If you want to take the ferry from El Nido to Coron or vice versa (because there is some seriously amazing diving there), there are 2 ways you can get there. You can fly (apparently…but evidence is severely lacking) or boat it. Teacake decided to ride the waves and discovered some essential tips for you! Take note happy travellers…
First things first. There are THREE different ferries that you can take from El Nido to Coron and vice versa. There’s the regular ferry, the fastcraft and then a passenger/cargo ship. They all have different prices, departure times and travel durations. I personally took the regular ferry and you can find out all about this below! Don’t sweat though, if you want to take the other options, their times and prices are included in this guide too.
Here’s what I learnt about the regular ferry from El Nido to Coron first…
The Ferry from El Nido to Coron takes a long time
Weirdly, local folks will keep telling you the journey takes five hours. That is a lie I’m afraid. This is a ferry ruled by the weather gods and lovely laid back Filipinos. Journeys take around 8 to 10 hours. Be prepared to entertain yourself. There is WiFi on board but it’s like the Loch Ness monster: It’s apparently meant to be there but very few people have seen it.
Surfaces are hard, really hard
There is one continuous bench on either side of the boat for everyone to sit on but soon enough, people want to take a kip and lie down. This is gonna be on the floor. There are signs everywhere telling you not to use your life vest as a pillow. Lots of people try to do it but the captain will come by and take them right back off you soon enough. Try and use your bag or something folded to keep you comfy.
Best places to sleep in El Nido before you leave
You’ll be fed on the ferry from El Nido to Coron
Lunch is served and the food is good! What you’re given is what you get though. There’s no vegetarian option so for the animal friendly folks out there, you may wanna pack your lunch. The food is rice, vegetables and meat and the portion size is good! You’re also given fruit for desert. All yummy, all good, no stomach surprises.
Wear tons of sunscreen or sit below deck
It sounds like a no-brainer but Teacake came off the boat like a little roast pork. Many people sat up top excited to fly through the waves and act like pirates discovering new islands for the first time. I did this too but a) There’s barely any cover b) The sun’s heat is ridiculous c) You need to apply suntan continuously d) You might fall asleep (oh yes I did).
Best places to sleep in Coron Town
Bring water and drink it like a fish
There’s nothing for sale on this boat. Nothing. You’ll be given one bottle of water and that’s it. Make sure you’re stocked up like you’re running a marathon. If you’ve been drinking the night before, you might just hate yourself a little bit (oh yes I did).
How much is the ferry From El Nido To Coron?
You can get tickets from your hotel, booking agencies in town or there are always tickets at the port itself.
The cost of the ticket depends on which ferry you want to take.
The regular ferry:
costs 1400 pesos. It holds 70 to 80 passengers and is made up of two boat companies: ‘Bunso’ and ‘MBCA Jessabel 2’.
The fast ferry:
costs 1760 pesos. It holds 110 passengers and is called ‘Montenegro Lines’.
The passenger cargo ship:
costs 1150 pesos for air-conditioned seats and 1000 pesos for non air-conditioned seats. It is run by MV May Lillies (Atienza Shipping).
What time does the ferry leave?
Remember that this is Filipino time. Boats never leave when they say they will :) Depending on whether you want to get the fast, regular or cargo ferry, there are different times that they leave from El Nido. Whichever option you choose, be prepared to pay the ferry tax which is around 20 pesos.
The Regular Ferry from El Nido to Coron
As there are two regular ferry companies, they leave at different times on different days.
The Bunso boat leaves every day of the week from El Nido at 08:30 in the morning. Boarding starts at 08:00 so make sure you’re there early and ready to go! The ferry terminal in El Nido is at the west point of the main beach.
Are you leaving from Coron? The Bunso Boat from Coron to El Nido leaves at 08:30 in the morning daily. Boarding starts at 08:00. Go to Coron Port to catch the ferry.
You can call the Bunso company on both of these numbers: 0910-720-8443 or 0906-637-4258.
The MBCA Jessabel 2 leaves on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from El Nido. It leaves at 07:30 in the morning so make sure you are there by 07:00 latest.
Are you leaving from Coron? The MBCA Jessabel 2 leaves on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 07:30 in the morning.
You can call the Jessabel on these numbers: Smart: 0918-967-6837 or 0918-967-6838 and Globe: 0915-850-1391.
The Fast Ferry from El Nido to Coron
The fast ferry leaves from El Nido at 06:00 in the morning daily! Get there early so you have time to board.
Are you leaving from Coron? The fast ferry from Coron to El Nido leaves at 12:00 noon daily. Go to Coron Port to catch the ferry.
The Cargo/Passenger Ship from El Nido to Coron
The cargo/passenger ship from El Nido leaves at 07:30 in the morning on Wednesdays only.
Are you leaving from Coron? It leaves on Monday only at 07:00 in the morning. This boat basically only travels once a week from either side, so if you want to take this (as it is the cheapest option), make sure to plan ahead a little bit.
How long does the ferry from El Nido to Coron take?
Honestly…be prepared because we’re essentially asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’ here haha! Don’t let this put your off though! You HAVE to get to Coron for a magical time and the travel time is worth it.
The regular ferry reportedly takes 5 to 9 hours. A word of warning about the Bunso 4 which leaves El Nido on Tuesday and Thursday and Coron on Tuesday and Thursday! It takes longer than the other Bunsos (about 8 to 9 hours).
The fast ferry reportedly takes 3.5 hours
For the passenger/cargo ship, it reportedly takes 8 hours.
You have Travel Insurance right?
I know a number of you have expressed worries about taking these boats. With any adventure, there is always a chance that something could happen (but let’s face it, you could hurt yourself making vegetable soup in the kitchen). Regardless, travel insurance whilst having the time of your life is ESSENTIAL. Make sure you get it before you set off!
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Are you prone to seasickness?
My post 5 Ways to Kick Seasickness in the Butt will help you out!