s a big thing in SEA.
Then we were back in our room ready to snooze again around 7:30! haha Solid day in the sun.
Day 2 Costs:
Waffles and drink breakfast: 230 php/ $4.40
Ultimate Coron tour (includes lunch and entrance to all sites): 1200 php/ $23
Dinner: 120 php/$2.30
Aloe for my crazy burned skin: 350 php/ $6.75
Luis Bay Traveler’s Lodge– $12.50 pp
Tour Company we used:
Wonderful Island Travel and Tours (one of the many pamphlets picked up from the airport)
Day 2 Total Costs: $49 pp