If anyone tells you that island hopping in Coron and El Nido are the same, they clearly didn’t get Banul Beach all to themselves.
This stunning stretch of sand is the epitome of paradise: dazzlingly white, powder like sand, incredibly clear water that is bright blue and a wild landscape that makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from civilisation.
Sounds like your dream destination? It did for us too. However, you’re not the only one who wants to visit this stunning place. It is hugely popular and so small that it becomes crowded very quickly. Here’s how to get this little piece of paradise all to yourself.
Best time to visit Banul Beach & avoid the crowds
The majority of tours use Banul Beach as a lunchtime stop, dropping off their groups for an hour and then leaving. The key is to avoid visiting Banul Beach after 11.00am as this is when it starts to get busy.
The only way you can do this is to hire your own private boat (which is cheaper than you might think, especially if you have two or more people onboard). Then you can tell the captain to aim for 10am (or earlier depending on your chosen route for the day) when no one will be there.
That’s right, we had this stunning beach (definitely one of the best places to visit in Coron) with no one else there for nearly two hours as we arrived before 10am.
Why we love Banul Beach Coron
Banul Beach is tiny , but has everything you could want. The water is still, warm and crystal clear, making it the perfect swimming spot. You can sunbathe on the incredibly fine sand or just enjoy the limestone karst views in all directions and watch the bangkas shuttling tour groups onto the next stop in the distance.
There are also a couple of derelict buildings to explore (one of them makes a great photo spot) round the corner from the main beach. Be careful as it is pretty precarious nowadays, but we enjoyed having a look around.
The little lunch huts also offer great shade if you want a break from the intense sun. You can buy cold drinks here but no other food apart from maybe a packet of crisps.
If you want to eat something more substantial, then you must bring the food with you (your boat crew are happy to cook for you at no extra cost if you being the ingredients).
Banul Beach is one of the most stunning beaches we’ve been to and being able to get it to oursevles was magical. We’d go so far as to say it was the highlight of our island hopping trip in Coron and even one of our favourite places in the Philippines.
Getting to Banul Beach Coron
The only way to get to Banul Beach is by boat, but it is really close to Coron Town (about 15 - 20 minutes by boat) and 5-10 minutes from the lakes and Twin Lagoon.
As the boat operators charge a minumum fee of 2,700 pesos (pre haggling) per journey (no matter how long, far or where you go) it makes sense to add in other stops like the Twin Lagoon, Skeleton Wreck, Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake which are close by and won’t cost any more.
Banul Beach has an entry fee of 150 peso per person (just under US $3). Your boat crew will collect the fee and pass it on when you arrive.
Packing Guide for Banul Beach
Reef safe sunscreen
Reef safe sunscreen will ensure you’re protected from the sun without harming the environment.
The best way to stop your valuable getting soaking wet when island hopping in Coron.
Where to stay in Coron
Coron town is a place surrounded by beauty but is not a beauty in itself. In fact the town is pretty ugly, dusty, busy and noisy. Unfortunately this is where the majority of low cost accommodation is available. If you have the budget we’d highly recommend hot footing it out the town to one of the spectacular islands instead.
If like us you are trying to save some pesos then sadly you will have to opt for town.
Budget - Charms Hotel, Coron Town
This is where we stayed and it was a decent choice. We thought it very overpriced but then that is Palawan for you. The rooms were clean, had air con and a decent shower with hot water. It’s a little out of town which meant it was very quiet apart from the loud crowing roosters, which seemed to follow us around the Philippines! You can walk to town in around 15 minutes or take a tricycle, the standard fare is 15 peso per person (approx US $0.30) and they refreshingly never request a peso more.
The breakfast here is awful though so after one visit we chose to eat in town instead!
Midrange - The Funny Lion, Coron Town
Almost everyone we met seemed to be staying here and judging by the reviews it looked like they were on to something! We also noticed they were building one in El Nido too so it should be a good choice.
The rooms look good and the views look exceptional. When we tried to check it out it was fully booked so it is one to book early.
Luxury - Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa, Bulalacao
This is the place that everyone was talking about in the luxury bracket. The rooms are individual bungalows which look fabulous and the beach and resort views look amazing. This is likely what you’ve been dreaming of when you’ve been thinking about visiting Palawan not the dusty town.
However, one thing to consider is that you are a boat ride and then drive away from the town, this means you will likely be taking all of your boat tours directly from the hotel itself which probably means they will be a lot more expensive than in town. It might be best to check in advance to make sure it doesn’t turn into a very expensive surprise.
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Are you planning a trip to Coron? What’s your favourite beach in the Philippines? Let us know in the comments below!