Barracuda Lake is one of the most remarkable freediving and snorkeling spots in Palawan, Philippines. Underneath the surface, it truly feels like a dream world. The entrance to the lake leads you along a path that winds through jagged rocks that look straight out of a movie before revealing the beautiful, expansive Barracuda Lake. The best way to get to Barracuda Lake is on the Coron Ultimate Island Hopping Tour, which includes visiting Kayangan Lake aswell as many other snorkeling spots and beautiful beaches.
The lake is huge but swimmers enjoy an enclosed area of free-diving paradise in the deep waters. Underwater cliffs will blow your mind as you snorkel or free dive in this fresh-water lake in Coron Island.
HOW TO GET TO BARRACUDA LAKE
The simple answer about how to get to Barracuda Lake is: By Boat
You will most likely be staying in Coron Town, which is where the hotels, bars, restaurants, and airport is located. The next question is about which boat. There are lots of Coron Island Hopping Tours available and they range in price. Options are:
COMPLETE GUIDE TO BARRACUDA LAKE
Nestled among limestone cliffs and characterized by its crystal-clear turquoise waters, this freshwater lake offers divers a one-of-a-kind experience. Its layered thermoclines, where water temperatures can shift dramatically in just a matter of meters, along with intriguing underwater formations and the mystery of its namesake barracuda, make it a must-visit for freedivers and snorkelers. In this blog post, I’ll share all the details about how to get there, best daytrip options, and what to expect at Barracuda Lake.
MY EXPERIENCE AT BARRACUDA LAKE
I visited Barracuda Lake as part of the Coron Ultimate Island Hopping Tour. It takes you to Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake and several other islands and snorkeling spots. We parked our boat in a beautiful little bay and jumped off onto the boardwalk. It honestly feels like a movie set.
The limestone rocks in Coron look like they are straight out of a horror film as they are just so sharp! They are very similair to what you will find in El Nido. Back in the day there was no boardwalk and you needed to clamber over the rocks but today with new safety measures and increased number of visitors a beautiful boardwalk and stairs guide you towards the lake.
When we arrived just at midday (trying to get in while everyone was eating lunch), there was only one other group there. When we left there were about 50 people in the lake. Either way it didn’t bother us much as most people just snorkel and we had come to freedive near the cliffs.
We were now ready to enjoy the underwater playground of Barracuda Lake and took turns free-diving amongst the jagged cliffs below the surface. It is like another planet and even if you only snorkel on this side of the lake you will still enjoy the incredible landscape underwater at Barracuda Lake. This is a video I made at Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake, which has similar underwater cliffs.
VISIBILITY AT BARRACUDA LAKE
One of the hallmark features of Barracuda Lake is its astonishingly clear waters, which offer freedivers unparalleled visibility often spanning between 20 to 30 meters (65 to 100 feet). This pristine clarity is attributed to the lake’s freshwater composition, devoid of the usual saltwater impurities and plankton blooms that can cloud underwater views in oceanic environments. The impeccable transparency not only amplifies the ethereal beauty of the submerged landscapes but also presents a golden opportunity for underwater photographers.
The sun’s rays, penetrating the surface, create a mesmerizing play of light and shadow on the underwater rock formations, turning each dive into a visual spectacle. This kaleidoscope of natural lighting conditions, combined with the lake’s serene ambiance, makes Barracuda Lake a coveted canvas for freediving photographers. The sheer clarity ensures that photographs capture the minutest details, from the textures of the ancient limestone formations to the occasional glint of a distant, elusive fish. In essence, diving in Barracuda Lake is akin to floating in a giant, natural aquarium, where the world below is as vivid and detailed as the world above.
THERMOCLINES AT BARRACUDA LAKE
One of the standout features of Barracuda Lake is its thermoclines. As freedivers descend, they will notice abrupt temperature changes. The surface layer is fresh water and is relatively cool. As they dive deeper, they can encounter layers of water that are noticeably warmer, sometimes reaching temperatures of up to 38°C (100°F). This thermal layering is due to the mix of fresh and saltwater as well as the lake’s geothermal activity.
WHY IS IT CALLED BARRACUDA LAKE
Barracuda Lake in Coron, Palawan, derives its name from a local legend that a large barracuda once resided there. However, consistent sightings of barracudas in the lake are rare. Over the years, occasional divers have reported seeing a solitary, large barracuda within the lake, which possibly contributed to its namesake.
That said, the lake isn’t teeming with barracudas or a diverse range of fish like one would expect in open ocean dive spots. The primary allure of Barracuda Lake is its unique underwater landscape, thermoclines, and crystal-clear freshwater, rather than its marine life.
If you’re diving in the hopes of seeing a barracuda, there are no guarantees, but part of the lake’s mystique is the chance, however slim, of encountering its legendary resident. Always approach any potential wildlife with respect and caution.
WHERE IS BARRACUDA LAKE
Barracuda Lake is located on Coron Island. Coron Town is where all of the tourists stay is actually on Busuanga. It gets a little confusing but all you need to know is that you will be staying in Coron Town and taking a boat over to Barracuda Lake and Coron Island to visit all of the other lagoons, snorkel spots and shipwrecks. You can see where Barracuda Lake is in relation to Coron Town (Busuanga).
BARRACUDA LAKE TOUR PACKAGES
Barracuda Lake is part of Island Hopping Tour ‘B’. This means that as a solo or budget traveler you can visit Barracuda Lake as well as multiple other locations on a day tour for a cheap price including lunch! I highly recommend Tour B and of course Tour A and have done them both.
- It includes Barracuda Lake, Kayangan Lake, Banol Beach, Snorkel at Skeleton Wreck, Twin Lagoon
BARRACUDA LAKE ENTRANCE FEE
Your entrance fee for Barracuda Lake is most likely organized by your tour operator but the system is not that you need to buy the tickets in town before you arrive. They are trying to regulate things more these days so that is how it works. The fee is 150PHP per person, which is $3 USD as of 2020 but will naturally rise each year.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BARRACUDA LAKE
The best time to visit Barracuda Lake in Coron, Palawan, Philippines depends on a balance between favorable weather conditions and avoiding peak tourist seasons to have a more serene experience. Here’s a breakdown:
1. Dry Season (December to May):
- The months from December to May are generally considered the best time to visit Barracuda Lake. This period corresponds to the dry season in the Philippines, which means less rainfall, calmer waters, and clearer skies.
- Peak Tourist Season (March to May): This period, especially March and April, which are local school vacation months, tends to see the highest influx of tourists. While the weather conditions are optimal, expect larger crowds, especially in well-known spots like Barracuda Lake.
2. Rainy Season (June to November):
- The rainy season brings intermittent showers and, occasionally, typhoons. While it’s still possible to dive during these months, the weather can be a bit unpredictable.
- Off-peak Tourist Season: If you’re aiming for fewer crowds, visiting during the earlier months of the rainy season (June to early August) might be a good choice. Just be prepared for sudden rain showers and always keep an eye on weather forecasts.
BIG DREAM BOAT MAN ISLAND HOPPING TRIP
Big Dream Boat Man is a locally owned tour company that offers THE BEST island-hopping experience in Coron on their private 3-day, 4-night trip throughout the islands nearby Coron.
Reasons to book with Big Dream Boat Man
- Skip the crowds: Visit popular spots like Kayangan Lake, Barracuda Lake and Lusong gunboat BEFORE the crowds arrive.
- Secluded Spots: Visit islands that the daytrippers can’t reach.
- Sunrise & Sunset: Stay overnight at secluded islands in cabins and tents on the beach. Enjoy bonfires, drinks and a fun atmosphere.
3 POPULAR CORON TOURS
- Coron Island Hopping Trip: The iconic boat trip to amazing Kayangan Lake & Barracuda Lake. Best value and most popular
- Snorkeling, Shipwrecks, Private Islands (Island Hopping D): Pass Island, Lusong Gunboat Shipwreck Snorkel & Coral Gardens. This is my favorite island hopping in Coron and is the snorkeling paradise & active tour.
- Coron Land Tour: Get to know Coron! Visit Mt Tapyas viewing deck, Maquinit Hot Spring and important sites around town. Great for a day off from snorkeling and island hopping.
I only recommend tours with Guide To The Philippines, who are a locally owned company and the most RELIABLE & PROFESSIONAL in Coron with small group sizes.
3 BEST PLACES TO STAY IN CORON
WHERE TO STAY IN CORON TOWN
Coron Town is the base for all of your adventures in Coron. In Coron Town you have the bars, restaurants, transport, places to book tours and you are close to Mt. Tapyas and Maquinit Hot Spring. It is also just a $3 shuttle to the airport. Below are my three picks plus one all-inclusive resort (I’ve stayed multiple times) that includes private island hopping.
- The Funny Lion (Good Atmosphere): The Funny Lion is a boutique resort in Coron that I visited several years ago. Let’s just say that beer from the hot tub with one of the best sunset views in Coron is about as good as it gets. It’s ultra-modern and has a spa, pool, and immaculate rooms. The rooftop bar and dining is an awesome place to be after a long day of island-hopping in Coron.
- Two Seasons Coron Bayside Hotel (Value): Located by the bay in Coron Town, this upscale hotel features an infinity pool which makes for a picture-perfect sunset view (Possibly the best sunset hotel view in Coron). If you want comfort and luxury at the same time this place is for you. It has its own private dock so you just leave straight to the island-hopping tours from your hotel room!
- Casa Fidelis Resort All-inclusive (Includes private island hopping): I had the most amazing stay at Casa Fidelis. The villa had a large patio area that looked out over the garden. Stepping stones led you from the room to the dining area, where we had decadent spreads of gourmet food for every meal. Casa
ARE YOU KEEPING UP WITH MY CORON SERIES?
- Best Island Hopping Experience: (4 Days & 3 Nights) Big Dream Boat Man Coron Tour Review.
- My Ultimate Travel Guide: Coron Travel Guide: 22 Awesome Things To Do
- A detailed activity schedule for you: Ultimate Coron Itinerary for 3-4 Days
- A comprehensive accommodation guide: 20 Best Places to Stay in Coron
- Best activity that is not in the water: Mt. Tapyas Hike for the best view in Coron.
Or you might want to jump to a few of my favorite spots in Coron:
- Read my blog post about Kayangan Lake
- Read my blog about Black Island
- Read my blog about Barracuda Lake
- Read my blog about Lusong Gunboat