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In the past, whenever people ask me where the most beautiful place I have ever visited is, I have always said …
“Vietnam ... no wait …!”
“Chile ... no wait ...!”
“Bali ... no wait …!”
“Oh, well, I guess I’m not sure”
Well, I won’t be having that problem anymore.
Without a doubt, staying at Paolyn Houseboats on the bay just off Coron Island, is by far the most scenic and mesmerising place I have ever found!
Yes, it’s true that Paolyn Houseboats offer some wonderful accommodation and we had a great stay (which I will talk more about below), but where it is located is simply off the charts.
It is located in a sheltered bay right next to Coron Island, surrounded by coral reefs and towering rocky cliffs.
So if you are interested in discovering Coron Island at its most beautiful, then this is the ONLY place for you to stay!
Just keep reading …
Full disclosure: Our stay at Paolyn Houseboats was as a part of a collaboration between us and themselves. However, all of the views expressed below are 100% honest and our own.
Okay, so first up it’s worth pointing out that Paolyn Houseboats is entirely unique in how it is situated.
Well, it’s not actually possible for hotels to locate themselves on Coron Island.
Instead, they must build back on the mainland, in or near the town of Coron.
Then, guests wishing to discover Coron Island or the surrounding waters must go on a day tour.
The alternative is to be incredibly wealthy and buy your own boat and moor yourself at a few set locations.
Well, Paolyn Houseboats offers an entirely unique option as it is the only floating structure located directly next to Coron Island and which you can stay in.
It took Paolo, the guy who owns the property, a very long time and a lot of hard work to gain permission to build the boats.
He had to visit the Indigenous Philippino tribe located on Coron Island and ask their permission to build there.
This is because they actually own and control Coron Island and all of the surrounding waters.
It is a unique relationship he has built and one that took a lot of hard work.
As a part of the agreement, he actually employs a lot of locals from Coron Island to live and work on the houseboat, and pays them rent on the bay it is located in.
Interesting fact: these people are the only true 100% Philippinos left as their bloodlines have never been mixed with foreigners.
I’ve put an image below of where exactly Paolyn Houseboats is located.
It is in a great spot, nestled in a sheltered area, away from the worst of any bad weather that might pass through,
It is also incredibly close to most of the important places to visit.
In fact, it’s so close to the famous Twin Lagoons that we were actually able to kayak and paddleboard there, rather than paying for an expensive tour!
The team at Paolyn Houseboats own a number of boats, and arrange to privately pick you up from the mainland and ferry to you over to the accommodation.
The ride over is so beautiful, but is just a taster of what lies in store.
It takes about 15-20 minutes to get there and they are very flexible in the times they can pick you up and drop you back at the mainland.
For example, they arranged to pick us up at 8am on the day of arrival.
So whereas most hotels only let you check in from around 2pm or 3pm, this early start gave us an extra 6-7 hours in which to explore the bay!
We decided to stay for 2 nights on the houseboat, offering us plenty of chances to see everything we wanted to and to truly unwind and take in the beauty of the area we were floating in.
On our first day, after meeting Paolo and the team onboard, we took out the kayaks (which are free and included in the stay) and headed out for a few hours to some of the best snorkeling spots as recommended nearby.
Because these spots are mostly only known by the locals, there were hardly any other tourists there, so we were snorkelling in crystal clear waters over corals and exotic fish with hardly anyone else in sight!
We also visited a small beach, where we chilled for a bit and then did another spot of snorkelling.
After returning for lunch (more on that below), we then relaxed in our room for most of the day as the weather suddenly got a little rainy.
Heads up, it does that a lot in the Philippines!
The next day, after having breakfast served on our personal decking area, we headed out for a morning tour that took us to Kayangan lake, Siete Pescados, Vivian Beach and Barracuda Lake.
This forms one of the most popular tours available in and around Coron Island and is one that is usually packed full of other tourists and boats.
Well, once again, the unique location of Paolyn Houseboats means that they are allowed to set out up to 3 hours earlier than all other tour companies!
So when we were arriving at these wonderful spots at 7am or 8am, others back on the mainland were still waiting on the docks, eagerly awaiting departure.
As such, everywhere we visited had almost no one else there and we were able to discover them so much better.
In peak tourist seasons, all of these spots, and the harbours, get packed full of boats and we hear that it’s a nightmare trying to swim, snorkel and take photos without people all around you.
After returning for lunch that evening we took the kayaks and paddle boats and headed out to the Twin Lagoons.
By going there at 4:30pm, we were once again able to experience these precious lagoons with hardly anyone else there!
This is because all tours end at around this time and people have to head back to the mainland.
Instead, we still had a few hours left of daylight in which to explore the area and go snorkelling, before the sun started to set.
The next day, after once again enjoying our breakfast from our balcony, we went for a swim, a quick snorkel and a paddleboard; before sadly leaving and heading back to Coron.
But as you can tell, by staying out on the water, you have so many more hours in which to get things done and to experience the island to it’s best.
It’s also great being there as the weather in the Philippines tends to change pretty drastically.
And if it’s raining in the few hours you’re out on a regular tour, then you won’t have the chance to make the most of your time there.
This is not a problem if you stay on Paolyn Houseboats.
We were fortunate enough to stay in a large private room located on a separate floating structure just off from the main houseboat.
This is a quick boat ride across from the main boat which has a few other rooms, as well as a seating/dining area.
Our room was very spacious and can hold up to 6 people (with 2 double beds and one set of bunk beds).
There are 3 other rooms on the same floating structure that appeared to be identical.
In here you will also find a private bathroom with 2 sinks and a private shower with clean running water.
This is a big luxury out in the bay as no other structure has yet completed the massive task of transporting gallons of fresh water across from the islands every single day.
They also have the mammoth task of transporting used water away and ensuring it is disposed of ethically and safely away from the bay.
This is a huge undertaking and one that is admirable in it’s scale.
As well as the room itself, you have a private deck and your own private outdoor dining area and lounge chairs.
All in all, the room was wonderful, and the completely wooden design was very in keeping with the surroundings.
The only note I would make is that the rooms did tend to get a little warm at times, as the fans can only do so much to keep you cool.
It’s worth noting that the rooms do have air conditioning, but they cost something like $40 per night, due to the cost of powering them, so it is up to you if you wanted to pay a little extra.
Without them it is very much bearable, but I just wanted to be honest!
Finally, both of the houseboats have WiFi, and it’s actually one of the better signal strengths we’ve had anywhere in the Philippines (which, in general, is notoriously bad for WiFi).
Food is transported across from the mainland every single day and is cooked fresh.
They have a new menu every day, complete with 4 or 5 options to suit all tastes.
In our stay, we tried the Carbonara, grilled fish, chicken and vegetable curry.
All meals were very tasty and all reasonably priced (roughly 400-500PHP per meal depending on choice).
Breakfast was 250PHP each and you can choose to have it served in the main restaurant area or served in your own private outdoor seating area.
Of course, we chose the outdoor area and they brought it across to us each morning, which was a really wonderful touch!
It did arrive slightly late each day, but as we quickly learnt, timekeeping is not considered as much a priority for Philippinos as it is for us Westerners; so we learned to live with that!
Anything and everything you could wish!
As mentioned already, they run and operate all of their own tours and are able to start earlier and run later than anyone else back on the mainland.
They offer all of the same typical half day and full day tours, which you can view once you arrive.
From our research they are priced roughly the same as tours back on the mainland and are cheaper per person as more and more people choose to go with you.
But what’s better is they can also run customised tours to suit your wishes and ensure you see everything you want to.
Because they are not packed full of 15 or 20 other guests from a multitude of hotels and hostels, you can instead take a private or group tour that fits exactly what you want.
You can visit all of the famous sites, including:
As well as this, you can also go kayaking, snorkelling or paddleboarding as much as you want.
There are some incredible snorkeling spots located right next to the boat, around the bay.
In fact, one of the spots next to the boat was, in my opinion, the best snorkelling I did during our entire stay!
Even better than much more famous spots such as Coral Garden which is a part of many popular organised tours.
Aside from this, there are sun loungers located on both houseboats, so you are free to just chill in the sun, admiring the views and topping up your tan.
Cazzy and I also made the most of our chance to send our drone up and capture some epic shots of the surrounding area.
Here are some of our favourite pics …
If you have any more questions about Paolyn Houseboats, then I recommend checking out the following:
The owners, Paolo and his girlfriend Lyn (Pao … Lyn … get it?) are both very friendly and will be happy to answer any other questions you have.
Otherwise, just drop a comment below and I will help the best I can
***Once again, thank you to Paolyn Houseboats for sponsoring our stay with you. As always, all of the views and opinions expressed above are 100% our own***