Thanks to the media and word of mouth, Coron is now known as one of the best diving destinations in the world. Year after year, divers and tourists come to the waters and shores of this beautiful town to experience its unnatural beauty and go home with fantastic stories to tell.
Most travelers come to Coron looking forward to exploring the ten or so wreckage of Japanese warships sunk during World War II. Others visit for the great photography; breathtaking views in all directions are pretty common in this part of the Philippine Islands. Others still come for the virgin beaches that beat even the most beautiful in the world.
If you’re planning on a holiday in Coron but would like to explore other recreation opportunities aside from wreck diving, you will not be disappointed. As rustic as this town might seem to many, there are a lot of activities and Coron attractions that can be enjoyed by the modern occasional traveler. Here are some of them:
This lake is one of the most photographed Coron attractions and in the entire Philippines. You may have caught a glimpse of it in the 2012 film The Bourne Legacy. It is one of the two accessible lakes in Coron Island; the rest are off-limits to visitors as they are considered sacred ancestral domain of the Tagbanuas. To get to Kayangan Lake, one has to endure a steep, often difficult 10-minute climb. But what awaits is more than worth the arduous journey and the waters, even more. A wooden walkway along the shores of the lake has been built in an effort to make things a little easier for visitors. Kayangan Lake is the cleanest in the Philippines.
These are a couple of lagoons separated by towering limestone karst. It is possible to get from one lagoon to the other by climbing a set of stairs carved on the cliff or swimming through a hole submerged in the clear waters. During low tide, swimming through is easier and it is also possible to kayak through the hole to get to the other side.
Located a little less than an hour from Coron town by land, Kingfisher Park is a tranquil piece of paradise that must not be missed when visiting. The park is a sprawling property with mangrove forests, bike paths, waterfalls and many other natural attractions that will literally take your breath away. SUP Tours Philippines includes a tour through Kingfisher Park in their Coron 7-night package.
Mt. Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring
If you’ve been led to believe that Coron attractions are all limestone karst, crystal blue waters, cold lakes and dive sites, these attractions would disprove that belief. A requisite activity for first-time visitors in Coron is to climb the 700 or so steps to the summit of Mount Tapyas where commanding views of the town and the outlying islands await. After the arduous journey up and down the mountain, you may proceed to the Maquinit Hot Spring to sooth the aching muscles in the geothermal water which empties out into the ocean.
Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary
Located in Busuanga, this attraction takes you on an African safari adventure. The expansive space is home to endemic and foreign wildlife species freely roaming in their natural habitat. These animals include zebras, waterbucks, impalas, giraffes, elands, bushbucks, wild boars, crocodiles, the Palawan bearcat (binturong), Palawan Peacock Pheasant, Mouse Dear and the Calamian Deer, among others. Tours are conducted aboard a bus; supervised animal feeding is allowed during certain parts of the day.
This beach is reputably one of the best not just in Coron but the entire country. Located a 20-minute boat ride from Coron town, this beach is a magnificent sight even before you step on its shores: towering rugged cliffs gently cascade into the immaculate beach adorned with the most endearing calachuchi trees. If that is not gorgeous to you, I don’t know what is. Banol Beach is a perfect place to hang out for an afternoon.
Other dive sites
Apart from the wrecks, Coron attractions also include a few interesting dive sites that have so far never failed to disappoint those who have already experienced them. If you still have some time to spare during your holiday, do check them out.
- Barracuda Lake – This is one of the two accessible lakes in Coron Island. It is considered “the craziest dive in Coron” due to the challenging climb one has to go through while in full diving gear sans the fins. The underwater terrain has been likened to the surface of the moon and temperatures change as you descend into the water. If you get lucky, you’ll get to spot a giant barracuda. At the north wall of the lake is a cave which can be penetrated up to 30 meters deep.
- Cathedral Cave – This is also in Coron Island and one has to dive through a tunnel at a 12-meter depth, emerge into a cavern with natural light coming from a hole on the roof of the cave (this is the cathedral) and go through another passage into the ocean where you can enjoy more wonderful views.
- Siete Picadoes Reef – A conservation area, expect to see schools of colorful fishes and a wide array of corals on the sea bed. This area east of Coron town once played home to mermaids in a local fantasy series.
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Have you been to any of these Coron attractions? Do share your experiences in the comments box below. We’d love to hear from you!