The tiny island of Coron off the north end of Palawan might seem quite remote and hard to get to. However, for such a small and unassuming place, the sheer beauty that can be found here means many flock to its turquoise waters and powder white sand beaches for a slice of paradise! However, depending on where you find yourself in either The Philippines or indeed the world there is a range of options available to you for getting here, some more adventurous than others! Here’s our El Nido to Coron ferry guide so you can experience this paradise island too and the Coron to El Nido ferry for the return trip.
■ Looking to get there quickly:
Jump on the fast ferry
■ Looking to get there cheaply:
Have a chilled day on the slow boat.
■ Don’t fancy a boat trip:
Then why not book flights instead!
■ Want to make it an experience?
Take the Combination Tour
■ Feeling fancy?
Why not hire a private boat instead
Why You Should Head to Coron!?
Firstly, why even head over to this tiny island that seems a little out of the way to get to? You might be wondering how to get from El Nido to Coron and whether the long ferry ride is worthwhile? There’s also no need to compare Coron vs El Nido either when it is so easy to take the boat from El Nido to Coron and experience both. Don’t choose between Coron or El Nido, go and see them both!
Well, really what the question should be is why should you NOT come here. If you look the word “Paradise” up in the dictionary it should just say “Coron” next to it!! From the stunning white-sand beaches lined with palm trees and little wooden shacks to the traditional little boats bobbing up and down on the most stunning turquoise water, you’ve ever seen.
There are hundreds of reasons to hop on that Coron to El Nido ferry and one of them is to do the incredible Combination Tour where you can see all the highlights including Kayangan Lake. It is also easy to then pop back from Coron to El Nido or move onwards to other areas of the country too. If you’re wondering how to get to Coron from El Nido too then this article will cover all options.
Head over to the beautiful Kayangan Lake, owned by the indigenous people of this island and who still live here, and take in one of the most jaw-dropping places in the world. Add to this the world-class wreck diving and a rainbow of corals and marine life just a few ft below the surface of the warm crystal clear water and you know you have to make the effort to take the Coron to El Nido boat or even fly direct from the mainland.
Read on for information on how to get to Coron.
BTW, if you’re wondering, how far is El Nido to Coron? The Coron to El Nido distance is only around 127 km!
■ READ MORE: See Our Guide To Coron Island Here
How To Get To From El Nido to Coron: Taking The El Nido to Coron Ferry
So, here we are!! There are a few options to consider when you’re planning this trip and it all depends on your time, budget, sea legs and propensity for propeller planes too!! Not gonna lie, I’ll happily spend 8 hrs on a rickety old boat than one of those planes. Dumb maybe but that’s just me!!
How to get from El Nido to Coron? Let’s gooooooo!
El Nido to Coron Ferry/ Coron to El Nido Ferry:
The best way in our opinion is to take the El Nido to Coron ferry, this means you can lay back and relax and enjoy the stunning scenery on the way to Coron. From El Nido, this is easy to organise the trip and relatively cheap too.
There are also many options in the opposite direction so getting from El Nido to Coron is really easy!
There are three options for the ferry from El Nido to Coron, the fast, the slow boat and the cargo ferry and each has a different price and timetable.
You also will have to pay 20 PHP (each) harbour tax when you leave from El Nido to Coron or Coron to El Nido.
How far is Coron to El Nido?
It’s 127 km meaning the El Nido ferry/ Coron ferry can take between 4-8 hrs depending on which method you take.
Buying a ferry ticket in El Nido or Coron is easy as many of the tour operators can book you there. Be sure to ask for a discount if you book at the same time as an island-hopping trip.
You can book online beforehand using 12Go which takes the hassle out of the process and means you can book well in advance before you even arrive! Travelling in the Philippines does sometimes require a little bit more pre-planning due to its island nature so the ability to book online really helps with that.
If you’re wondering how to travel from El Nido to Coron with the least amount of stress, then booking in advance online is the ideal way.
How to go to Coron from El Nido and Vice Versa:
Regular Option: The Slow Ride For the Coron to El Nido Ferry:
1400 PHP (£20.40 / $26.30)
Two boat companies: ‘Bunso’ and ‘MBCA Jessabel 2’ run the ferry from El Nido to Coron.
El Nido to Coron boat:
Bunso leaves at 8:30 am every day of the week, Jessabel leaves at 7:30 am on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Getting From Coron to El Nido:
Bunso leaves at 8:30 am every day of the week, Jessabel leaves at 7:30 am on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
This takes around 8 hours (They will tell you 5!)
If you are on a super tight budget and don’t mind the 8 hours then this is a great option when considering how to go from Coron to El Nido
TOP PICK: Fast Ferry: Quick Option for the El Nido to Coron Ferry:
1760 PHP (£25.60 / $33.00)
Ran by ‘Montenegro Lines’.
The ferry leaves at 6:30 am every day from El Nido to Coron and 12 noon from Coron to El Nido
The El Nido to Coron fast ferry takes around 3.5 – 4 hours.
For us, the Coron to El Nido fast ferry is the best choice all around for time, money and views!
Coron to El Nido Ferry: The Passenger Cargo Ship Options:
1150 PHP for air-conditioned seats / 1000 PHP for non air-conditioned
Run by MV May Lillies (Atienza Shipping).
This only leaves on Wednesdays at 7:30 am to Coron from El Nido and 7:00 am on Monday from Coron to El Nido.
This takes around 8 hours for the boat from Coron to El Nido and vice versa.
Booking this option is a little harder and must be done locally.
Alternative Options: Private boat option and tours for the El Nido to Coron Ferry:
Another option to consider is taking a private boat between El Nido and Coron.
You can take many different private boats and tours from El Nido to Coron or Coron to El Nido, some of these are simply a more convenient, private and quicker transfer meaning you can set off when it suits you and arrive at a better time.
Other options include single and multi-day options where you can stop off at some of the more isolated islands and beaches along the way and break the journey up. If you are wondering how to travel from Coron to El Nido in a more comfortable fashion then this is it.
You can also take tours back from Coron island to El Nido to add more to your experience if you are retracing your steps.
The Reality of Taking the 8 Hour El Nido to Coron Ferry!
Now here comes the truth about how to get to El Nido from Coron or vice versa! It’s a long journey to be on one of those little wooden traditional boats, they’re not the most reliable (we broke down on the way back from Coron to El Nido!) and they do move around a bit in bad weather!
The seating arrangement isn’t the best either. There are large plastic chairs in the middle and wooden benches at the sides. Usually, it is quiet enough to spread out and use the life jackets as a pillow/ rest despite the signs telling you not to!
It can be quite a draining journey in all honesty and doing it there and back is at least 16 hrs spent on this rickety boat alongside some pretty pissed off cockerels and fed up kids!
If your budget allows then the fast boat might be more suited to you and would probably be our number 1 recommendation to anyone who asks how to get from Coron to El Nido!
The journey on the El Nido to Coron ferry wasn’t too bad all things considered. The landscape we passed through was continually stunning and we were always in sight of land which both made for amazing views and also a sense of additional safety on this rickety craft!
We did actually manage to get some decent sleep too and the benches on the sides are actually more comfortable than they look. In terms of how to go to El Nido from Coron, it’s certainly peaceful and picturesque but it can drag.
A simple lunch was provided along with some fruit and water, though the vegetarian option was just plain rice! We did however stock up on snacks so we were prepared for the long haul! There is nothing for sale on the boat so bring supplies for your Coron to El Nido trip!
Overall it was an interesting journey. The boat was occupied by either fellow frugal backpackers or locals who couldn’t afford the more expensive and faster Coron to El Nido option. It meant a real look into the local’s lives, for better or for worse… there was a live cockerel in a bag on the return journey!!
But it was an experience and quite an adventure, so this would be a great option for those wondering how to get to Coron and the best option for El Nido to Coron transport for the experience, view and cost but not maybe for comfort.
The Coron to El Nido travel time on the slow boat is AT LEAST 8 hours with many taking longer as we did on the return trip as we broke down!
For those asking how to get to El Nido from Coron in the best way, that might be the fast boat!
Information for When You Arrive: Where to Stay On Coron:
Coron can be relatively expensive compared to The Philippines as a whole given how small it is. There is still a lot of different options available for different budgets but do be aware that it will be more expensive than El Nido and a lot more expensive than places like Puerto Princesa. Here’s a little guide to where to stay in Coron so you can book before you arrive as they usually sell out fast.
The Best Backpacker Option: Hop Hostel
For backpackers willing to pay a little more for a hostel the best on the island has to be Hop Hostel. With great facilities, a clean and modern design with curtains on each bunk it’s the perfect place to base yourself. It even had private rooms and a rooftop bar and for us one of the most important things: good lockers and a kitchen!
Best Budget Hotel: Ricardo Valley Inn
If you don’t fancy a hostel then the Ricardo Valley Inn on the slopes of Mt. Tapyas is a great budget option with double, twin rooms and family rooms available in a nice quiet area of the island.
Fancy a Treat Whilst Staying on Coron: Bacau Bay Resort Coron
We all want some comfort and luxury every now and then and Coron is an ideal place to do that our recommendation would be Bacau Bay Resort. With a pool, gym, spa, wellness centre, restaurant and incredibly laid out and comfortable rooms it’s probably the best place to stay on the entire island if your budget allows!
Book Your Accommodation For Coron Here:
Information for When You Arrive: Where to Stay In El Nido:
The Best Backpacker Option: Spin Designer Hostel
For backpackers visiting El Nido, there are a lot of hostels to stay in and one of the best in the town is the Spin Designer Hostel. It is one of those fantastic hostels that are just so well designed and arranged with an amazing vibe. The hostel has BBQ nights, pub crawls, movie nights and most importantly comfortable beds and clean bathrooms! It’s also close to the beach and has private rooms too.
Mega Cheap Hostel: Big Mike Hostel
For those on a proper backpacker budget, the basic Big Mike Hostel is the best offering for the low end of the market in El Nido. Don’t expect anything fancy but it does offer breakfast, clean rooms and friendly staff at rock bottom prices. It is also ideally located and one of the best-rated hostels in El Nido.
Best Budget Hotel: Neela Tourist Lodge
If you’re still on a budget but want a nice hotel for the price then the Neela Tourist Lodge offers a tidy, well kept and comfortable place right near the beach and close enough to town too. Many of the rooms also either have terraces or balconies which makes it a lovely place for couples.
Fancy a Treat Whilst Staying in El Nido: Playa Encantada Beach Resort
For those on a holiday or backpackers looking to splash out a little and treat themselves to a couple of nights somewhere incredible then the Playa Encantada Beach Resort offers luxury for a comparatively affordable price. The tranquil and serene setting is right on the beach and offers private traditional style bamboo cottages and bungalows.
Book Your Accommodation For El Nido Here:
Other Alternative Routes & Methods of Transport: From Puerto Princesa, Manila and Flying Options:
Our suggested route would be to fly into Puerto Princesa and take a bus over to El Nido or via Port Barton to El Nido. You can spend a few days in each place before heading over to Coron on the ferry. You can either fly onwards from Coron to Manila or Cebu or retrace your steps back to Puerto Princesa.
Note that there is no Manila to El Nido ferry/ El Nido to Manila ferry, you can also fly direct from Manila to El Nido but the flights are much more expensive and less frequent as the airport is privately owned and quite small. It means getting to El Nido from Manila can be a little convoluted but it’s worth it!
It also goes without saying that you can’t take an El Nido to Coron flight as they are just too close together and if you are already in one of the towns the ferry from Coron to El Nido is of course the best option. Though I’m sure if you are a millionaire then you could probably charter flights from El Nido to Coron on a helicopter!
Taking the Bus or Ferry From Puerto Princesa to El Nido:
It is also possible to get the ferry from down in the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa. This is a long ferry taking around 15 hours as it has to essentially sail the whole length of Palawan. There are ferries on Saturday and Wednesday that run Puerto Princesa to Coron that leave at 11:59 pm and arrive at 3:00 pm the day after. Then on the way back, ferries leave on Saturday and Wednesday at 6:00 am arriving at 9:00 pm the same day.
There is no direct Puerto Princesa to Coron transport, you must go through El Nido first. The Puerto Princesa to El Nido transportation option is a bus or ferry.
Instead, we recommend taking a bus/ minivan to El Nido first which takes around 5 hours and spending some time there first before taking the El Nido to Coron ferry. You can then fly to the mainland from Coron or take the Coron to El Nido ferry back and the bus back down to Puerto Princesa.
Taking the Bus From Puerto Princesa to Port Barton before continuing on to El Nido:
Another alternative way to get down to El Nido from Puerto Princesa is to call in for a few days at the sleepy backpacker town of Port Barton. The Bus from Puerto Princesa to El Nido isn’t too bad as it’s only 5 hours but it’s always nice to be able to break journeys up and Port Barton is well worth a stopover for at least a day or two.
Getting to Coron From Manila:
Taking a Ferry:
It is possible to take the boat over from Manila to Coron, however, this is a long and tiring journey as it takes around 15 hours!
2Go operate this service on a much larger ferry rather than one of the smaller boats at least. The Coron to Manila ferry is a long one but it does cut out a lot of travel for those wanting to brave it! If you are going to do a Manila to Palawan ferry then this does cut out some messing about as well as avoiding flying!
It goes every Tuesday and Friday from Manila to Coron at 1:30 pm arriving at 4:30 am.
From Coron to Manila it leaves every Sunday and Thursday at 4:30 pm arriving at 7:30 am.
This is probably the bottom of our favourite ways to get to Coron as you can fly over in less than an hour for a similar price and it’s much less scenic than the El Nido to Coron ferry!
Flying from Manila to Coron/ Coron to Manila:
You can fly with a couple of airlines from Manila to Coron, the one we recommend is Cebu Pacific. The flight takes about 1 hour and you will be on a propeller plane!! Then, how to get from Coron to El Nido? Take either the express or local ferry.
How to get to Coron: Flying in from Manila to Coron/ Cebu to Coron
Yes, it is possible to fly into this tiny island. However, if you are not a keen flyer you will want to be aware that the flights over here are small propeller planes! Cebu Pacific are the only decent operator that flies here and you can fly from Manila to Coron and Cebu to Coron easily and cheaply, however, be sure to book in advance. If you are in any other areas of The Philippines than Palawan itself then it makes the most sense to fly over to Coron, even if you have to connect. You are sure to get great views either way!
Tips and Info For the El Nido to Coron Ferry
- The El Nido to Coron travel time on the slow boat is at least 8 hours and is 4 hours on the fast boat.
- Book the ferry as early as you can as they sell out!
- How far is Coron from El Nido? The distance from El Nido to Coron island is around 127 km.
- Book your accommodation in Coron as soon as you can too as it is much more limited and expensive than El Nido.
- Get to the port early. Even if you have a ticket there will be a lot of people queuing and it takes a while as bags are often searched by sniffer dogs and port fees need to be paid. You also want to get a good seat on the sides of the boar rather than in the middle.
- Take food and drink. There is lunch provided on board but if you are veggies like us then it ends up just being plain rice, a banana and some water. For the 8 hours on the Coron to El Nido ferry, you’ll probably want something more! There is also nothing for sale on the boat either if you run out!
- Bring along a book or a movie or your kindle as the journey is long!
- Bring a travel pillow so you can get comfy and get some rest
- Bring a power pack for your phone as there are no powerpoints on board.
- Wear sun cream! You can sit out of the sides or on top of the boat but be sure to wear sun cream, often when the wind is in your hair you don’t feel yourself burning on the spectacular journey from Coron to El Nido.
- You will likely be ok but it’s best to bring along a dry bag for your valuables in case it gets a bit choppy as the waves do sometimes come over the side!
Our Recommended Route: Travelling to and From Coron and El Nido:
So, which way is best to travel between Coron and El Nido? Do you take a ferry, fly or take a long tour stopping off along the way?
Well it all depends on how much time and resources you have but this is our recommended plan:
Take a bus from Puerto Princesa to Port Barton > Hang out in this backpacker paradise for a few days, stay in a shack and live on the beach!
Take another bus from Port Barton to El Nido > Take the short trip over to El Nido. You will need a few days here to take all the amazing boat trips over to places like the Big Lagoon and CYC beach!
If you want to know how to get to El Nido then you should first make your way from Puerto Princesa.
Take the ferry over to Coron > Spend a few hours watching the world go by on the beautiful ferry trip as you travel from El Nido to Coron.
Then take a good few days to explore all Coron has to offer including SCUBA diving and the many boat tours available. The El Nido, Palawan to Coron ferry is a beautiful journey in itself.
Fly from Coron to Manila or Cebu > Carry on your adventure by heading over to Cebu or head somewhere else from the capital of Manila. You can also travel from Coron to El Nido and then retrace your steps back to Manila.
Of course, if you’re coming in the opposite direction then you can do the same but in reverse!
Coron to El Nido Ferry: Related Content
READ MORE: See Our Guide To Island Hopping in Stunning El Nido Here
READ MORE: See Our Guide To Coron Island Here
The journey between El Nido and Coron is a stunning and beautiful one but it can also be painfully slow and uncomfortable. For us, the best way to do the trip is on the fast ferry, this way you’ll be sipping coconuts in no time and you’ll still get to take in those views!
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