This is my first post here. It seems this site may be more geared to mainland SE Asia, but I will give this a shot. I will post much more in the future, as I'm planning a longer backpacking trip in SE Asia for next year. My girlfriend and I are English teachers in Seoul and get one week for vacation From December 24th-January 1 (I realize this is peak season, but we have no say in the matter). We were originally planning on going to Bohol, as some of our coworkers had been last year and recommended it. That was until we stumbled across pictures of El Nido and Coron. I am wondering which one would be a better option for us.
We are considering getting SCUBA certified (we would both be beginners, but I am a former competitive swimmer so I imagine I will take to it naturally). Would beginners be able to visit some of the excellent wrecks in the area? I realize the difficulty of these dives varies, but I would hate to go there and not do one or two wrecks. I think we would try to take the first portion of the certification online, as we only have one week. Does anyone have experience doing this?
If we go to El Nido I don't think we would scuba dive, as the snorkeling is great and island hopping seems to be the thing to do. The one thing that concerns me is that we read online that visibility in El Nido is at its lowest in December (3-10 meters). Given that snorkeling and clear blue waters were the major draw, that is a bit concerning. Is the visibility really at its worst this time of year? Getting there is a little bit of a hassle. I sent out an email to a private charter plane company that flies from Manila to El Nido and am waiting to hear back from them. Flights to Manila from Seoul are quite reasonable though.
Finally, does anyone have any recommendations for accommodation in either place? We aren't lavish travelers, but would like to stay at a reasonably nice budget place and are willing to pay a little bit more for beach access (I realize there isn't much of this in Coron).
So what are your thoughts? What would be the major benefits and drawbacks to each place? Thanks so much.
#1 ekumbier has been a member since 17/7/2011. Posts: 7
We were at both places commencing Janruary 15th 2009 and we loved them both.
We flew to Buswanga Coron and then did a longish 6-8 hour boat ride to El Eido
I'm not a diver,however, nothing has compared to the snorkeling that I've seen in that part of the Philipinnes. It was fantastic!!!!!!!
I snorkeled back and forth above a (shallow) sunken Japanese warship outside of Coron in utter amazement.
The ship was completley coral caked with several different bright colors and a mulitude of fish everywhere.
El Nido is simply a fantastic place to visit. We stayed outside of town at a place called "Ocean Front" in a bamboo cottage, as everything in town was pretty much fully booked.
For $60 a day we had our accomodation, free breakfast, a private (6 hour)boat tour for island hops and a barbqued meal each day on a white sand, gorgeous tropical island.
Fresh fish, rice veggies and a fresh fruit platter with mangoes, papaya, pinapple etc....simply outstanding all for $60 a day....unbelievable!
We were taken to some lagoons where the coral was simply fantastic!!!! El Nido and the surrounding islands are amazing and the water in mid Janruary was crystal clear.
For four days straight we went out on a private tour everyday.
Future snorkeling expeditions in Thailand,Mexico and Malaysia were a major dissapointment, to what we experienced in El Nido.
You cant go wrong going to El Nido and Coron is a major first class diving destination.
It's a tough choice, however, I would pick el Nido.
#2 KevandJho has been a member since 15/9/2011. Posts: 65
Google Marina Garden Beach Resort at El Nido and see what you think. It's my no.1 at the moment for when I get to Palawan. KevandJho's experience sounded excellent for $60 in 2009 but what price now. Still, your living in paradise.
Check tripadvisor.com for accom. reviews. I am not a diver so Coron holds no interest. My research has focused on El Nido (see Art Cafe for tours info). I just pray I can get there one day.
I've dived both areas although it was in Feb and about 10 years ago. If you are wanting to get PADI certified, its as well to remember that whilst you will be able to dive around some of the shallow wrecks alot of the deeper wrecks and any penetration diving will be beyond your certification level. If I remember right there were snorkelers on the dive trip although to appreciate them you really need to dive. Given the short visit (PADI Open Water is 5 days alone) I'd head for El Nido and enjoy some amazing snorkelling and island visits. I'm very jealous.
#5 garynield has been a member since 3/11/2009. Posts: 1