Coron_El-Nido_guide_best_things_to_do_accommodatio_hotels_resorts_boat_trips_philippines_palawan

PHILIPPINES: Coron Vs El Nido, Which One Is The Best?

Clelia Mattana ASIA, BLOG, DESTINATIONS, PHILIPPINES 75 Comments

 

Which one should you visit? Coron, El Nido, or both?

Latest Update June 2020


philippines_Palawan_coron_el-nido_comparison


 

A few years ago when I was traveling around the Philippines, I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful island of Palawan and check out both El Nido and Coron, two of the “must-see/jaw-dropping” places in the Philippines.

 

IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT TO CHOOSE AFTER READING THIS ARTICLE, THEN BOOK THIS FABULOUS 4 DAYS BOAT TRIP ( I TOOK WHILE IN CORON) I STILL DREAM ABOUT IT! CHECK IT OUT HERE! 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about those days spent there but I still can’t really decide which place should grab the winner’s spot as “Paradise on earth” destination. So as I promised in one of my previous articles about the Philippines, I decided to make a comparison between the two. A sort of a pros and cons list, but obviously with mainly positive stuff in it because hey, we are talking about two of the most stunning places I have ever seen in my life after all! ☺

Each has its own merits. Both are in Palawan, an island that has been repeatedly chosen as one of the best islands in the world by many prestigious travel magazines.



El Nido has become very popular in recent years. Coron falls just a little behind in popularity and is still considered as mainly a diver’s destination.


But don’t worry, even if you don’t dive Coron has so much to offer. Given that I love them both, I thought it was just fair to compare them using a few different parameters, so let’s get started!


 

1 |Coron vs El Nido Average Price:

Accommodation/Tour prices

Philippines_coron_El-Nido_cover



I have some good news in here: When I talk about “expensive” in the Philippines I don’t mean crazy expensive but I’m comparing the average prices for accommodation in Asia and in some places of the Philippines they are above the average but still super cheap if compared to European beach destinations for example (with the exceptions of a few super fancy resorts but even those prices are actually reasonable if you consider the destination!)

Another great thing of both Coron and El Nido is that they both offer solutions for every pocket, from people who want to splurge a bit in a fancy resort to the semi-penniless backpacker, these two paradise places have accommodations with prices that are accessible to everyone (given that you are willing to be flexible in regards to certain amenities), but both Coron and El Nido will let you completely forget about money!


 

 

 

High-End Luxury Resorts:



Philipphines_resorts_el-nido_coron_palawan_miniloc_island

A fabulous Resort in the secluded bay of Miniloc Island near El Nido. This one is probably the most expensive but it’s simply paradise on earth and has all the meals included too ๐Ÿ™‚ Want to check it out? Here is the link!



Let me tell you one thing that I know for certain: El Nido is, on average, much more expensive than Coron (but remember what I said about the word “expensive” before, right?). This won’t scare high-end tourists who are going to stay in all-inclusive resorts, as the average price is about the same in both places, and probably if that’s your case you probably won’t worry too much about every peso you spend anyway (lucky you!).

CHECK OUT THE RESORTS /HOTELS IN EL NIDO HERE!




Mid-Range/Budget Accommodation & Tours In Coron And El Nido:


El Nido’s mid-range and budget hotels might be more pricey than their equivalents in Coron. If you are in this category of travelers (like most people are) than it is something to consider. On top of that, all of the attractions in El Nido are usually more expensive too.

Tip to spend less money on Tours in El Nido:


Put your faith in one of the locals that own a boat and you can be delighted by a super affordable price, the liberty of choosing how long you will stay in a specific place and wait till the other boats leave to enjoy the most spectacular beaches by yourself!

 

Don’t forget to pay for the fixed local tax (it’s illegal to get to those places without it, but you can get it easily at a stand on the beach where all the tours depart). The boat won’t probably be super fancy but you are not there to stay on the boat… snorkeling time!

 

Below is a video I took during one of my tours in El Nido using the boat of a local, saving money and still enjoying it to the fullest!





That being said, both are suitable for any kind of traveler, including backpackers. The price difference shouldn’t scare international tourists, and I don’t believe it should be the main reason why you should or shouldn’t visit either of these paradises.

 

It’s just that if you have to choose one, and you’re really (and I mean REALLY) tight on money, then Coron might be a slightly better option for you.


 


Where To Stay? Resorts Hotels & Hostels in El Nido


As far as my experience goes, I managed to stay in two different places in El Nido, one was a “more expensive option” (but still very convenient) away from the main village and one was a super basic room in El Nido Town almost in front of the pier.

Option A: Tapik Beach Park Guesthouse



El-Nido_Palawan_accommodation_Tapik-Beach-park-resort_Philippines

This is one of the two places I have checked out in El Nido.  I stayed in a lovely big hutch with a balcony and sea view for less than 35 euros per night, breakfast included (and this is their most expensive type of accommodation!)Read more below, as this is a place you don’t want to miss.



I so enjoyed my stay there that I didn’t want to leave! The setting is spectacular, quiet and remote. If you are looking for peace, this is it! The only “downside” is that it takes at least 45 min/1 hour to the village.

This lovely place is located in the Imorigue bay, on the opposite side of the busiest part of El Nido. The management organizes some awesome tours, below are the ones I took:

 

  • I booked a boat trip with them to the nearby islands (not the usual super famous tours A B C D in El Nido. In this one, you will really feel like Robinson Crusoe! Truly deserted islands, fabulous beaches with just YOU in them, snorkeling with our fantastic guide who showed us the sea lions and many other types of fish and colorful corals. I loved that tour as it was “genuine”. No big boats, just a bunch of people and no other tourists in sight.

 

  • I went to see fireflies at night! Yep, booked a second trip (they are super cheap compared to the famous ones) and this was a real adventure! We went for a night tour and the many fireflies hidden in the trees create the illusion of a sky full of stars in the middle of the mangroves!

 

As that weren’t awesome enough, on our way back we switched off the lights of the small boat, everything was dark and silent, and the Plankton’s started to glow in the water surrounding our boat. I’ll never forget that night!

Book at Tapik Beach now!


Option B: Austria’s Guest House



Philippines_el-nido_accommodation_hotel_near_the_beach_palawan_Austria's_guest_house

One of the best options if you want to stay at 5 minutes from the beach and from all the shops. The owners were LOVELY!



 


This is where I spent my second week in paradise! If you are looking for cheap accommodation in the center of El Nido Village (not easy to find because of its location), this is it!

 

Only one recommendation: I visited the place back in 2014 and at the time in El Nido, they cut the electricity from 6 am to 2 pm. Some more expensive hotels have a power generator so you won’t even notice when the electricity is off, but this one (at the time) didn’t have it so here is my advice:

 

  • Electricity issues in El Nido? Call or email them asking what the situation is now. Some people claim that is better and the electricity outages are less frequent and that now they don’t have to cut it every day, but you never know. I’m pretty sure they will be very straightforward about what’s happening at the moment.

 

  • If you travel with electronics, bring an external source of power just in case. A mini fan would also be nice if you are not planning on going for a boat trip as it can get really hot, and I mean SERIOUSLY hot if you don’t have it. The few days I didn’t go for a boat trip I took something like 4 cold showers in the morning waiting for my fan to be operative again after 2 pm ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Other than that, the owners are truly lovely, I remember they even invited me to sit with them for lunch one day and offered me their food without wanting anything in return even if I insisted on paying. The place is near everything you need on foot and super convenient, with a nice restaurant and a breakfast area upstairs. The beach/pier is literally a few blocks away.

 

I chose a basic room with a shared bathroom and cold shower (which was actually a relief given how hot it was during my stay) but they also offer rooms with a bathroom.

 

The place is quite basic, nothing fancy but it’s one of the best in terms of value if you don’t want to spend a lot and are a bit flexible in regards to the amenities provided. The free breakfast was actually excellent, with fresh fruits, waffles, pancakes, coffee and more. Yummy!

Book At Austria’s now!


BACK TO TOP


 


 

2 | Getting To Coron And El Nido:



Philippines-guide-Palawan-el-Nido-coron-map

When it comes to how to get to Coron and El Nido, I see many people getting confused on where they are located exactly, so here is a simple map with the main ways to reach them and move from one place to the other!



 

How to get to El Nido:


The best way to get to El Nido nowadays is by flight. This option wasn’t available a few years back, and it’s a real time-saver, only 1 hour and 15 min.

 

There are 4 daily flights from Manila (operated by Air Swift), 1 from Cebu, and there is a rumor that there is going to be one from Boracay anytime soon.

 

You can also do it the old-school way, and fly into Puerto Princesa, then take a van to El Nido. You will save money, but be willing to spend a lot of time on the road (5-6 hours).



Flights_manila_puerto_princesa_How_to_get_to_coron_el-nido_Philippines



When I visited El Nido I first arrived at Busuanga Airport in Coron,  flying from Manila, so I had to take a boat to reach El Nido. I didn’t book the tickets online, I just went to a local stand and bought them for around 25$. The ride was actually very pleasant even if it took us 8 hours to get there.

 

However, if you opt to visit El Nido first and want to get on a bus from Puerto Princesa, be ready for a bumpy and quite uncomfortable ride.

 

I made the mistake to get on the back of the bus, thinking that I could rest more but oh boy, was I wrong! I ended up with my kidneys on my elbow and the heart probably on my feet ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Still, for the most adventurous, the price was unbeatable, less than 15$ and if you are on a budget, a little discomfort is still worth it to get to paradise! Below are the options available to go to Puerto Princesa to El Nido via road:



How_to_get_from_El_nido_to_Coron_philippines

To give you an idea: 700PH= 14 $ / 380PH = 7.5$ / 2000PH=40$ /3500PH=70$


How to get to Coron:


The way to get to Coron is simple. There are several daily flights from Manila and one or two from Cebu to the local airport (Francisco Reyes formerly called Busuanga).

 

There is also a new fast craft service between Coron and El Nido by Montenegro Fastcraft (3.5 hours). Getting to both destinations, and from one to the other, is much easier than it was when I did it so… consider yourself lucky ๐Ÿ™‚


If you are already in El Nido you can book your ferry tickets from El Nido to Coron, quick and also an enjoyable way to jump from one paradise to another!

BACK TO TOP


 


 

3 | Getting around El Nido and Coron


Getting around El Nido and Coron is done in two ways. Either you rent a bike to explore the mainland, or you go Island hopping.

 

Coron and El Nido are small towns, and you can easily explore them on foot to get to all of the bars and restaurants. Other popular means of transportation are tricycles, which cost 10-20P for a ride in the town. Going outside of town will cost you 300P or more, depending on the distance.

 

If you happen to spend your nights in one of the private islands owned by 5-star hotels, they will arrange a pickup for you. You can coordinate it yourself or let your travel agency do it for you. The resort itself runs a shuttle service that goes to the mainland between 4 and 5 times a day.


BACK TO TOP


 



4 | Beaches/ Tours in Coron and El Nido



El-Nido_Boat_trip_Island_Hopping_big_lagoon_clelia-mattana

Me enjoying a spectacular day in El Nido, here I was entering the astonishing big lagoon. Spectacular!



Both towns are not great in this aspect. I know it sounds absurd that the two best tropical destinations in the world have no proper beach!

 

That shouldn’t worry you, however, as the beauties that these two places hold are exceptional, just a little more difficult to get to.

 

Coron Beaches:


Coron town doesn’t have a good beach – It is a sleepy fishing town with a rocky shoreline. Many of the town’s residents live in houses built on stilts, directly above the ocean and blocking the so-called beach.

 

Visiting one of the nearby and spectacular beaches will require taking a boat. Your boatman will either stay with you or pick you up at a time you agreed upon, depending on how far it is.

 

For further reading check out the island-hopping section of the page. The only beach in Coron that doesn’t require riding a boat to reach it is Cabo Beach (30-minute drive), but by my standards is not a jaw-dropping beach.

 

El Nido Beaches:


El Nido is much friendlier, as it has a beach of its own. It’s not very nice though, as it isn’t pure white sand, and the water isn’t so clean, but you can go for a quick swim if you feel like it.

 

Renting a bike or hiring a tricycle will take you much further, to mainland beaches such as twin beaches Nacpan and Calitang (one of my favorites!), and to Duli, Mariposa, and Dagmay.



Nacpang Beach in El Nido



El Nido wins the best beaches section for accessibility reasons only, with many mainland beaches and a beach fronting the town itself. When getting to the more secluded beaches by boat, both are equally perfect.


BACK TO TOP


 


 

5 | Nightlife In Coron and El Nido


So you want to party… When I was in El Nido it was in a transition phase, from a sleepy fishing town much like Coron, to becoming one of the most touristy towns in the Philippines. Nowadays you can find many bars open until very late, playing music and throwing some small beach parties.

 

Coron, on the other hand, maintained its nature, and beside the local restaurants and eateries, you can’t find much to do at night there. My suggestion to you if you’re looking to go out in Coron Town, try No Name Bar.


BACK TO TOP


 



6 | Diving, Free Diving, and Snorkeling In Coron and El Nido


Scuba-Diving_Coron_philippines_palawan


Diving is great in both destinations and is among the best you’ll find anywhere in the world, but there is one major difference in the nature of the dives.

 

El Nido Diving:


El Nido offers great riffs, coral gardens, and rich marine life. It is much better for beginners because most of the dive sites are located in Bacuit Bay, sheltered from winds and making the water very calm. I enjoyed my experience there as I love how colorful marine life can be in El Nido!

 

Coron Diving:


Coron is famous for its wreck diving, as it was the stage of a naval battle between the US and Imperial Japan during WWII. There are 12 Japanese vessels with ships as long as 168m long.

 

Some of the dives are suitable for beginners and aren’t that deep. Even though many of the dive sites are deeper and require advanced training, that you should either already have when arriving in Coron, or obtain while there.


Free_diving_Coron_palawan_philippines


Another cool thing about Coron’s Marine life is that it’s one of the remaining places in the world where you’re able to spot Dugongs (sea cows) in the wild. There is the Dugong Dive Center that specializes in such dives.

Coron also has all of what El Nido’s offering in terms of marine life, and actually it’s a little better. Therefore Coron is superior to El Nido in terms of diving. I actually was also able to just free dive to see a shipwreck that was only a few meters away from the surface, so even if you are not for scuba diving, in this regard, Coron definitely wins.


BACK TO TOP


 


 

7 |Island hopping In Coron vs El Nido


Island hopping is without a doubt the highlights of your stay in Palawan, both El Nido and Coron offer some of the best boat trips I have ever seen around the world for a very reasonable price. If you visit one (or both) locations, it is a must to take at least one tour but I recommend at least 2 in each place!


El Nido Island Hopping


El_Nido_Boat_trip_tours_A_B_C_D_details_prices_Beaches


Island Hopping in El Nido is the thing that made this town famous. Because of its popularity, the tours became very organized, and there isn’t much flexibility involved unless you’re planning to hire a private boat to take you around.

 

Or like I did, I found a local fisherman with a boat and made a deal with him, best decision ever as I was able to see most of these amazing places when the other boats were gone (and at half price!).

 

The highlights of the island hopping tours are the big, small and hidden lagoons of Miniloc Island, and Hidden and secret beach in Matinloc Island.

 

There are 4 tours to choose from, A, B, C and D, and tours A and B are considered the most popular among tourists, but I truly enjoyed the tour C as well because I was with the fisherman’s boat and we managed to see the hidden beach and secret beach without any tourist.

 

When it gets crowded it is a bit less spectacular of course but still worth it in my opinion. The only one I didn’t take was the tour D because I didn’t have time.

 

TOURS YOU CAN BOOK RIGHT NOW!

 

If you want to experience Palawan and El Nido on a boat for a 9 days adventure, check out this tour: Philippines Palawan Adventure  or for more tours in the Philippines (I drooled over that page for days!) you can check out the offer in here: Tours in the Philippines.




IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHAT TO CHOOSE AFTER READING THIS ARTICLE, THEN BOOK THIS FABULOUS 4 DAYS BOAT TRIP ( I TOOK WHILE IN CORON) I STILL DREAM ABOUT IT! CHECK IT OUT HERE! 




Coron Island Hopping:



Coron_tour_a_Kayangan-lake_boat_trip_palawan_Island_hopping

Admiring the breathtaking view before getting to Kayangan Lake in Coron, during Tour A. This is A MUST SEE!!



The highlights of Coron Island hopping are: Banol and Atuayan on Coron Island (not the island of Coron Town), Banana Island, Calauit and Malajon (also known as Black Island) islands.

 

I especially like Black Island that unlike what its name indicates has pure white sand. It is nicknamed Black Island for the black towering cliffs that make this island. On the beach, there are many caves that their walls sparkle when in touch with light.

If you have time I highly recommend you to try the 2-4 days expeditions! I did one and it was by far my best experience during my 4 months in the Philippines!

 

You will have to be an adventurous person and highly flexible too as this is the real deal! You will be camping on deserted islands, patiently wait for the boat crew to go fishing by night and bring back the food for you, but the rewards of waking up in a tent when the sun rises over a marvelous deserted beach are difficult to describe!

 

There are also other really interesting tours in that depart from Manila and reach Coron by boat, check out this one for 5 days all included: Coron Island Explorer

 



Or the amazing one I did (4 days of pure magic you CAN NOT MISS): Check it out and read the reviews, I went with them so I can guarantee it’s all true!



 

I feel that saying that one is better than the other in this case is impossible. Due to the perfection of the two places, it’s beyond my ability to tell any difference. But there is one thing you should have in mind.

 

Because of El Nido’s popularity, you’re going to meet people all of the time while island hopping. In Coron, you can still feel like it’s just you out there (well, almost!).


BACK TO TOP


 


 

8 | Other attractions in Coron and El Nido



Palawan_holidays_tours_sunset

Admiring a beautiful Sunset on a deserted island in Coron! One of the many great experiences you can have in Palawan!



Both places have a variety of activities, at times very different from one another. Therefore this section will give a short overview of the activities and not necessarily a comparison.

 

Palawan: Hot Springs & Waterfalls in El Nido and Coron



Kalit_waterfall_El-Nido_Palawan_philippines

The beautiful Kalit Waterfall in El Nido



Both places have hot springs, Makinint in El Nido, and Maquinit in Coron. Makinint requires trekking to get to, and you can’t actually dip in the water. It is too hot and too shallow. Maquinit is actually very accessible and on the way to Cabo beach.

 

It is one of the only few saltwater springs in the world and is surrounded by mangroves. You can dip in it, and it is a very pleasant spot. Nagkalit-kalit waterfalls in El Nido: on the way to Nacpan Beach and very close to Makinit Hot springs. It requires trekking as well, but it’s sometimes dry. Try to find out ahead, and don’t bother going if there is no water.

 

Coron also has a small waterfall in Calauit Island. It’s a 3m tall waterfall, and though it is not as impressive as the one in El Nido, it always has water in it. Check it out if you’re in the area.


BACK TO TOP


 



Lagoons in Coron and El Nido


I wrote about the lagoons of El Nido in the island hopping section. The lagoons in Coron are not part of an island hopping tour but more of a tour in Coron Island itself.

 

The Twin Lagoons are connected to each other just by a small hole in the cliffs that you swim through. It’s a mesmerizing spot definitely worth a visit. There are more lagoons on the island like green and secret lagoon, but all in all, I must admit that El Nido’s lagoons are the winners here.



Lakes in Coron And El Nido


Coron is absolutely leading over El Nido with its lakes, 11 in number compared to none in El Nido. Not all are open to the public, but the ones that are open, are just fantastic.

 

Kayangan lake is said to be the cleanest in Asia, and the water there (70% fresh, 30% salt) is so clear. I will never forget swimming in it, and you shouldn’t miss it when in Coron. Not to mention that the famous place where I took the picture with that breathtaking view of the sea and cliffs is on the way to reach Kayangan lake (Tour A), so make sure you won’t miss it for anything in the world!

 

Tip: Don’t take a picture only on the usual cliff, be creative and ask someone to take a picture of you  sitting on the cliff but from the small cave behind it as I did in here:



Coron_kayangan_lake_view_point_boat_trip_Tour_A

I decided to leave the picture in this position but you can take straight ones too of course. It’s so lovely to frame such a view with the cave’s rocks!



Barracuda Lake is also a must, again with a mix of salt and freshwater, where you can dive into it, and see lots of fish, a Japanese wreck, and a 30m deep cave where the Barracuda supposedly live.

 

It is considered to be one of the craziest muck dives in the world, but it is perfect for swimming and snorkeling and can be reached by foot from Coron Island.



Other Attractions in Palawan El Nido


Other attractions in El Nido you can try kayaking in Bacuit Bay for the quiet water allow you to paddle at ease, and find secret private beaches.

 

You can do some mountain hiking and climb Taraw cliff for an epic view of the town and bay (be sure to take a guide, it can be pretty dangerous to try on your own).

 

You can also surf in Duli Beach, though it’s going to take you 2 hours to get there. It seems that El Nido’s popularity developed a wider range of activities for its tourists.


BACK TO TOP


 


 

So who is the winner between Coron and El Nido?



The way I look at it, when it comes to deciding which place is better in the attractions category, there is no objective answer and it really depends on your personal preferences.

 

If you like variety but prefer a comfortable vacation, then El Nido might be a better option for you, but if you prefer to explore unfamiliar territories and you have an adventurous spirit, then Coron will give you all you need to enjoy a perfect holiday in Palawan.

 

As you can probably tell from what I wrote so far, I am so attached to both destinations, therefore you can already guess that I’d say you should visit both.

 

Now that there is the fast craft service that connects them, It’s even more difficult to just choose one. In my opinion, these two paradises are both unique and have so many amazing things to offer. This is why it took me around one month to decide where to go and in the end, I am so glad I choose to see both places ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Now it’s up to you and the time you have available, but as a rule of thumb, if you have at least 10/12 days, I’d say… visit both!

 

If you only have a few days or one week, I hope I have given you an unbiased comparison so that you can decide for yourself which one suits you the most. In any case, you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy Palawan Paradise!




STILL NOT SURE WHAT TO CHOOSE ?! THEN BOOK THIS AWESOME 4 DAYS BOAT TRIP  I TOOK WHILE IN CORON. I STILL DREAM ABOUT IT! CHECK IT OUT HERE! 




Have you ever been to Palawan? Which place do you think is best?Leave your comment below!


BACK TO TOP


RELATED ARTICLES:




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clelia-Mattana_keep-calm-and-travel_website

Clelia is an enthusiastic Italian traveler born in the beautiful Island of Sardinia. She quit her job at Burberry London in 2012 to realize her dream to become a digital nomad. Counting the number of countries visited? No thanks! She believes that travel involves memories and emotions more than a list of places.




LIKE IT?

pin it


CORON-OR-EL-NIDO-WHICH-ONE-IS-BETTER
CORON-OR-EL-NIDO-IN-PALAWAN-WHICH-ONE-IS-BETTER-

Read in: Italian German

Comments 75

  1. Cool pointers. I’ve been to El Nido but not in Coron yet. It sounds like comparing ice cream vs cake for dessert. I can’t wait to visit Coron later.

    1. Post
      Author

      Ha! Actually it’s a good comparison! They both have their excellent reasons, that’s why is so difficult to decide in between Coron and El Nido and I ended up deciding to visit both!

  2. Hi Clelia,
    Do you know your favorite place “Siargao” is now the hottest and talked about by tourist. Can you imagine the first time you went there the place is still untouched but now everyone wants to go there. I hope you come back and visit.

    1. Post
      Author

      Ahahah yes I know! It was completely deserted. I guess than my other article about Siargao and especially Sab from Justonewayticket (with whom I shared my room with for our holidays in Siargao) contributed a bit to bring people in, and then every other blogger decided to go there and now every person on the planet apparently! As for me coming back… I wish! One day I will, I promise!! ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. Post
          Author
          1. Some tourist ended up living in Siargao and got pretty busy, not like the time you were there is still untouched. But still Siargao is still beautiful and it is calling your name Clelia.

          2. Post
            Author

            WOW they moved in there?? I was a real Pioneer then! The whole Philippines are calling me actually!:)

  3. Hello and thank you for the great article . I am going to coron/ el nido in December. Cant wait! One question though to which I haven’t been able to find a straight answer: are there jellyfish in the water? If so how big of a problem is it and is a wet suit recommended ?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Sarah
      Oh I envy you a bit, I miss the Philippines so much :)As for your question, in El Nido I saw a few jellyfish during the boat trip but they looked innocuous. If you don’t want to risk it, maybe wear one of those cool surfers long sleeve t-shirts and some knee leggings (I do it from time to time also to avoid getting burned by the sun while snorkeling). But to be honest, even if I hate jellyfish (I got stung recently in Sardinia and it’s rather painful), in the Philippines I had no issues and I didn’t meet anyone who had issues.
      I hope you’ll have a great time in El Nido!
      Cheers
      Clelia

  4. Iโ€™m travelling from the uk & trying to work out a route around the Philippines, Would it be worth arriving at Cebu airport & departing from Manila, Or vice-versa. Appreciate any advice

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi,
      it really depends on how much time do you have and which Islands are “a must” for you. If you give me some more details I might be able to help you. I took many planes during the 3 months I spent in the Philippines, and some of them had a Layover in Manila anyways. You should check the places you want to visit first and then work out an itinerary from there. Look out for Cebu Pacific and Air Asia because they sometimes have promotional/discounted flights depending on the destination.

      Best of luck and let me know if you need some more help
      Cheers
      Clelia

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi, as a rule of thumb you should never drink tap water, but other than that, buying bottled water is perfectly ok. I’ve never gotten sick in my 4 months in the Philippines. Not sure where you are getting this information from?
      Cheers
      Clelia

  5. love it!! thank you so much for the article!! it is sooo helpful!! greeting from Peru!! I will in the Philipines in couple of weeks from now!! I canยดt wait!!

    1. Post
      Author
  6. Hi thinking of staying in El Nido, is it quiet at night or are there parties gong on till 3am every night? I am a light sleeper lol – Also how easy is it to rent like a moped for the day to get to some of the beaches up north like Nacpan Beach. Great article, i read every word haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Craig, first of all, thanks for reading the whole thing! ahhaha very brave! Regarding the question you have… it depends on where you stay. Where I was it was pretty quiet, if you don’t want to hear the noise go let’s say, 3 streets away parallel to the beach/pier where all the bars and parties are.
      Honestly, I would recommend you to do the other way round, as I did. I went to the opposite side of the Island and had such a great time surrounded just by nature, boat trips with just me and max 2 or 3 other people, deserted islands… a paradise. And then, of course, I stayed a few days in town for the main tours. Best decision ever!.

      When I went there it wasn’t super easy to go to one place to the other (it took me more than 1 hour to get to the village from my secluded location) so unless they completely changed the place since I was there last time, it’s not ideal. But that’s also the beauty of it in a way. I truly enjoyed the fact that I was totally isolated from the crowds and I was surrounded by the quiet local life going on.

      I hope you’ll have a great time there! And if you see someone throwing plastic bottles in the sea, please slap them for me. They are completely ruining one of the best places I’ve ever seen in my life! Such a pity.

  7. Hello Clelia, i loved your post. Im going to El Coron on the Easter Holiday from the 18 until the 21 of april, and after that going to El Nido. Im afraid If its going to be verry crowed of turists, and i saw on your post that you did the 2-3 days expeditions! And that was one by far your best experience during your 4 months in the Philippines , so how was It? Which company do you recomend? Thinking to do this expeditions to run away from the crowed Beaches. Thank you and Sorry about my english. Mariana

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Mariana!Glad I could help you with my guide! And honestly, I think your choice would be great, better than facing the crowds especially during the holiday season in El Nido! So, how was it?? Spectacular! Sleeping under the stars, in complete isolation, on a small tent and waking up with the sunrise… just me and other 3 people, cooking and eating the fish they caught that day… if you are not fussy about camping in the wild, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life! As far as the companies are concerned, I asked around and by word of mouth they recommended this one http://www.abandonparadise.com/ and to be honest, I canรฌt say if it’s the best one compare to others, but surely I had the time of my life with them. Very genuine peoples, love their country to pieces and were very respectful of the environment, which I appreciate a lot!I hope this helps and that you’ll have a wonderful time in Palawan. I miss that paradise so much. Enjoy!
      Cheers
      Clelia

        1. Post
          Author
        2. Hi Mariana, i am coming to el nido between 19-29 of april and im looking for expeditions as well! I wanted to do boat tour (3/4 days) from el nido that returns to el nido too cause my flight is from there, but it looks like all companies do either el nido – coron or coron -el nido. they are all one way and you have to make your own way back if you want to go back to departing point. I am staying first 3 days at nacpan beach and then will be heading to one of the expeditions (with camping). I am interewsted what you are going to book . anyway good luck and maybe see you there ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Post
            Author

            Hi Patricia, I step in quickly only to say that there are different boat trips /expeditions. What I did was going from Coron to El Nido with a cheap boat (6-8 hours) and in Coron there was an Expedition JUST for the Coron area, not going to El Nido in my case, but yes, they also have those as well, but not JUST those. The company I have chosen had 3 options, only Coron, Only El Nido and Coron to El Nido (or vice-versa) expeditions.

            Cheers
            Clelia

  8. Thank you for your post! In reading this I realize I donโ€™t have enough time to do both. We only have 6 days. We were thinking about flying from Boracay to El Nido on air Swift spending a couple of days there and then a fast boast to Coron for a couple of days and then flying to Milan. Is that too much?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Barbara, sorry for the super late reply! You might be able to do it if you spend let’say 2 days in Coron (Boat trip to the lake with the viewpoint and if you are into it, scuba diving one day) and then you go to El Nido for 3 days and do the usual boat trips and also enjoy the nightlife, the beaches etc. A bit rushed yes but THEY ARE BOTH SO AWESOME!!!

  9. Highly, highly informative, thank you. Technically speaking, “Which is best?” is correct if you compare more than two. I think you meant to say, “Which is better?”

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for the correction Gus, highly appreciated and I will edit it as soon as I have some time. Being Italian and having learned English very late in life… I do what I can ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi, thanks dor the info you shared! I just want to ask, did you book you firefly watching trip from El Nido? Isn’t it far? Also, do you have contact details of your local guide? Thanks again.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Mayce, thanks for stopping by! As for the firefly tour, I was already in El Nido when I booked it (but NOT in El Nido town, I stayed on the other side of the island for 4 days first, less touristy). The lovely hotel where I was staying organizes everything for you! And the good news is that it’s cheaper than the normal tour, the boat is small with a max of 5-6 people, making the experience even more special!

      If you want to check it out, this is the hotel I was staying (they are bungalows in front of the beach + a cheaper dormitory option). The guide was super! I took another boat trip with them and was amazing, just 4 people and the guide showing us the type of fish, cooking on a deserted beach… in a word: PARADISE!

  11. Hi! When you talk about Coron, are you talking about the coron island or coron town on Busianga island? Weโ€™re there for 10 days and wanted to stay in el nido for 4, coron for 4 (for diving) and somewhere else for 2 days. Iโ€™m mainly interested in the diving off coron so want to know whereโ€™s the best place to stay to dive as well as do boat tours and have nice beaches! Thanks in advance

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Rich, when I say Coron I’m referring to Coron Busuanga (where the airport and main town are), Coron Island is a smaller Island in the Archipelago and you can visit it on boat trips. I personally was also interested in Scuba Diving in Coron (it’s a paradise for that) and I found accommodation in Coron Town. You will find a lot of places where you can ask for scuba diving there.

      Too bad you only have 4 days in Coron as, besides the dives, my personal highlight was a 3 days expedition, camping in the wild on completely deserted small islands (so small that you could literally see the sunset for 15 minutes straight just walking along the shore :), eat the fresh fish straight from the fishermen that go out at night to catch them, snorkel in deserted beaches and looking at the stars and the milky way without any disturbing lights for miles at end. That was a mind-blowing experience for me.

      For the boat trips, just make sure you get to the one going to Kayangan Lake, the view is the famous one everyone see when you google “Coron”, that’s the place you want to be, but usually almost all the boat trips will take you to fabulous beaches and to this viewpoint before discovering the Lake.

      So, to me… the best place is to stay in town. It’s nothing special and there is no real beach in there, but I wasn’t in Coron for the nightlife or to see the town anyway. They have a few pubs, one quite nice for a relaxing evening on the main street, can’t remember the name but you’ll find it easily as there is not much else going on, they have a bar/restaurant near the “beach”/pier which is also nice or small cheap restaurants along the main street serving local food. Coron is a lot less touristy than El Nido Town. I imagine that now it is even more touristy than a few years ago. You’ll see the difference immediately ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope that helps!

  12. Thanks for the detailed guide! I intend to use my 5-day off to travel in the Philippines, but now I don’t know to choose between Palawan and Coron. Which one is more beautiful and convenient to reach?

    1. Post
      Author

      Good question! it really depends where you fly from. I flew from Manila to Coron and then took the boat (8 hours trip of smooth “sailing”), then I had to take the horrific bus from El Nido to Puerto Princesa to fly back to Manila (the bus trip is … how should I put it… quite interesting!) ๐Ÿ™‚ To me, they are both incredibly beautiful, but since you only have 5 days, maybe the quickest option is Coron, even if people tend to prefer El Nido much because of the nightlife and the more variety of boat trips available.

      If you prefer El Nido, now they have added a direct flight from Manila with Air Swift, the thing is, I checked and the website seems to be “unprotected” (not sure what’s going on there and I have never used them so I can’t even recommend them. Try to do an independent research and see if you have the same issue. In theory, you should be able to find the direct flight, in practice, it seems a bit tricky.

      On the other hand, the direct flights to Coron are reliable and I can recommend them as I used them. A tricky choice I know… but these are the options available.

      Cheers
      Clelia

  13. great content here! ill be in the philippines for 3 weeks over xmas this year and will deffo give both a visit and maybe squeeze in either boracay or a tao 5 day expedition. was there much of a language barrier with the locals? i would love to ask a local to take me out on their boat to do some island hopping like you did and would even be willing to pay more beisdes, but will they speak english or should i start learning Filipino?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey George, sorry for the delay in replying! The Philippines are actually THE BEST Asian place in terms of English speaking people. They actually speak excellent English so you won’t have to worry about that for a second! They even teach English in schools in Thailand, I’ve met a fee when I was working as a ballet teacher in a remote village near Koh Tao and they were so much better than me! So enjoy your holidays and in my opinion, if you want the true adventure, skip Boracay (stunning beach , but super touristy) and do the 4-5 days camping adventure. Now that is what the Philippines are really about! You will LOVE it!

      Cheers
      Clelia

    1. Post
      Author

      Ah time…. it’s always an issue, I’m so glad that I had the flexibility to see them both! You have a good reason to go back to Palawan then ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author

      Thank you! I loved Palawan soooo much! I wish I could have spent a whole month in there! I hope you will be able to visit it!

  14. Hi, I like the overall content of this article. It’s quite informative However, I think you can improve it by organizing all the key points. It seemed a bit chaotic to me. Don’t be discouraged though! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks for the feedback! It would have been nice if you said what you have found chaotic so that I could adjust it or ask for more people to comment on it as usually they send me emails saying that my content is quite clear and easy to read and I need more than one feedback to understand if I need to edit the post. But I appreciate your feedback for sure!

      Cheers
      Clelia

  15. I’m really enjoying your web content. Thanks for sharing this article. It will help other users as well :). Big Love and Big Support!

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author

      Both places ARE indeed amazing! I truly spent weeks deciding where to go and I couldn’t resist and went to both, perfect choice for me!

    1. Post
      Author
  16. Great to read you. It s exactly what I need to carry on my five months trip in Asia. My last 18 days will finish it in Palawan. I ll arrive at Busuenga and will leave from Puerta Princessa. Thanks a lot for you information!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Tara, so glad I could help you a bit with your trip! I’m sure you are going to love your stay in Palawan,if I wasn’t living in Mexico at the moment, that’s where I would want to be! Such a Paradise… enjoy it to the fullest!

      Cheers
      Clelia

  17. Thanks for sharing this post this is really very nice and amazing. Glad to have a visit here, today I get an amazing information.

    1. Post
      Author
  18. amazing country with best beaches and a paradise for the tourists, lots of resorts and worth seeing islands. swimming near the caves and under the waterfalls, so beautiful

    1. Post
      Author

      So beautiful indeed, I loved the Philippines, together with Mexico they are on top of the list of the best places I’ve ever seen (besides my beloved Italy/Sardinia of course) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. is Coron infested with Israelis as is El Nido? thereโ€™s nothing worse than going into an โ€˜Italian restaurantโ€™ only to find the food is garbage as the proprietor is Israeli.

    1. Post
      Author

      Oh WOW, I must say I’ve never received a comment like this on my website in 6 years! I might understand your “disappointment” in having rubbish food (either Italian or from any other cuisine), but what is this thing against Israeli people? Maybe I’m interpreting it the wrong way but usually when I go to an Italian restaurant outside ITaly is not that rare to find out that the cook or the owner is not actually Italian. That doesn’t mean they haven’t learned the Italian cuisine from an Italian person and are now able to replicate it. I actually had THE BEST PIZZA of my life in Thailand (Krabi) and the owner was Thai, while the guy making the pizzas was Indian. I asked how was it possible that his pizza was so good and he wasn’t Italian, and he explained that he had learned from an Italian.

      So my suggestion for you is: 1) Eliminate the assumption that Israeli owners of Italian restaurant are bad (why Israeli anyway…?) 2) Even Italian restaurant with Italian owners and cooks might have food that is “rubbish”. So just ask the local people if they know a good Italian restaurant and don’t even ask whether the owner is Italian or not. I understand that it would be Ideal of course but if the food is as good (or close) as the one you might eat in Italy, why don’t enjoy it without thinking too much?

    1. Post
      Author
  20. An Awesome Post.. The information that you provided about these two Island will help me a lot in planning my upcoming trip to Philippines. Thank you.. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Post
      Author
  21. Hi, great read by the way! Thank you for writing.
    Can you provide a link or more info what you mean by the 2-3 day expeditions? It sounds super interesting and quite and experience!

    Btw I will have 12 full days in Palawan. I’ll be disembarking in Puerto Princesa after a liveaboard trip. Would you recommend me splitting the time among Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron or do you think I have time to squeeze in Cebu?

    I really appreciate your help and advice. Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Christine!
      Glad you found the article useful for you ๐Ÿ™‚ So, 12 days in Palawan are not that much as it might seem at first! I would definitely do the 3 days expedition in Coron (or there are also from Coron to El Nido, or El Nido only, but I did the one in Coron), here is a link for the company I have used: Abandon Paradise Expedition. As for squeezing time in Cebu…I wouldn’t recommend it because Cebu itself is not a nice place, you will have to take a boat to go to the Islands (Malapascua, Camotes etc) and you won’t have much time to explore. Better to fully enjoy Coron and El Nido!

      Hope it helps, Cheers
      Clelia

  22. Great that place is looking so awesome and water is one of the best things to experience here. Its really great destination to plan summer holidays and stunning photos you shared.

    1. Post
      Author
  23. Pingback: #AlyWanders The Beaches of Palawan – Aly Speaks Out

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
      1. I won’t get PADI certified until 2018, so for now –El Nido– although I can honestly say that this is a moving target; depends on the timing and what you’re looking for. These days I just like to relax and take it slow.

        I’ll circle back and give it more thought after I visit Chiang Mai in October/November thereabouts.

        Will you be back in CM around that time?

        1. Post
          Author

          You can always go to Coron and try the easy dives, I know of many people who did and some shipwrecks are so close to the surface that you can simply free dive! When you go PLEASE do the 3-day expedition in the wild! It’s incredible!! As for CM, I doubt I will be back in Asia anytime soon, now just getting ready to go to NY for the US Open (tennis) ๐Ÿ˜€ and then back to Europe for a conference and Mexico again. I just love that place (even if the town beach is nothing special but the night walks and moonrise over the sea are unbeatable compared to Chiang Mai) ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe one day, who knows!

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks David! Well, now you know why I loved the Philippines so much and FINALLY I have written about 2 of my favorite places in the world ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *