With islands and karsts as beautiful as Ha Long Bay, with thriving coral that I can only imagine rivals Great Barrier Reef and with warm waters that you’d expect in the Caribbean, Coron Bay in the Philippines is incredible and should be on every traveller’s list.
We booked the Ultimate Tour of Coron, a highlights tour, costing 1400 peso each (around £22). We hopped on a boat, life-jackets and snorkels at the ready and away we went. Booking a tour was easy, our hotel offered it but there are numerous places around town selling it too. They all start around 1600 peso but you can haggle a little off. Take with you your swimsuit, flip-flops, snorkel, towel, water, sunscreen, insect repellant and an under-water camera (thank God for the GoPro). Here are our highlights of the Ultimate Tour of Coron.
Siete Pecados was our first, and the best, stop. Hopping off the boat straight into the sea you are greeted by a colourful array of coral and fish. Unfortunately I can only nickname the fish as I have no idea what they are actually called! I think one was a parrot fish, and a stripy triangle fish, some sharp ones, and some polka dot ones (haha!).
We then visited Skeleton Wreck. Before we got there I was freaking out that we would see actual skeletons! Then we heard that the wreck was 6-7 metres under water and we weren’t allowed to dive, we had to keep our life-jackets on. Pete however, chose to ignore that and went down anyway. No skeletons I’m afraid, just covered in crazy coral. This wreck is of a Japanese War ship back in World War 2, shot down by American planes.
We stopped at a couple of breath-taking beaches along the way too, both with white, silky sand and clean, clear waters. We loved the ice-cream boat that was there! He played a little tune like the ice-cream vans do at home, and paddles to each tour boat with his box of ice-creams. What a great idea!
Our last two stops were Twin Lagoon and Kayangan Lake. Both pools of water were surrounded in a cove of towering karsts. At Twin Lagoon you have to swim under an archway to get from one lagoon to the other. At Kayangan Lake, you have to climb up some steeps steps to reach the lake. I tried to find out exactly how many steps but answered varied from 135 to over 300! So who knows? If you go, count them for me! There is also a fantastic view-point from the hill over the islands within Coron Bay.
The Ultimate Tour of Coron was an unbelievable tour which I would highly recommend doing. Snorkelling over corals has become my new favourite thing! It is just fascinating seeing these other-worlds under the sea. And when the water is so warm and inviting and the beaches so tropical, who can resist? Just take note, if you go in the rainy season like we did, expect to be caught in a horrendous downpour!