Crystal Bay, located on the island of Nusa Penida in Bali, is an awe-inspiring beach that can be easily reached by scooter, thanks to a newly-built road from Toyapakeh harbor. Spend your day reveling in the mesmerizing scenery of the beach and the sea. Or simply unwind under a parasol. You may even get lucky enough to catch sight of dolphins. The sunset from this beach is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular experiences in Nusa Penida. With all these amazing features, it’s no wonder that Crystal Bay is considered one of the top 5 must-visit destinations on Nusa Penida island.
Snorkeling at Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay, along with Gamat Bay, stands out as one of the top snorkeling destinations in Nusa Penida. To explore the enchanting coral and marine life of this stunning spot, you can conveniently rent snorkeling gear from one of the beach warungs. Here, you are likely to spot turtles as well as a diverse range of fish and colorful coral. However, it is crucial to exercise caution as the current can be quite strong at the end of the bay.
If you don’t have fins, it is best not to venture too far out. You can use the mooring points of the boats anchored in the bay as a reference. Even though it may be tempting to explore the small temple built atop the rock, don’t go beyond these boats and do not attempt to reach the rock in the middle of the bay. Also, stay away from the right side of the bay where waves could push you onto the corals during low tide.
If you follow these guidelines, Crystal Bay is a fantastic spot to discover the underwater wonders of Nusa Penida. Additionally, it’s an excellent starting point for a boat trip to see Manta Rays at Manta Bay. You can book the trip through your hotel or inquire with a captain at Crystal Bay early in the morning.
Meet the Mola Mola
Crystal Bay dive site is a highly sought-after diving destination in Nusa Penida from July to October, owing to the remarkable chance to witness the magnificent sunfish, also known as Mola Mola! This colossal fish, measuring over three meters in diameter and weighing over a ton, usually resides in the depths of several hundred meters. However, during the colder months, it surfaces to 25-30 meters, making it visible to divers.
Some individuals claim to have seen the Mola Mola while snorkeling. But the ideal way to spot it is through an experienced scuba diving instructor who can safely guide you to the right location. In September 2017, I captured my first Mola Mola on my GoPro camera with Dune Penida dive center. Nevertheless Crystal Bay is a picturesque diving spot all year round, not just during the Mola Mola season.
Dolphins at Crystal Bay
My friend Pascale, who resides in the village of Sakti, enjoys her daily swims at Crystal Bay. During one of her recent swims, she was ecstatic to have been joined by fifteen dolphins!
I have been fortunate enough to witness numerous dolphins myself, both from the diving boat and underwater during my dives. And also sometimes around 5 pm from the deck of Adiwana Warnakali dive resort while drinking a cocktail!
Surf and Volley-Ball
Crystal Bay Beach has relatively small waves, yet the locals occasionally attempt to surf the left side of the beach. Additionally, frequent volleyball matches are organized behind the beach.
Crystal Bay beach
Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida is a fantastic beach to spend the entire day lounging on a deck chair, basking in the shade under a parasol. Additionally, you can purchase refreshing drinks, coconuts, and basic snacks from one of the beach warungs. It’s the most easily accessible beach on the island.
However, in 2016, the government conducted a forceful operation involving the army, police, and bulldozers to demolish all illegally constructed buildings. Many locals were shocked.
There were two interpretations of the event. Some believed it was a move to preserve the island’s authentic character. While others suspected that it was a step towards constructing a luxury hotel.The second interpretation seems more probable since construction of a massive resort began in 2020 (and stopped with the pandemic). Despite this, the beach remains untouched for now, so let’s take advantage of it while we still can!
If you’re in the mood for an adventure and want to explore more than just one beach or avoid the crowds, Pandan Beach, located just west of Crystal Bay Beach, may be the perfect destination for you. Once you face the sea, look for the stairs on the left-hand side of the beach. Once you climb to the top of the stairs, continue to climb a little further until you find a small path that leads you down to Pandan Beach.
Although this beach is less crowded, it does not offer any drink vendors. So be sure to bring your own water. This location is also the starting point for the hike to Broken Beach.
On the other side of the beach, there is a path that leads up to Bat Cave. Although I was unable to locate it, if you happen to find it, please let me know! Another option to reach the Bat Cave is to go diving. Follow your instructor through a short underwater tunnel and you’ll arrive at the surface inside the cave. You may want to keep your mask on and breathe air from your tank because the smell of hundreds of bats can be pretty intense!
Crystal Bay offers a stunning sunset experience. The sunset typically begins around 5:30 pm, and the location of the setting sun in the bay varies depending on the season. However, if you’re fortunate, you may capture an amazing photo of the setting sun aligned with the small rock arch in the middle of the bay. The sky often glows with red, pink, and orange hues after the sunset.
For a unique perspective, head to the west side of the beach and climb the stairs that lead to the top of the hill. From there, you can witness a breathtaking sunset view. During the day, you can follow the trail down to Pandan beach, which is usually less crowded. For more adventurous hikers, it’s possible to reach Broken Beach in less than two hours, although good shoes and bravery are required.
If you’re looking for delicious cocktails or food, the Amok sunset bar and restaurant is a great option located close to Crystal Bay.
How to get to Crystal Bay
The road leading to Crystal Bay has been fully renovated and is easy to locate. If you are coming from Toyapakeh harbor it will take only about 15 minutes by scooter. At the first significant intersection, identified by a small temple in the center, take a right. And follow the direction marked for Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay. Namaste Bungalows will be on your route. After descending a steep slope, turn right again, and you’ll see the parking lot. Expect to pay a parking fee of 2000 IDR.
For those who wish to walk from Namaste Bungalows or nearby hotels, it will take approximately 30 minutes to reach Crystal Beach. Upon returning, you may prefer to hire a young local to bring you back on a scooter for a reasonable price of 10,000 IDR.
When returning up the hill, be sure to take a left turn at the initial intersection. Otherwise, you’ll end up in the village of Penida, which is a dead end.
How do you get from Bali to Crystal Bay ?
Read how to get from Bali to Nusa Penida island to know which ports and fast boats to choose, the time tables and prices.