Whenever I’m stressed at work, especially when I’m almost or completely exhausted, I always think about going somewhere on vacation. Because I love the beach, my idea of a vacation is a paradise island getaway. It’s just you, the beach, the sand, the sun, and maybe underwater meeting Nemo and the rest of the gang. When a friend of mine came back from vacation looking relaxed and tanned, I was jealous. Even more so when he told me where he should go – Coron Island in Palawan, Philippines. When you think about the distance, it can feel like a really long, long way to go on vacation.
But when I saw the beautiful photos he took, I knew that Coron Island would now be part of my personal itinerary for an island getaway.
Where in the World is Coron?
With tropical islands like the Maldives, and the Caribbean, to name a few, it’s perhaps no surprise that people don’t know about Coron, Palawan. Is Coron where the underground river is located? The answer is no. Coron is a municipality of Palawan just like El Nido. You have to access a completely different airport on Busuanga Island to get to Coron. Underground river also known as Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park or Puerto Princesa Underground River for short, is found in Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan Island. Coron, however, is not without charm. In fact, Coron Island is in the top 10 best sites for scuba diving in the list compiled by Forbes Traveler Magazine.
What to Do in Koron?
Coron Island is a paradise for divers. If you are an avid scuba diver then you will know that this is one of the best places where you can see Japanese World War II shipwrecks scattered throughout the area. Swimming from bow to stern, you can see all kinds of beautiful marine life such as schools of fish and brightly colored coral growing among the ruins. If you have a vivid imagination and a superstitious fear of sinking ships, you can explore less intimidating options such as underwater caves or coral gardens. Even if you can’t dive, snorkeling is still an amazing experience that you shouldn’t miss!
Sites to View, Swim and Explore
Coron is home not only to the best diving spots but also beautiful white sand beaches, lagoons and lakes. Of the seven lakes, only two are open to the public, namely Kayangan Lake and Barracuda Lake. The former has won the award for the cleanest lake in the Philippines for three years in a row. To get to Kayangan Lake, you have to climb 50 steps to get a beautiful view of the bay before going down to the lake. To get to Lake Barracuda, you first need to take a 20-minute boat ride from Coron and then you need to climb the limestone walls which are about 25 meters high. Navigating rough terrain can be tricky, so be careful on hikes.
As well as the lake and lagoon, you can climb more than 700 steps to Mount Tapyas where you can see the city of Coron and the many islands and islets that surround it. It’s more ideal to hike in the late afternoon so you can catch a spectacular sunset there. To soothe tired muscles after your journey, enjoy a relaxing soak in Maquinit Hot Springs. Don’t make the mistake of jumping into it as the boiling temperature will make you feel as if you are being boiled alive. Instead, dip slowly into the pool, working your way up from your feet to your body gradually acclimating to the temperature. When this happens, the heat becomes a soothing balm for all the cuts and pain you’ve picked up from your journey.
Since Coron Island may be far from where you are, it’s a good idea to take one travel insurance with you only as a backup for situations like delayed or canceled flights. These are simply necessary precautions that you should take not only on a holiday island but on every trip you take.
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