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Sunday, December 1, 2013

EL NIDO vs CORON: Which is Better?


I know it is wrong to compare but I am doing this so as so provide reference for those who haven't been to both El Nido and Coron and for those who are torn on which to choose for their first ever "wow moments" on an island getaway.

We went to El Nido on the 1st week of April this year. I fell in love with the place. If you go here and don't fall in love with it, you should have yourself checked, something is seriously wrong with you. I even told my wife, "if I go missing one day, El Nido is where you can find me. The place made a lasting impression on me. It is still my most favorite of favorites until now.

The trip sparked my eagerness to see Coron to find out which is better. We were lucky to get to see it on the same year, Oct. 18-21, a few weeks before super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck.


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El Nido Palawan
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Coron Palawan


THE SIMILARITIES

1. Both are located in Northern Palawan Philippines.
2. Both are characterized by small but booming mainland towns and amazing islands accessible through boat tours.
3. Both are Easy on the Budget 
4. Both have giant limestone cliffs formed millions of years ago. 
5. Both are quite difficult to access, with El Nido being very time consuming (unless you are part of the elite and can afford a private plane or an exclusive island resort accommodation) and Coron with its pricey plane tickets because commercial airline companies servicing Busuanga hardly make seat sales for limited-budget travelers like me. 
6. Both have jaw-dropping attractions which you will remember for the rest of your life. I think I already said that :p
7. Both offer side-trip attractions you will surely enjoy.


El_Nido Palawan Isalnd Hopping
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But between EL NIDO and CORON,
 Which is Better? 

Traveling to and from Coron or El Nido


El Nido - 1 hour plane ride from Manila to Puerto Princesa + 6 hours land travel to El Nido Town.
It sounded like "torture" when I heard of it. Surprisingly, it was fun. The eagerness to get there, the comfort provided by van transfers these days plus the beautiful landscape along the way made all the waiting and sitting in a car worthwhile. It's part of the beauty of the experience.

Coron -- 1 hour by plane from Manila to Busuanga + 45 minutes land travel to Coron Town.
Equally beautiful landscape from airport to town and less stressful on your back.

THE VERDICT.

We need to understand that time is of scarcity to many people. You re lucky if you are a bum and has a rich family to support your whims, but what about those who are in the corporate world who can only escape on weekends ----Coron is the better choice.

PS: If you are afraid of shaky plane rides, go El Nido instead, planes in Coron are small so they tend to shake more at the slightest turbulence. Napaaga ang punta namin sa Coron before rainy season ended and I was traumatized. Akala ko hindi na ako aabot ng buhay.lol



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El Nido
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Coron

The TOWNS

El Nido and Coron towns are almost on the same category when it comes to economic activity and size but Coron is a little bigger. Only the basic essentials--no shopping malls, no fast food chains, hardly any atm ( Oh, Coron has one, so that makes Coron  more progressive) so please don't expect luxury. Both are fishing villages experiencing early stages of development thanks to tourism.

It is the physical orientation of these towns that spills the difference. Coron Town is more of a long stretch of houses and establishments concentrated along the main road constrained by the hills on one side and the sea on the other side. No wonder why they reclaimed a certain area near the public market so as to give room for future developments.

CORON Town
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El Nido town is more of a squarish orientation so it is easier to move around to any direction. There are also cliff constraints but the habitable area is mostly flat.

EL NIDO Town
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THE VERDICT:

I find El Nido town more easy to navigate and therefore more tourist friendly. It is more compact so it is more livable. The coastline also has a beachfront and although nobody swims there as sand is not that good and water is not that clear, the space provided by the beach makes for a feeling that the place could breath. I love strolling here in the afternoon as it faces the west. Corong Corong beach is where you can find breathtaking sunsets.

I also enjoy walking by the beach at night when bars and restaurants along it come to life. Tourists scatter on the chairs and tables setup in front of these establishments while music from mellow to disco tempo is being played. Not too loud and crowded as that of Puerto Galera or Boracay though so the mood is just right---not too boring but at the same time, not too loud.

At dahil me beachfront ang El Nido, me nightlife kahit panu, sa Coron, patay ang gabi.lol

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beach in El Nido town
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seashore in Coron Town

ACCOMODATIONS
Both offer a wide range of accommodations from budget inns to a little the more expensive ones. Don't expect 5-star accommodation though. At least in both towns. Luxury accommodations are on the islands. In the case of El Nido, El Nido Resorts has four (4) prime eco-resorts in  Miniloc Island, Lagen Island , Apulit Island and Pangulasian Island. In Coron, Two Seasons Coron is the envy of all.

Both destinations are famous for backpackers so one can easily find budget accommodations like the Inns where we stayed at as listed below.

El NIDO--we stayed in Blessed Inn
http://www.pusangkalye.net/2013/04/elnidosummer2013-blessed-inn.html
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CORON- We stayed in
Patrick & Tezz Guesthouse 
PATRICK & TEZZ GUESTHOUSE Coron: The Best $10 you"ll ever spend

Coron Ecolodge
CORON ECOLODGE: for budget conscious travelers who don't want to compromise quality
PATRICK & TEZZ_GUesthouse_Coron
Patrick& Tezz Coron

THE VERDICT:

You can find cheap accommodations in Both El Nido and Coron. If you are into the more classy ones, you will not also be frustrated. Just don't expect luxury especially in town, the high end ones are in the islands and they are really expensive.

TOWERING ROCK FORMATIONS


Both Coron and El Nido are characterized by Giant Rock Formations, towering cathedral limestones formed millions of years ago. The distinction is that El Nido is composed of many islands scattered around Bacuit Bay and extends as far as in the area of Tanay Palawan. Most of the islands are so high I call them "mountain island". Mangangawit leeg mo sa kakatingala.


EL NIDO
Island Hopping Rates in El Nido
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CORON ISLAND
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snorkeling in Coron 


Coron Island on the other hand is one Massive Island with only a few small islands around it. Most of the main attractions are located on the side facing Busuanga Island.

Cliffs here are also a sudden drop and the edges of the island are also towering but not as grand as that of El Nido. Rock edges are also pointed as that of El Nido as a result of corrosion caused by rain but I felt that rocks in El Nido are more sharp/pointed.
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El Nido
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Coron

THE VERDICT

Both El Nido and Coron Island are have amazing sights when it comes to towering rock formations but the ones in Coron pales in comparison with the Grandeur of the rock formations in El Nido.


EL NIDO
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CORON

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Siete Picados Coron
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Blue Lagoon Coron
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Atuayan Beach Coron
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island hopping in Coron



HIDDEN LAGOONS and SECRET LAGOONS

In El Nido, "hidden" and "secret" are two distinct words, they have a secret beach and a hidden beach, a secret lagoon and a hidden lagoon. And they also have a Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon. What about that!

Sure, Coron has what they call Twin Lagoon but if it is with the battle of lagoons, El Nido is the winner.

EL NIDO
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to the hidden Lagoon of El Nido
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The hidden beach of El Nido
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BEACHES

If you are after beaches, go to El Nido, there's beach everywhere there. Magsasawa ka. 
This is what El Nido is well known for. Yes, sand may not be as white and fine as that of Boracay but the GRAND SCALE white sand-clear water-grand rock formations combination is something only El Nido can offer.

THE VERDICT
I give it to El Nido when it comes to beaches.




SECRET BEACH EL NIDO
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There is one exemption in Coron though, MALCAPUYA ISLAND.
This is Coron's answer to Boracay.
Read my entry here: 


MALCAPUYA BEACH CORON
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MALCAPUYA Coron
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UNDERWATER

Underwater in El Nido is not that impressive though, at least when compared to Coron. I don't know with deep regions as El Nido is also famous for SCUBA divers but in as far as snorkeling is concerned, there's nothing much to see in terms of coral formations. Water in El Nido is so clear though that snorkeling is still an enjoyable activity here. You will find a few fish  but not as much as that in Coron. Corals in El Nido are already eroded which might explain why they have a lot of beaches, naabo na lahat at nasa pangpang. :p

In Coron, underwater life is soooooo alive.  Coron is considered as one of the best dive sites in the world. And you don't need to be a SCUBA diver to realize this. Siete Picados and Coral Garden are classic example of snorkeling areas where you can find large areas of coral formations. When they say "coral garden" in Coron, they really mean "garden of corals". I have never seen corals this much. It felt like swimming in a giant aquarium full of corals when we were in Coral Garden. I hated myself for not bringing an underwater camera. Well, I don't have one to start with. Haha!


THE VERDICT

Coron can give El Nido a run for the money when it comes to the beauty underwater. No contest.
Be sure to bring an underwater camera.



Tapiutan Strait
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Be warned though, the reason why Coron doesn't have many beaches is that most of the water bordering the island are deep, and I mean very deep. A creepy experience each time you set your sight on these dark sections of the sea. I felt that when we were in Coral Garden and Baracuda Lake. Look a little far and you will notice the sudden dark portions underwater. Pretty scary, para kang lalamunin ng dagat sa lalim.

LAKES

Speaking of Baraccuda Lake, Coron is famous for it's lakes, something that El Nido cannot offer. Kayangan Lake is the most famous attraction in the island and Baraccuda is not far behind when it comes to popularity. The two lakes are enchanting and should not be missed. Looking at the satellite map of Coron Island, you will notice a giant lake on the Southern section which is not yet open to tourists. That is a cause of wonder. I am really curious how it looks like and if ever it is accessible because seeing the giant cliffs on the western and southern sections of the island, I reckon that access to that lake could be quite a feat.

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Kayangan Lake Coron
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Baraccuda Lake Coron



SIDE TRIP DESTINATIONS

In both Coron and El Nido, we arrived past lunchtime which meant too late for island hopping but enough to warrant a quick side trip. There are interesting destinations around town in both destinations. I El Nido, we went to Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beach which is around 17 kms North and in Coron, we hiked Mt. Tapyas which is within the vicinity of Coron Town.

One striking similarity of these two destinations is that they provide you a taste of what to expect the next day for island hopping, a mental mapping of some sort of where you are headed with the islands from these vantage points seemingly inviting you to come and enjoy their beauty.

In Mt. Tapyas, you can see how close Coron Island is from Coron Town and how massive the island is. On the hill in Nacpan-Calitang you will notice the many islands of El Nido spread in the horizon. Blue hues dominate tyhe scene before sunset. Astonishing scene.

Nacpan-Calitang Twin Beach
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NACPAN Beach El Nido
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Mount Tapyas Coron Town
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Maquinit Hot Spring Coron
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Maquinit Hot Spring
THE VERDICT

Look at the Tour Packages offered in both El Nido and Coron and you can tell that destination in Coron and sorrounding area is more diverse. Me Calauit Safari adventure pa sila and not to mention Cullion Island too. I think Coron has it when it comes to more places to explore. On attractions near town, Coron had my heart because of Maquinit Hot Spring. Walang hot spring ang El Nido. haha


WHICH IS MORE EXPENSIVE?
Coron is a little cheaper than El Nido. Van transfer alone would cost 500-700 pesos in El Nido while it's only 150 pesos in Coron. I remember spending 16,000+ in El Nido for me and my wife while we only spent 12,000 pesos in Coron. All in! 

CORON ISLAND HOPPING Tour Rates
NORTHERN HOPE TOURS: El Nido Island Hopping Rates

SO, WHICH IS BETTER? EL NIDO OR CORON?

It depends on what you are looking for. They have so many similarities but they are also unique in many ways. I am personally 50/50 about it although El Nido still has my heart. I want to give Coron another close look though because it is less time consuming and at the same time, I felt that the weather didn't give Coron a fair trial because it was stormy during our visit there while it was all clear and sunny when we were in El Nido. I think that spills a lot of difference. El Nido is my first love and you know what they say, first love never dies but Coron is there ready to take that love away. Haha

IN SUMMARY

Above Water--El Nido is the winner with its Giant Cliff formations and beaches.
Underwater --Coron Island will give El Nido a run for the money with its coral formation and enchanting lakes.
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Again, why choose one if you can have both. I have explored both El Nido and Coron barely on the surface, I will definitely be back to explore more of these places. Isa lang masasabi ko, I am so glad I live in this country, yung kantang sabi ay "ang swerte kaya ng tsinelas mo, naka-apak ka sa paraiso", totoo!

Asked my companions too, my wife hearts El Nido more and our friend Rupert also said El Nido won his heart. We were unanimous on our choice ---EL NIDO!

PS: I know many have already wrote about the topic CORON vs El Nido and I noticed that just tonight. Glad I officially made my take on this public though, ah, the perk of having a personal website.

What about you? Coron or El Nido?
Feel free to share your thoughts

ALSO READ:

All my El Nido posts here: 
http://www.pusangkalye.net/search/label/El%20Nido
All my Coron posts here:
http://www.pusangkalye.net/search/label/Coron%20Palawan



OUR PERSONAL CONTACT IN CORON
who took us on a 2-day Island Hopping Tour
Red Red -- 0927.595.8446/ 0918.448.6645

OUR PERSONAL CONTACT IN EL NIDO
NORTHERN HOPE Island Hopping Rates
Ate Neriz: 0939 902 2216

_________________________

18 comments:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post! It is a great comparison of both wonderful getaways. Looking forward to visiting one or BOTH!

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  2. definetely EL NIDO! missed out on Taraw Cliff, the view is amazing. difficult to climb but worth it.

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  3. Waaahhh! Thanks for this Information Sir Anton. Would choose to Visit El Nido first on 2015.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey man, great post! Well written and very detailed. Thanks for the comparison! :)

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  5. Hi Anton. enjoyed reading your blog. planning a palawan trip right now and in a predicament as to whether coron or el nido it's gonna be. guess after reading your take, i'm still on the fence as both are beautiful - your pictures are postcard perfect:-) best regards, joey

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  6. Planning for Palawan trip. Thanks for the detailed info. and pix! :)

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  7. I've been to a lot of tours in Asia but there only one place I really wanted go again and again and that is Palawan. I enjoyed every second I was there. It's a perfect paradise and leisure to go through, recentless and relaxing adventure are the words I describe that location. Fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  8. thanks for the tip! it was very helpful. very well said!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for your very informative article.

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  10. Visiting Palawan in November. This is the most helpful blog post I've found in trying to make this decision! Thanks so much!!

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  11. Palawan is one the wonderful places that I had been through, this is a paradise where you can unwind, relax and feel the scent of the perfect nature. Aside from Coron, there are other places that has tremendous nature locations such as Puerto Prinsesa and El Nido Palawan.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you sa pag compare m atleast my idea kami, sa mga sinabi mo halatang el nido ka, , dahil cguro sa my night life yung el nido at yung coron wala, , Pero sa sinabi mo na mas ma corals yung coron at my mas marami ang isda kaysa el nido, doon ako sa coron ,,pero pupuntahan ko rin namn yung el nido,. Thank you!

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  13. I totally appreciate this post. A BIG THANK YOU SIR!!! so El Nido it is for me haahhahaa

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  14. Excellent report. Thank you for posting. I'm traveling next month to the PI and have been torn as to which beach holiday I should book.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Coron and El Nido has similarities but each has uniqueness and beauty

    I vote for El Nido hehehe...

    Maybe because I visited El Nido on the Month of November the sun is shinning while when I travel to coron it was rainy day (august) and so my mood connected to the weather that's why I felt so bored on our Ultimate island hopping

    And the Food for island Hopping is limited while food offer in el Nido is delicious and sumptuous.

    Tour Guide in El Nido are Superb, they know what to do, and you will feel their concerns about the guest safely, and I really love the guides and boatman turning into a master chef :)

    Tour Guide in Coron - seems like they are just doing their job as a tour guide, I don't feel any sincerity..

    ReplyDelete

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