Crystal Bay is an amazing beach on the island of Nusa Penida in Bali. The beach is easily accessible by scooter with a brand new road all the way from Toyapakeh harbour. You can spend your day enjoying the beach and the sea, or just relax in the shade under a parasol. If you’re very lucky you might even see dolphins here. The sunset from this beach is probably among the most spectacular in Nusa Penida. For all the above reasons Crystal Bay is among the top 5 places to visit on Nusa Penida island.
Snorkeling at Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay is, together with Gamat Bay, one of the best sites to go snorkeling in Nusa Penida. You can rent your snorkeling gear at one of the beach warungs to discover the coral and marine life of this beautiful spot. You can see turtles quite regularly, as well as a lot of different fish and very colorful coral. However, be careful as the current can be very strong here, as well as everywhere else in Nusa Penida.
Don’t forget to bring your fins when you go into the water and don’t go too far out. You can use the mooring points of the boats that are parked in the bay as a reference point. I recommend you not to go past these points. Also, don’t try to reach the rock in the middle of the bay, even though it’s tempting to check out the small temple that is built on top of this rock.
Lastly, try to avoid swimming too close to the right side of the bay, as the waves might drag you onto the corals here at low tide. If you stick to these instructions, Crystal Bay is a great spot to discover the underwater world of Nusa Penida!
The beach is, furthermore, also a good starting point for a boat trip to see Manta Rays at Manta Bay. You can book the trip directly with your hotel or try to ask any captain at Crystal Bay in the early morning.
Meet the Mola Mola
Crystal Bay is one of the most popular diving spots in Nusa Penida between July and October. Why? Because there is a good chance to see the famous sunfish or Mola Mola ! Whatever you want to call him, when you face this huge fish underwater you’ll be amazed! This fish has a diameter of over 3 meters and weighs over a ton. Between July and October, when the water is colder, this fish leaves its usual depth (of a few hundred meters deep) to come up to around 25 to 30 meters below surface.
Some people say they’ve seen a Mola Mola while snorkeling. However, it is much more likely to see the Mola Mola with the right scuba diving instructor, who knows how and where to spot it, and can guide you there safely. I took the picture below with my GoPro in September 2017 : my first Mola Mola ! Yann, the manager of Warnakali dive center, also on the photo, has dived Crystal Bay more than 600 times.
Crystal Bay is a beautiful dive spot all year long though, even when it’s not Mola Mola season!
Dolphins at Crystal Bay
My friend Pascale lives in the village of Sakti and she goes swimming at Crystal Bay every day. When I saw her some time ago she was very excited, because fifteen dolphins had joined her during her daily swim !
I myself have also been pretty lucky as I’ve seen a lot of dolphins from the boat before diving or during a surface interval, as well as underwater during the dives.
Surf and Volley-Ball
The waves in Crystal Bay are not very big, but at times the locals still try to surf the waves on the left side of the beach. Also, there are volleyball matches being organized behind the beach quite often.
Crystal Bay beach
The beach is very nice to enjoy all day long, for example on a deck chair in the shade under a parasol. Crystal Bay is the most accessible beach in Nusa Penida. You can also get a drink, a coconut or some basic snacks at one of the beach warungs.
In 2016 it was still possible to have dinner here, but after, the government operated a commando operation with the army, police and bulldozers. All illegally installed buildings were razed and burned. The local population was rather shocked. At the time, two interpretations prevailed: some saw it as a sign of law enforcement to preserve the authentic character of the island. Others interpreted it as a desire to clear space for the building of a luxury hotel.
The second interpretation seems most likely as the construction of a huge resort started in 2020. For now, the beach is still preserved, so let’s enjoy it while we can!
Next to Crystal Bay: Pandan Beach
If you feel adventurous and like to explore more than one beach, or if you like to escape from the other tourists, there is a little beach right next to Crystal Bay (to the West) called Pandan Beach. Facing the sea, you will find stairs on the left side of the beach. When you reach the top of the stairs you continue to climb a little bit more, and there you will find a small path that leads you down to Pandan Beach.
This beach is way less crowded, but there’s no possibility to buy a drink, so bring some water. This is, furthermore, also the starting point for the hike to Broken Beach.
On the other side of Crystal Bay beach there is another path that goes up. It is supposed to bring you to Bat Cave. I couldn’t find it though. So if you manage to find it, please let me know!
Crystal Bay sunsets
Sunset is another great time of the day to visit Crystal Bay. The sunset starts around 5:30 pm. The sun doesn’t always set at the same place in the bay. This depends on the season. However, if you’re lucky you might be able to take a sunset picture in which the setting sun is aligned with the small arch of the rock in the middle of the bay! After sunset, the sky is often colored with red, pink and orange hues.
Another good option is to enjoy the sunset from the stairs on the west side of the beach that lead you to the top of the hill. The sunset is pretty amazing from up there. If you take these stairs during the day, you will find a trail that takes you down to a second beach, still generally deserted. And for those who enjoy a hike, you can even reach Broken Beach from there in less than 2 hours. You will need some courage and good shoes though!
And if you want to enjoy some nice cocktails or food close to Crystal Bay, you can pay a visit to Amok sunset bar and restaurant.
How to get to Crystal Bay
The road to Crystal Bay has been completely redone and is very easy to find. It will only take you about 15 minutes by scooter from Toyapakeh harbour, which is probably also the port where you arrived to Nusa Penida. All you have to do is take a right at the first big intersection you encounter, which is marked by a small temple in the middle. The direction: Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay is also indicated here. You will then pass by Namaste Bungalows. Next, at the bottom of a (very steep) descent you will have to turn right again. You will then see the parking lot of Crystal Bay in front of you and probably have to pay a parking fee of 2000 IDR.
For those who want to walk to Crystal Bay from Namaste Bungalows or one of the neighboring hotels, this will take you around 30 minutes. My advice for the way back: ask a young local from Crystal Bay to bring you back by scooter for a reasonable price of 10,000 IDR.
When you drive back up, don’t forget to turn left at the first intersection. Otherwise you will arrive to the village of Penida, which is a dead end. And if there are two of you on the scooter, the passenger may have to do a bit of the climb by foot…
How do you get from Bali to Crystal Bay ?
You will find all information about how to get to Nusa Penida island from Bali, which port to choose in Bali and in Nusa Penida, how to choose the best fast boat to go to Nusa Penida, all the time tables and prices in this page : https://nusapenida.org/information/nusa-penida/get-to-nusa-penida-from-bali/