Monday, October 12, 2009

Palawan: Coron hotels, transportation and more stuff to help you plan your trip

Coron, Palawan, named one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world by Forbes Traveler, ranks among Philippine destinations that we can truly call paradise. It's no doubt a world-class diving destination! But Coron is not just about diving. And the past few days that I've been here, Coron has not failed to impress. Here are some tips to help you plan your Coron trip.

To get to Coron, you could travel by air or by sea. From the Coron Port, you could easily get a tricycle to the center of town. But the Busuanga Airport is another story.

There are several airlines that fly to Busuanga. The Busuanga Airport is about 30 minutes away from Coron. Unless you've pre-arranged pick-up with your hotel, you might have no choice but to hire a van to take you to Coron which is about Php1,500.

Like in most of my trips, I just walked out of the airport and asked around. It turns out, there is are shuttles which you could take for Php150/head that drops you off at your hotel in Coron. If you still don't have a hotel, you can ask help from the driver.

I went around and here is a list of some of the hotels I liked. We decided to stay at Seadive Resort since it's close to the market and the center of town. Plus, if you're low on cash, they accept credit cards for rooms, food and diving services.

It's the only PADI certified dive center in Coron and the only resort in Palawan with a certified recompression chamber. That's why it's rated Gold Palm 5 Star by PADI. They have a good restaurant, plus many of the best restaurants in Coron are just a few meters away. Rooms start at Php400 for Fan Rooms with common bathroom to Php1,400 for the Deluxe Room.

Busuanga Seadive Resort
+63 920 9458714
+63 918 4000448

Coron Ecolodge Hotel

+63 906 4556090
+63 919 2048824

A few hundred meters away, along the National Highway and close to the town plaza are other good options for accommodation. Coron Village Lodge and Darayonan Lodge are beside each other. While Princess of Coron is a few meters inside. But they have some of the better rooms and a swimming pool too.

Coron Village Lodge
+63 2 8053414
+63 928 2020819
+63 916 4200252

Darayonan Lodge
+63 917 5866098
+63 2 4375785
+63 917 8811151
+63 908 7732964

Princess of Coron
+63 919 4095548

The best hotel in town is no doubt the Coron Gateway Hotel which is right beside the market. The spacious and luxurious rooms however aren't cheap but definitely worth the extra pesos. In fact, the bathrooms alone are bigger than some hotel rooms in Coron! Each room is a Junior Suite. Those with one queen bed cost Php3,500. Those with two queen beds cost Php5,500. While the Presidential Suite, complete with living room and kitchen are Php7,500 a night. But being a new hotel, they still don't accept credit cards. So you'll have to bring a lot of cash.

Coron Gateway Hotel
+63 2 8877107
+63 48 7231659
+63 921 7232456
+63 929 7955049

GMG Hotel
+63 2 7363187
+63 919 5961172
+63 918 9475871
+63 939 8456837

For budget accommodation, you may also try the following:

Balaibinda Lodge
+63 927 9072164
+63 908 2185181
+63 922 4512441

Coron Reef Calamianes Pension House
+63 919 8877151
+63 9194501606

Getting around Coron and the nearby islands is very easy since there are a lot of pump boats for hire. While the Calamian Tourist Boat Association has standard rates, they may vary depending on the season, your haggling capabilities and the condition of the sea (since larger boats may be needed if the waters are not as calm as they should be).

But to give you an idea, there are three different rates depending on the size of the boat which could accommodate 1 to 5, 6 to 8, and 10 to 15 persons respectively. Here are some of the suggested rates for the small boats which could accommodate 1 to 5 people:

Coron Island and vicinity - Php1,500
Culion Island - Php2,500 (Php3,000 is still a good price)
Malcapuya/Banana/Malaroyroy - Php2500 (Although I haven't found anyone who would agree to this rate. It's usually Php3,000 to 3,500)
Calumbuyan Island - Php3,000
Calauit Island - Php7,500

Tricycles rates start at Php8 per head. But if you'll hire one for Maquinit Hot Spring, it would cost you up to Php300 round-trip since they'll wait for you there. More Coron adventures coming up.

Related entry
Things to do in Coron, Busuanga and Culion, Palawan
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