Palawan, Coron and El Nido: 7 and 10 Day Itinerary Suggestions
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2022
Okay so to be honest, a week in Palawan is pushing it to maximise your trip. 10 days would be more ideal, 2 weeks perfect. But, let’s go with 7 days. Due to the time limit, we will only focus here on Coron and El Nido.
TYPE OF TRAVELLER
This article assumes you want to maximize your time in Palawan, have a medium budget, value special experiences above purely cheapest options, and that you're looking to experience the authentic beauty Palawan has on offer.
ABOUT THE WRITER
This article is written by a 31 year-old British traveller, who spends most of his time in Palawan and has seen and experienced everything.
Disclaimer, I am one of the founders of Big Dream Boatman which is mentioned as an example from days 4-7. We are in Lonely Planet, and the top rated expedition in Palawan... but if you don’t like the sound of my suggestion I have included alternatives at the end of the article.
7 DAY CORON, EL NIDO, PALAWAN ITINERARY
Fly to El Nido from Manila booking either through Airswift directly or through Skyscanner, check in to your hotel, best option to look on booking.com and filter for your budgets, though on a super premium budget I would recommend El Nido resorts.
Once you’ve checked in to the hotel either rent a bike through your hotel or flag a trike and head to Napcan beach for the afternoon, head back to your hotel, change up and head out into the town for a local dinner and drinks, make sure you book the tour for day 2 through your hotel.
Go on an island tour in El Nido, either private or group, this can be booked through your hotel and I won’t assume your tour preference, it’s personal choice, there are about 6 to choose from. Whatever you choose expect to be among the heaps of crowds even if you go private there is little avoiding this (although wait till day 4 of the itinerary and this will change).
When you come back head to Las Cabanas beach and watch the sunset and zip wire over the ocean, maybe have a few drinks down at the two bars they have there. Spend the evening eating a nice dinner in town and prepare for the early ferry to Coron tomorrow, it leaves at 6am.
Get an early fast ferry to Coron, we have the full info and schedules on this in another blog post.
Head to your accommodation in Coron, this again is budget dependent so just choose somewhere from booking.com. Spend the afternoon walking around Coron town, walk up Mt Tapyas, (ideally for sunset around 5.30pm) and then in the evening visit the Maquinit Hot Springs.
Grab dinner and drinks in town and a good nights rest for the early start tomorrow.
ALTERNATIVE OPTION: Take the famous 3 night Expedition from Coron to El Nido or vice Versa.
Join an Expedition. Big Dream Boatman's Coron Island Life Expedition
Set off from Coron town and head to snorkel some of Coron's top sights, Kayangan Lake, Seite Pecados and Twin Lagoons, WW2 Shipwrecks, the early start means you are there before all of the other boats and can enjoy the sights in relative peace and quiet, if you have done the island tour in El Nido you will appreciate the difference.
Then there is lunch on the beach before heading to your own Island for overnight stay in authentic beach hut accommodation on the sea front, there is only accommodation for about 15 people so it’s like you have the island to yourself. All your meals and drink are provided so unwind with sum rum and cokes and star gazing in the evening.
Second day of expedition you rise with the sun and out of your beach cottage/camping and have breakfast made by the crew. Then head out to new sights. The plan can always change and can include town tours or more water based activities, or even a beach clean up. Then at sunset again arrive on a new island for the night. Star gaze, volleyball, drinks and dinner, and usually some singing entertainment from the local guides.
More sight seeing and island stops during the day, enjoying time with guests and crew and, again, unlikely to be many if anyone else there. This is a real remote island experience. Last night usually a bonfire, sharing stories, native boodle fight and party.
Sail back to Coron town stopping off a final stop such as Coral garden, lusong gun boat and then head back to Busuanga Airport to fly back to Manila.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS/ TIPS/ 10 DAY ITINERARY
1. PUERTO PRINCESSA
I would generally advise to skip Puerto unless your flight goes there. Firstly, the underground river is really the only thing to do there, that’s it. Secondly, it is SO busy, it’s crazy.
One other thing to note, when you speak to people about Palawan they will have almost all been to PP, this is not why you think it is. It used to be that PP was the ONLY airport you could fly in to, then you had to make your way to El Nido or Coron by van/boat and it took forever too. This is no longer the case, it’s now easy to fly in to El Nido or Coron from Manilla or Cebu.
2. Island Tours in Coron not with BDBM
Although we are the top expedition operator in Coron you can do island tours, day trips, similarly to the one in El Nido and these are cheaper and can be arranged through your hotel, I have written an article on why I advise against this, it’s also the reason we set up BDBM, it’s one of our most valued blog post too so do check it out, it will help your trip regardless of whether you travel with us or not.
3.Explore the Up and Coming parts of Palawan
Balabac and Port Barton are the two main upcoming areas of Palawan that people are interested in. We have some Port Barton content in our other blog posts and will be writing more on Balabac soon!
If you think I’ve left anything out please do contact us.
WHAT TO READ NEXT?
1. Our Coron to El Nido Expedition (and vice versa)
3. Getting from Coron to El Nido by Flight, Ferry and Expedition for different budgets and traveller types
About the Author:
Big Dream Boatman is the number one rated expedition in Palawan specialising in multi-day trips around Coron and El Nido. We have been featured in Lonely Planet as well as chosen by the most famous names in travel. Our main goal is to make people who come to Palawan happy, in any way we can, so even if you read our blogs and never join our expeditions, it's ok with us 😁.