Ultimate Guide To Black Island: The Breathtaking Destination In Coron, Palawan You Can't Miss!
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Are you heading for Coron, Palawan and looking for Instagram-worthy beaches that this island has to offer? Look no further than Black Island, a breathtaking gem in the Philippines that will give you an unforgettable experience from its crystal clear waters to its magnificent limestone karsts. The first thing you'll notice about this island is its unspoiled beauty. Not a lot of tourists in Coron go here since it's more difficult to get to and a bit farther away from Coron Town so it's easy to feel like you're on your own private paradise. Whether you want to relax by the beach or go snorkeling or swimming, there's something here for everyone! In this blog, we'll provide you with guides and tips on how to make the most out of your trip including how to get there, how much the trip will cost and what kind of activities are available.
When I first heard of the island, I thought we were expecting black sand beach, more like the beaches in Bataan. But it actually got its name because of the dark, towering limestone cliffs that dominate its landscape. These cliffs appear black from a distance, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the island's white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. The stark contrast between the dark cliffs and the surrounding natural beauty gives the island its unique and striking appearance, making it an unforgettable sight for visitors.
Black Island, which is also called Malajon Island mostly by the locals, is located in the province of Palawan. Situated within the Calamian Archipelago, it is part of the larger municipality of Busuanga. To find Black Island, you must head to the northern part of Coron Island, which serves as a popular base for visitors exploring the surrounding natural wonders. The island's pristine white beaches, lush greenery, and fascinating caves make it a true hidden gem in the heart of the Philippines. The remote location of Black Island adds to its allure, offering a serene escape from the bustling tourist hubs of the country.
And how do I exactly go to Black Island?
Getting to Black Island from Coron isn't difficult but since it is located at the northern tip of Busuanga Island, it will take between 1 to 1.5 hours from Coron Town to the nearest port. So first, you'll need to reach Coron Town. Most visitors fly into Francisco B. Reyes Airport (formerly Busuanga Airport) from Manila or other major cities in the Philippines. Once in Coron Town, you have several options to get to Black Island:
The easiest way to get there is by booking the Calauit Safari Park Tour with Black Island. This will cost about P2,300 to P3,500 per head. This tour is a combination of visiting Calauit Island Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see exotic animals such as giraffes and zebras. You can read about Calauit Island Wildlife Sanctuary here: Get Up Close with Giraffes and Zebras at Calauit Wildlife Sanctuary
Another easy way to reach the island is by booking a private boat tour, which typically includes the boat transportation, a guide, and lunch. You can book this via your hotel, resort or via a travel agency. This will be more expensive this is chartered and private for your group but can be reasonable depending on the number of people in your group. A private boat usually costs P7,500 for 1-4 people or P9,000 for 5-8 people.
If you prefer a more DIY approach, that's also possible. Start your trip as early as you can to make the most of your time on the island. The first bus leaves around 8 am from Coron town to Salvacion (check this with your hotel/resort as the time may have changed), and make sure to be there 15-20 minutes early to buy your ticket and get a good seat. The journey takes about an hour or so. Once you get to Salvacion, take a tricycle straight to the port then check with boatmen in the area where you should be able to arrange a boat to Black Island. Expect the boat ride to last around 30-45 minutes before you reach Black Island.
The island offers a variety of breathtaking sights from white beaches and limestone cliffs, it's definitely a nature lover's paradise. As you step onto the island's powdery white sand beaches, you'll be greeted by crystal-clear turquoise waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Divers will be able to experience some of the best marine life in all of Palawan. The clear waters are teeming with fish and corals that will take your breath away. The island's dramatic limestone cliffs and lush trees provide a picturesque backdrop for exploration and photography. Venture into the island's mysterious caves, where stunning rock formations and natural pools await. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the nearby shipwrecks, which offer a thrilling diving experience for history buffs and underwater adventurers.
The best times of year to visit this breathtaking destination are:
March through May: This is the best time to travel given that it's dry season which is generally sunny and warm with very rare showers but beaches can be very crowded during these months since this is the summer season.
September through February: This season brings cooler temperatures but still less rain than other months outside of summer. The air is crisp and clear, making it perfect for sightseeing. Personally, I would prefer these months because there are fewer crowds and lower prices since tourism slows down, with the exception of the Christmas holiday of course. It also means more opportunities to explore local attractions without the busy crowd.
I wouldn't recommend visiting from June to August since these months bring more rain which may affect travel plans.
What are the activities I can do on the island?
Black Island offers a variety of activities to suit every traveler's interests. Some of the top activities include:
Swimming and snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters
Exploring the island's mysterious caves with natural pools
Diving or snorkeling around the nearby shipwrecks
Relaxing on the pristine white sand beaches
Hiking and taking in the breathtaking views from the island's cliffs
Cliff jumping in limestone rocks near the back
Relaxing and eating in a beach hut
No matter what activity you choose while visiting Black Island, it’s guaranteed to provide both adventure and relaxation - something that every traveler desires from their vacation! These activities are, by the way, free, except if you want to go scuba diving in the nearby shipwrecks.
Having explored the top activities on Black Island, let's take a look at the estimated costs of a day trip. Of course, prices may vary depending on how many people are in your group and or on the type of tour and inclusions.
A day tour can range from PHP 2,300 to PHP 3,500 per person depending on the travel agency and this would include other destinations nearby. Private boat rentals typically cost more but offer greater flexibility and a personalized experience. Keep in mind that additional expenses, such as entrance fees, snorkeling gear rental, and gratuities for guides, may apply.
If you are doing DIY, a private boat from Salvacion would cost P3,000 to P4,000. Bus rides to and from Coron and Salvacion cost about P150 to P200 per way. You also have to pay an environmental fee of P150 to P200 pesos per head.
On average, a full-day trip including transportation and entrance fees should not exceed 5,000 PHP per person. This price is subject to change according to peak season rates so do double check before booking your tours. It would be wise to add an extra cushion of funds as well as ample time for any unforeseen circumstances that might arise during your journey.
Is it true that there's a shipwreck near Black Island?
Yes, this shipwreck near Black Island is known as the Nanshin Maru Shipwreck, a World War II-era Japanese tanker. This shipwreck has become a popular diving and snorkeling site for visitors to the area. The Nanshin Maru lies in relatively shallow waters, making it accessible even for inexperienced divers and snorkelers. The wreck has become an artificial reef, attracting a variety of marine life, including colorful corals, schools of fish, and other underwater creatures.
The shipwreck's close proximity to Black Island makes it an ideal spot to combine with a visit to the island itself. Exploring the Nanshin Maru Shipwreck adds a touch of history and adventure to your Black Island experience. Divers and snorkelers can witness firsthand how nature has reclaimed this piece of history, turning it into a thriving underwater ecosystem.
What should I bring during the island hopping?
When embarking on an island-hopping adventure in Coron, don't forget to pack the following essentials:
Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat/cap to protect from the sun
Swimsuit, quick-dry towel and a cover-up
Waterproof bag for personal belongings
Snorkeling gear (if not provided by the tour)
Drinking water and snacks
Camera, GoPro or smartphone for capturing memories
Cash for entrance fees and other expenses
Are there accommodations nearby?
While there are no accommodations directly on Black Island, you'll find a variety of lodging options in Coron Town and Busuanga Island that cater to different budgets and preferences. Here are some recommended accommodations to consider during your stay:
Budget-friendly options: For budget-conscious travelers, guesthouses and hostels in Coron Town offer affordable rooms and dormitories. Some popular choices include Hop Hostel, Coron Backpacker Guesthouse, and Sea Horse Guest House.
Mid-range hotels: If you're looking for a comfortable stay without breaking the bank, consider mid-range hotels such as Coron Soleil Express Hotel, Asia Grand View Hotel, and Sunlight Guest Hotel Coron.
Luxury resorts: For a more upscale experience, check out luxury resorts on Busuanga Island like Huma Island Resort & Spa, Club Paradise Palawan, and Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa. These resorts offer world-class amenities, stunning views, and excellent services.
Eco-lodges and boutique resorts: If you prefer a more intimate and eco-friendly accommodation, consider stays like Paolyn Houseboats, Sanctuaria Treehouses, or Sangat Island Dive Resort.
Safety Tips And Guidelines
To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Black Island and the surrounding area, keep these tips and guidelines in mind:
Always follow local regulations and guidelines, especially when it comes to preserving the environment and marine life.
Wear reef-safe sunscreen and avoid touching or stepping on corals while snorkeling or diving.
Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun with hats, sunglasses, and light, breathable clothing.
Monitor weather conditions and heed any warnings or advisories from local authorities.
Be cautious when swimming or snorkeling in unfamiliar waters, and always stay within designated safe areas.
Ensure your travel insurance covers the activities you plan to participate in during your trip.
Keep an eye on your belongings, especially when in crowded public areas.
Remember these key points above when planning a trip to Black Island – they’ll go a long way towards making sure it’s enjoyable and safe for everyone!
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