Coron is a group of tropical islands in the province of Palawan in the Philippines. The area includes a few bigger islands and a large number of small islands. Remote, untouched, with white sandy beaches, many palm trees and high limestone cliffs. It’s hard to believe these places are real. If you want to see the true paradise, the one without the luxury hotels, just nature at its best, keep on reading to find out which is the best island hopping tour in Coron and which are the top 10 most secluded islands in Coron. It’s no surprise many major travel magazines in recent years are placing Palawan at the top of their must-see destination lists. This is not only the best island hopping tour in Coron but probably the best island hopping tour I have ever done. I saw the most extraordinary islands in the Philippines.
The best island hopping tour in Coron
Your base camp in Coron will most likely be Coron town. You will find many companies that offer boat trips around Coron but most of them do just one-day trips and it’s unlikely that they will take you to all top 10 islands in Coron. This means there is a certain limit to how far they can go, as they need to return the same day. So how do you pick the best island hopping tour in Coron when there are so many? When we were looking for a way to visit the truly untouched and secluded islands in Coron, I came across the 4-day Big Dream Boat Man Coron expedition*. These guys know their Coron islands. They call it an “expedition” rather than a tour. I had never done anything like this but I wanted to try it! It ended up being one of the most epic travel experiences I have ever had. If you want to see the this paradise for yourself, check out their website for the expedition schedule*. I have partnered with BDBM to give you a special discount, so make sure to use code “MONIKA10” on their website to get 10% off your expedition booking.
Here is a short summary of the BDBM expedition: 1 boat, 3 nights, 4 days, unlimited pineapple and rum cocktails and many secluded islands to explore. The expedition is normally comprised of small groups of around 10 people. A chef on board will prepare fresh, delicious meals daily and the rest of the crew will ensure you are having fun at all times. Here is a fun video from the the expedition:
We saw some of the most amazing beaches we have ever seen. We watched sunsets and observed night skies, filled with stars, undisturbed by city lights. We fell asleep on islands that we never even imagined existed and I couldn’t wait to wake up at 5:45 am to watch the sunrise on the horizon. We slept in basic accommodations but got more than a 5-star hotel stay. We went island hopping with a bunch of tour guides and travellers but by the end of the trip, they were our friends. The crew are true best friends and they have fun not just to entertain you but because they genuinely love what they do. Who wouldn’t!?
It’s not the best island hopping tour in Coron just because of the extraordinary secluded locations they take you to but also because of the great vibe these guys create during the expedition and the memories you create.
So here are the top 10 islands in Coron you must visit. We got to all these islands with the BDBM group. They follow a similar itinerary on most tours depending on the weather. Keep in mind that some of these are privately owned islands. You will have to pay a small fee to visit them or spend the night there if you happen to find some other way of getting there. For us, it was all included in our BDBM expedition package.
Top 10 islands in Coron to explore while island hopping
1. Coron island
This is the obvious and touristic one, basically the Eiffel tower of Coron. Oddly enough, the main island where Coron town and the airport are located is not actually called Coron, but Busuanga. Coron island is located south of Busuanga and it’s the most popular destination as most day trips can easily get there. The island is inhabited by native people who make a small profit from the visiting tourist groups. This is the first stop of the BDBM’s best island hopping tour in Coron but given that it’s the most popular island, it certainly wasn’t as impressive as the next ones we were about to see.
The most distinctive feature of Coron island are the amazing limestone cliffs. The kind of cliffs you see on every travel ad for the Philippines. Bring your drone if you have one but keep in mind that there is a strong magnetic interference here and some drones (like my DJI Spark) are not able to function properly. I decided not to risk it and left my sparky on the boat.
The two most popular spots on Coron island are Kayangan Lake and Twin lagoon. Kayangan lake is made of 70% fresh water and 30% salt water. It’s quite a popular spot so this is not the most secluded place but the BDBM crew took us at the quietest time when it’s not that crowded. Once you get there you will have to climb about 300 steps to get to a little deck where you get to see this spectacular view.
The Twin lagoon has a similar kind of beauty. When you swim there, have your mask and snorkel on. The lagoon is beautiful underwater as well and you can observe an interesting phenomenon where the salty and the fresh water mix and you see a blurry line between the two.
This was the most “crowded” island out of the top 10 islands in Coron that we visited, the rest from this list are truly secluded and a lot more private.
2. Vivian beach
I am not sure if the actual name of the island is Vivian beach but this place is known by that name. This is where we had our first gorgeous lunch, surrounded by nature, sitting on a tiny, remote beach, accessible only by water. There are a few small huts with tables, making this beach an ideal stop for a delicious meal.
Speaking of food, I was a bit worried about the menu options when we are out at sea for 4 days. However after our first lunch, all my worries were gone. Here are a few pictures of some of our delicious meals from the expedition.
Chef Reynald caters to every special dietary request and always has fresh fish and veggie options. He was even able to cater for a gluten-free vegetarian girl that was part of the group. White rice (aka “Filipino power”) is an important part of every meal and we had some at breakfast, lunch and dinner! We also had western breakfast options like fluffy pancakes and eggs. You can get hungry exploring the top 10 islands in Coron but food is always available. Afternoon snacks like banana fried pancakes are also part of the meals. The best island hopping tour in Coron has to have great food as well! Yum!
3. Banana island
Banana island is where we spent our first night from the 3-night expedition. We arrived there late in the day and departed early in the morning. During that time, we were the only people on the island and of course, the people that take care of it. We slept in the traditional beach huts you see on the picture above. They were very basic but we had everything we could possibly need. I could hear the waves right in front of our house as I was going to sleep. This is where it started to feel like a real adventure! Imagine waking up on this beach…
4. Ditaytayan sandbar island
Our first stop after departing from Banana island in the morning was the spectacular Ditaytayan sandbar. I had never seen a real sandbar before and I was excited to tick this off my list. We arrived early in the morning when none of the other boats had reached the island yet. Just us and a long stretch of sand, surrounded by mesmerizing waters on each side. Oh and there was a dog. We quickly discovered that on each island, no matter how remote, there is at least one dog and a rooster. The locals that live on the island look them after.
5. Lusong island
Lusong was probably the best snorkelling destination of the expedition. We didn’t actually step foot on the island itself, just swam around it and the famous Lusong Coral Garden. The waters there are full of life. The underwater exploration started from a Japanese shipwreck. There are many of them around Coron from the Japanese occupation of the Philippines back in the days. Now, they have turned into a home for many sea creatures.
You can see all sorts of fish here and if you are lucky, sea turtles as well. Not sure if it was luck or if the BDBM guys simply know where to find them, but we had the pleasure of meeting a sea turtle and it was the grand finale of a stunning snorkelling experience around Lusong island.
6. North Cay nature island (Pagtenga Island)
North Cay was our second and my favourite overnight island out of the three. We had so much fun there. Our arrival was early enough so we could catch the sunset. The guys played a quick basketball game before dinner, while some of us just chilled at the beach. Later on, the BDBM crew built a bonfire, which led to a night of dancing, lots of Filipino jokes (you will see) and many pineapple and rum cocktails. All shared with a wonderful group of travellers with many stories to tell.
Our bed for the night was this tent with a see-through “roof”. We stargazed before going to sleep and we listened to the sound of the sea just next to us. I woke up at my usual island life morning time – 5:30 am and all we had to do, to watch the sunrise was to unzip our tent as it was positioned facing the sun (very nice touch). This, for me, was the most special moment of this trip. No 5-star hotel will beat this experience.
7. Black island
The stunning beach on Black island is where you will find another Japanese shipwreck. We didn’t do any snorkelling here but we did visit the caves on Black island beach. There are natural pools inside where you can take a dip and jump from the rocks. We also participated in a fake ritual the BDBM crew staged for us inside the pools of the cave. It all seemed very real and spiritual until Joy asked us to pee in the water. You will not be bored with these guys, the Filipino jokes are a special part of this expedition!
Black island has a slightly different kind of beauty to the other small islands we visited due to the magnificent limestone cliffs overlooking the white sandy beach. The waters are the perfect shade of blue. Black island is one of the more popular islands but we visited early in the day and we were alone (again!).
8. Island #8
Island #8 has a name but I have decided not to share it for several reasons. It’s hard to choose but this was my favourite island out of all. We were walking on the beach and there were no other footsteps in the sand. The water was so clear, that I could see fish 10 metres ahead of me. Behind the beach – an untouched forest. This island is the true definition of a secluded, tropical paradise and to preserve its wilderness, I will keep the name to myself. It sounds selfish but sometimes what we bloggers and “influencers” share can really have an impact on some destinations. It’s not always a positive one.
Island #8 is where we had our lunch for the day and some had a nap under the palms. The BDBM team just let us relax here for a few hours. The expedition has an itinerary but it is not so strict in terms of timing and it doesn’t feel rushed in any way. This is one of the reasons why I think this is the best island hopping tour in Coron – you get to see the top 10 islands in Coron and actually enjoy it.
9. Maltatayoc sandbar island
We had a short stop at Maltatayok and I saw my second sandbar ever in the short period of 4 days. You can see lots of beautiful shells washed up on the beach here but don’t try take any of them home with you. They are most beautiful in their natural environment. That is one of the few rules of the best island hopping tour in Coron.
This island is another stretch of untouched paradise and in case you are interested, it’s up for sale! Yep, you can buy this piece of nature for 6.2 million USD!
10. Pass island
Pass island was our third and sadly, our last accommodation of the expedition. In the evening we had an epic traditional Filipino dinner. Lots of fresh fish, rice (aka Filipino power) and we ate with our hands like most locals do. The best part of the meal was that we shared it with the BDBM crew and it was a great way to spend our last night. We slept in a small traditional beach hut again but this time the island was a bit livelier (in a nice way). There was another group spending the night there but in no way were they disturbing.
If I had to send one postcard from this trip, officially the best island hopping tour in Coron as per tripadvisor, it would be one of these drone shots of Pass Island. Not a bad place to wake up to, right?
If you want to see the this paradise for yourself, and experience the best island hopping tour in Coron check out BDBM’s website for the expedition schedule*. I have partnered with them to give you a special discount, so make sure to use code “MONIKA10” on their website to get 10% off your expedition booking.
Special thanks to the crew – Joy, Darwin, Ambo, Aris, chef Reynald, Bobet, Ismael and captain Rodel for taking care of us on this amazing adventure. The Big Dream Boat Man Coron expedition is without any doubt the best island hopping tour in Coron that will take you to the top 10 islands in Coron.
Looking for some more travel inspiration? Check out some of my other travel posts.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I was a complimentary guest of the BDBM expedition but all opinions are mine, I genuinely believe this is the best island hopping tour in Coron.