Yesterday we went on what’s called the “Ultimate Coron” tour. Confusingly, we are staying in Coron town which is on Busuanga island but Coron Island is a separate entity, 20mins away by boat. Coron Island is the main draw in this area and almost everyone comes here to do a tour or charter their own private boat to explore. It’s an imposing and inaccessible jungle clad, limestone island, studded with a couple of magnificent lakes.
As we’ve found with other tours in El Nido, it’s organised chaos here. We were picked up at 8.30 and herded into a busy port area with many other passengers, all looking confused and unsure of which boat they would be allocated. Given that there are up to 6 different set tours, it’s definitely not straight forward.
We were eventually shown our boat and we sat waiting in the sun for a good 40mins as more and more passengers got loaded on. The two benches on the boat filled out and yet more and more passengers arrived, cramming in where they could. Soon there were too many people and they had to just perch anywhere they could. Another example of Filipino resourcefulness or blatant flouting of health and safety.
We eventually got going and made our way to Coron Island, gliding over wonderfully still, turquoise water. Our first stop was Twin Lagoon, accessible by swimming through a jagged arch. Both were gorgeous.
We then headed to a coral garden for snorkelling and onto CYC beach for a fish BBQ lunch. The island and beach was very beautiful but sadly the weather was pretty overcast. We’ve found that the sun makes all the difference here, adding incredible sparkle to ripples in the sea and intense vibrancy to the azure blue of the water and white of the powder sand. We’d heard so much about Coron and seen such perfect postcard pictures of the beaches that it was a little disappointing that the beach wasn’t bathed in sunlight for us.
Following lunch we stopped at a site called Skeleton wreck, where it’s possible to see the remains of a sunken war ship just 6 meters down. There are actually over 10 sunken Japanese warships and merchant ships around these waters, making Coron very popular with divers.
We then went to the star attraction of the island called Kayangan lake. The colour of the lake is unreal. A concentrated, milky aqua, set against dark grey and green jungle. The lake is all the more rewarding for being set in such an inhospitable environment. Accessible by a steep climb, and set within unforgiving, sheer mountains. We were told that sadly two tourists died here last year, attempting a free dive in the lake. A sobering reminder of how remote it is here and the reasoning behind the enforcement of life vests for all visitors. We were both in agreement that the lake would be even more incredible if the sun was out in full force, but is was very impressive nonetheless.
Our final stop for the day was called Siete Pecados. It’s a small protected sanctuary just off the coast, boasting some of the best snorkelling we’ve experienced so far in this trip. A myriad of colours, fish and different coral species. We saw starfish, angel fish and an eel. It was the perfect end to a great tour.