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“Romantic seclusion in Coron, Palawan” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Rio y Mar Resort

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El Rio y Mar Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Palawan, Palawan Island 5316, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 16 Hotels in Coron
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Romantic seclusion in Coron, Palawan”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Four wonderful nights in El Rio while touring Coron for our anniversary. Stayed in the cedar cabana which was very roomy. The resort is always well kept. It's on its own island so forget about going to the town unless you do the tours. Enjoyed the tours with Ronnie, he's a fabulous photographer which is a plus. Climbed Hunter's Peak, the mountain nearby, with Darrien which was both scary and exhilarating. Very steep! Wear sneakers if you plan on doing that, forget flipflops! The view is worth it though. There were probably only 2 other groups when we stayed there and on the last day, we were the only ones left. The only bad thing about that is trips are more likely if more people go so if no one else wants to go to where you want you're pretty much stuck there. Their "beach" isn't exactly for splashing about, it's more like a lagoon. Sign yourself up for a day tour to their sister resort, Club Paradise, which has a lovely beach if that's what you want. You will enjoy a buffet lunch while there. While there, ask for a side trip to Isla Walang Lang-aw (island without trees). It's gorgeous. We snorkeled our last day with Darrien around their house reef and fed the fishes. They love rice, how Pinoy of them! Go early and you'll be amazed by the massive school of jacks residing under the bar. Jawdropping! I actually thought their reef was much better than Siete Picados, one of the snorkel sites in Coron.

Room Tip: Wi-fi is only by the recreation area near the little souvenir shop. No cable tv, cedar rooms do have...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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194 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
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Atlanta, GA
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 85 cities Reviews in 85 cities
149 helpful votes 149 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

We had a fantastic time at the El Rio y Mar resort in December for 7 days. I would suggest you get the food all-inclusive package if you plan to stay for more than a few days. It is cheaper and they give you more than enough to eat. They will even prepare more if you want. Dinners, when not a buffet, were 5 courses. Lots of variety and everything prepared perfectly. My wife, who is fairly picky, had no complaints. Drinks are extra though and we did not order alcohol or sodas. They also had a couple of guys playing guitars during dinner and would play at your table for a song or two if you want. They didn’t play the entire dinner time which is nice for a little quiet. Also, I never had any stomach issues, which is unusual for me. The ice in their water/drinks is bottled/purified so no problems there. You cannot drink the tap water though.

We stayed in one of the old-fashioned cabanas, #7, which is a duplex type. We did not hear our neighbors so the walls must be insulated somewhat. The cabana is right on the water as you can see on their website or google maps. The water is always calm of course, being on a bay, which I like. The rooms face west so the sun rises behind and to the left. Late afternoon can be hot on the porch due to the sun setting to the front, but the view is lovely. We enjoyed having our coffee on the porch in the mornings. There weren’t many guests when we were there so it was very quiet. The bed was comfortable and the air conditioner worked fine, not too noisy and power was 24x7, with only a very brief outage twice a day while they switched generators. The cabanas don't have TVs but I think the more expensive single cabins do. We didn't miss TV though. They also have free wi-fi but the router is by the main desk so you have to be on the south side of the restaurant for better reception or at one of the tables by the pool tables.

My wife and I love to snorkel and the house reef is very nice. It stretches all the way from one end of the resort to the other and a little beyond. There is a huge school of jacks that hang out under the dock. The coral is nice, you can tell it is growing and healthy, although there must’ve been some damage in the distant past, but there are lots of fish. We enjoyed just floating around looking at the fish and coral, especially since the water is always calm.

The staff was exceptionally helpful and polite. They really went out of their way to make sure we were happy.

As far as tours go, I highly recommend the Coron Island tour. The snorkeling at the Siete Pecados was outstanding. The reef was like none I’ve seen. We snorkeled there for maybe 40 minutes or more, then went to the two lakes, which are on Coron Island and a short walk from where the boat docks. Both are extremely clear, but no fish. We paid the boat guys a few hundred pesos and they stopped at the Twin Peaks reef for a quick snorkel on the way back to the port. After getting back to the port, we bought some coconuts and water at the market (water is way cheaper than the resort). They also have lots of fresh fruits, so bring some cash and stock up. Last stop in Coron proper was the hot springs. Very relaxing hot salt water spring. Make sure to bring a change of clothes. There are restrooms there to change after a soak.

If you like to dive, Brenda is the onsite instructor. She was very nice and took me out to Club Paradise (their sister resort) for a one tank dive. My wife tagged along for only 500 pesos but did not dive. The Club Paradise reef is better than El Rios, but marginally so. We did see some giant sea turtles though. If the seas are rough, snorkeling can be a challenge and you should wear a life vest and have a partner to be safe. There is a hiking trail at Club Paradise that will take you to the top of the hill where you can get a spectacular 360 degree view of the island. The observation tower has a very steep ladder though.

After seeing Club Paradise, I think I prefer El Rio. Club P has a great white sand beach, but I like El Rios cabanas that are right on the water. Also, the pool at Club P is just brackish, cloudy sea water (no fresh water on the island). El Rios pool is much, much nicer.
Transportation to and from the airport is taken care of, they were waiting for us when we landed. If you have a delay, it would help them out if you call or text them. Getting to El Rio is just a short ride on a dirt road from the airport, then a 30 minute boat ride to the resort. They provided a drink and sandwiches when we arrived at the boat dock.

All in all, I would definitely go back to El Rio. It may cost a little more, but the location, service and house reef make it worth the extra cost. Also, we asked about tipping and they said if we would like, we could tip at the end so the staff can divide it up. We did tip the boat guys and van driver on the Coron Island tour a few bucks since they were so nice.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muntinlupa, Philippines
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Stayed in this resort with my wife and I tell you, once you set foot in this resort, you will feel really really special as the staff will welcome you with their warm smiles and a drink. We stayed in one of their native cabanas and I must say it was more than what we expected. The room was squeaky clean although old but it was ok since we were located at the far side of the resort made it very romantic since we were newly weds then!

On our last night, they transferred us to their newly built villa rooms which was spectacular! Although it featured modern amenities, it was still located at the beachfront.

Food - it will not disappoint you!

Service - Superb!

Ask if we will go back to this resort? The answer is a definite "YES"

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

We have just come back from a truly amazing honeymoon. We stayed at El Rio y Mar for 5 nights, in a Cedar Cabana cottage, which is spacious, clean and have an amazing view both during sunrise and sunset. Air-con in the room is great, hot water shower works well. This resort is very well organised, from airport transfer to islands excursions to spa treatments, very friendly staff and professional. They understand how to make their guest feel relaxed during their stay at the resort and on excursions.

We opted for the full board option, meals are good, especially the seafood and their angus steak. When we first arrived, the resort was almost at its max capacity, the resort had put on shows during evening meals. Bar tender Emil's fire dance was the most impressive of all. He was friendly and he also remembered my favourite drink - Mango milkshake whenever I visited the Port Caltom's Reef Bar! Darren who was our guide for the Coron Island tour as well as our day trip to the sister resort Club Paradise, he is very tentative and friendly... he led us to find the Sea Turtles and the giant clam at Club Paradise. We have also went for a hike up to the submit of the hill, it has a great view of the resort and you are able to see Club Paradise from there.

I know alot of people prefer Club Paradise than El Rio y Mar. Personally, we prefer this resort. Yes, it's a smaller resort, and yes, it has not much of a beach. But the rooms/cottages are bigger than Club Paradise, because it's a smaller resort, it brings people closer among the guests and the staff, and its just a bonus that they have the best floating spa ever! If you want to go to the beach, you can always make a day trip to the Club Paradise with their scheduled ferry.

If you are looking for relaxing romantic getaway, this is the perfect resort for you.

Room Tip: Cedar Cabanas are great as they are the nearest to the pool and other amenities.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darwin, Australia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

Transfer from Busuanga airport was flawless and quick. 20 mins by minibus and 20 mins by boat to the resort. We chose a native cabana cottage which is very beautiful and very clean, made out of bamboo and rattan. Super comfortable mattresses and beds. Staff is very friendly and helpful, meals and drinks are good but pricey. Since the owner is German, there is Geman weissbier, German coffee and tea etc :-) There is an infinity pool, watersports/dive center, massage tent, library etc... There is one hiking trail up a hill behind the resort which gives you a stunning view of the island landscape of Busuangan. The one thing that is truly missing is THE BEACH! The resort is located between mangroves, the 'swimming area' is a 3 meter wide strip of water that is not covered in waterplants and there is more mud than sand. You can take a swim from the jetty/bar out into the bay but snorkeling is pointless, the water is murky. We booked our stay for 7 days and then transferred to the sister resort 'club paradise' after 4 days.
Summary: This resort is is very beautiful but if you look for swimming in the sea or snorkeling, this is not for you. However, the cottages are stunningly beautiful, private, have very good view out in the bay, the resort has all the luxury amenities you could wish for which makes it a nice place for a romantic holiday... without a beach :-)

Room Tip: Native Cabana is very beautiful, 50 meters of the restaurant, fully a/c, spacious bathrooms and nice...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calamba, Philippines
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

We went to El Rio y Mar Resort for my sister's OJT. She is currently in her fourth year now taking up BSHRM in San Sebastian College Recoletos - Canlubang. Our main purpose is to accompany her to the resort and to inspect also its conditions.

We were fetched by their mini shuttle bus upon Busuanga Airport. Both guests of Club Paradise (their sister resort) and El Rio y Mar share the same transfers. The mini bus is air-conditioned and bulky. There is enough space for the guests and for the baggages. It is a bumpy 30-minute road trip. Afterwards, you will be transferred to a mini boat which will take you to the resort itself. The travel is another 30-minute by sea. You will cross through a long mangrove forest by the sea.

When we arrived at the resort, staffs were already prepared. They sang their greeting song for us combined with the welcome drinks and towels. Afterwards, a Guest Service Officer will brief you about the resort’s amenities. Then, he/she will guide you to your room.

Our room is located on the right side of the island. It is a Native Cabana which is really big and spacious for 2 persons. It has a queen sized bunk bed in case of extra person. A small rectangular container is available in front of the stairs for feet washing when dirt with sand. A mini veranda is also available in our room. Since it is purely made of wood and light materials, it is a good thing that they also provide a Fire Alarm and an extinguisher too. Inside the cabana, you will be welcomed with their pre-arranged setup of the room. A mirror is placed beside the bedroom which is big enough to see your whole body. They also have a Comment Sheet for your feedbacks. A block of “Please do not disturb” and “Please make up room” is also available which you can hanger on the door knob depending on your preference. Above the bed, are two well-lit lamp shades to illuminate the whole room; alongside is a lamp for your reading together with a Bible. The room was already cooled before we reach it so as to give their guests comfort from the sun’s heat. In addition, a mini refrigerator having cans of colas and soda is available together with its price above. Besides it is an emergency lamp in case power fluctuates in the island. On top of the refrigerator lie two cups with coffee sachets on it and a thermal pot for it. Across the comfort room, you will find a mini cabinet containing two bathrobes, extra pillows and hangers on it. Below it lays the safety deposit box. Towards the comfort room, you will notice the prepared toiletries already which are: shaving kit, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, sewing kit and laundry bag. They also provide laminated posters “Please wash this” something like that if you want your clothes be laundried. They also provide containers for soap, lotion and shampoo. Roll of tissues were more than enough for our stay. Aside from the body towels, they also provide two hand towels. The bed is not that soft but will enable you to have a good slumber all throughout. I forgot to mention that they also have ceilings fan apart from the air conditioner. Overall, the cabana is very fabulous and extravagant. It really speaks for its price. Not to mention, that it is really overlooking by the sea. Beach benches are also available outside of your room.

However, what I hate most of our area is that Globe Signal and WIFI Strength is really poor! Their WIFI is only available at the front desk or reception area.

For the food, they really have delicious, scrumptious and mouth-watering delicacies may it be lunch buffet, set breakfast or a la carte dinner. You will really be full after having them.
Their infinity pool is also good. The deepest part is beyond 6ft depth. They also provide one for kids. At night, the water is lukewarm while during mornings, it is really cold.

They have their own souvenir shop at the island. They also provide an audio visual room for guests which do not have television on their rooms but on a first come first serve basis. Amenities such as billiards, ping pong and snorkeling are free of charge even the snorkel masks, flippers and life vest.

Our stay was great. If you really want to escape from all your problems and stress in life, you should go here. Definitely, it is an escape indeed.

I forgot to mention they also have tour packages, we just don’t avail of it since we stayed for a night only.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

We visited El Rio this past week for a wedding and holiday.... what an amazing experience. The staff were super friendly and accommodating (even assisting the elderly grandparents as needed !!) The accommodation was simple..perfect for what was needed, king bed, air-con etc (cedar cabana). Food was a plenty and wonderful, I was never hungry in fact I probably ate way to much. Drinks were not included in the package but everything on the island was really cheap and the bar was open 24hours.
The island itself is set on a beautiful beach with a great snorkeling spot at the end of the pier, a pool is also onsite. The spa services were also cheap and really relaxing especially having a massage on the floating spa over the reef - great experience !! Day trips were also available and great experience going to the barracuda lakes, beautiful clear blue lakes with no on in sight.
I have never considered the Philippines as a travel destination but after this holiday, I would love to return yearly!

Room Tip: Cedar cabanas are larger and there are only 4 available on the island - would recommend if you want...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Rio y Mar Resort

Address: Palawan, Palawan Island 5316, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Mimaropa > Palawan Province > Palawan Island > Coron
Business Center with Internet Access Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Luxury Hotel in Coron
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Rio y Mar Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Rio Y Mar Resort is the perfect haven for those seeking an escape from the urban jungle. Nestled in a beautiful tranquil bay with a breathtaking view of calm waters and rolling hills, the resort offers the perfect ambiance for romantic getaways and retreats. With only fifteen cottages, guests are guaranteed personalized service with the trademark warmth and charm of native Palawe'os. The resort also offers scuba diving, hiking, water sports and tours around Coron. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Rio y Mar Hotel Coron
El Rio y Mar Resort Coron, Palawan Island

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