What to do in Nusa Penida?
You’ve probably heard of Nusa Penida. Or have you seen some photos, perhaps the most famous one of Kelingking Beach? But would you like to know if it’s worth staying there for several nights? And what to do in Nusa Penida ? You are in the right place ! The list of my favorite places to see in Nusa Penida is the subject of another article. The idea here is rather to tell you about scuba diving, beaches, adventure. In short, to make you want to go to Nusa Penida and stay there for several days.
Scuba diving in Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida was first known for scuba diving. The divers used to come from Sanur in Bali, but did not set foot on the island. 45 minutes by boat from Sanur, two dives, and back to Bali. They could see the incredible cliffs from the sea. But without necessarily suspecting the beauty of the landscapes from the top of these cliffs. But divers now realize the advantage of spending a few days on site in Nusa Penida : they can reach the diving sites earlier than the boats from Sanur and therefore better enjoy their dive. But it allows them also to enjoy visiting the island in the afternoon, even after two dives in the morning.
World-class dive sites
The word-class reputation of Nusa Penida diving sites started with Manta rays and the oceanic sunfish, also called Mola Mola. But there are lots of other things to see. The water is crystal clear, the flora and fauna are very varied, from the smallest Zanzibar shrimp to the biggest whale shark (with some luck) ! There are many currents around Nusa Penida but a good diving center will be able to adapt to all levels of divers, in complete safety. Even if you are a beginner, would you like to discover diving with Manta rays? Or, if you are a confirmed diver, to search a little bit deeper for the Mola Mola ?
Which diving center ?
There are now many dive centers based on the island. My recommendation is to choose a serious dive center with instructors and guides knowing well Nusa Penida dive sites. Read this Bali diving guide to get more information.
What about snorkeling?
Among the nice things to do in Nusa Penida you can also prefer to simply go snorkeling. You will also see a lot of fish, corals and colors. A first option is to rent your equipment at Crystal Bay or Toyapakeh. If you have your own equipment you can also go to Gamat Bay. But always pay close attention to the currents. The fins are really necessary.
The other, much better, option is to book a boat tour, either from Crystal Bay or from Toyapakeh. This is the only option if you want to go swimming with manta rays. The circuit is always the same : it starts in Manta Bay (80% chance of seeing Mantas), then it continues with Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay to finish in Toyapakeh.
Departures are generally in the morning around 8 am. The price varies from the cheapest around 150,000 rupees per person if you agree to go with other tourists. Up to several hundred thousand rupees if you want to privatize your boat. Or if you want to go to Manta Point, much further away but with almost the certainty of seeing Manta rays. Read this article to learn all about the manta ray in Bali. And feel free to send me a message or post a comment if you want a good snorkeling address.
Nusa Penida beaches
Easy access beaches in Nusa Penida
The beaches you can reach directly by car or scooter are those of the north coast of Nusa Penida. Until recently, the seaside was not really accessible. Because the entire north coast was dedicated to seaweeds. You could see squares of different colors depending on the time of day and the height of the tide were the seaweeds were cultivated. The shades of blue and green were very beautiful. But it was really not possible to swim there. The development of tourism and perhaps global warming killed this traditional activity, which you can now see only in Suana. And gradually the coast was colonized by Beach Clubs, restaurants or diving centers. It’s not my favorite place on the island.
Crystal Bay is the only other beach directly accessible by car or scooter. A brand new road to take you there, after a somewhat spectacular descent. The beach is very beautiful in the early morning when the sun lights up the bay through a beautiful palm grove. The sunsets are also very beautiful. With the development of tourism you can rent bean bags or sunbeds and umbrellas for the day. Drinking a coconut sitting in front of this bay is kind of cool. You can swim there easily, but please avoid the right side of the bay where you could damage the corals while injuring yourself at low tide.
You will find Gamat Bay at the end of 2 kilometers of a medium quality path. You will probably be alone on the beach is deserted and the bay is very beautiful. Beware of currents which can be violent. And if you are wondering what to do in Nusa Penida after the beach, go for a cocktail at Amok Sunset, just above.
More “intense” beaches
Kelingking Beach is undoubtedly the most beautiful beach in Nusa Penida. But it takes about 30 minutes along a small path, which sometimes borders on climbing, to reach the beach. And keep in mind you will have to climb up on your way back… But once down there you are in another world !
Suwehan Beach is one of my favorite beaches because you won’t come across many people. A little more difficult to access, whether it’s the road that takes you up the cliff, or the path that leads you down. But it’s very beautiful. Rather go there in the morning because the beach is in the shadow in the afternoon. And not at very high tide because there will be no beach.
More information on each of the beaches in Nusa Penida.
Follow the adventure in Nusa Penida
Most tourists who only spend a day in Nusa Penida do the same tour : Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach. But if you are smart (and you will be smarter after reading this article), please go and discover these other amazing things to do in Nusa Penida
Off the beaten tracks
Sometimes, I find new places in Nusa Penida and I believe I am the first bule (white man in Bahasa) to set foot. It’s probably not true but I still keep these places secret … But clearly you will not meet many people in the next places. And probably no one in the coming months.
Start with a walk in a primary forest that will take you to a natural pool at the foot of a cliff. You are in Temeling. By continuing the path you will arrive on a first beach then a second beach going through a cave.
On the same southwest coast of Nusa Penida you can also visit Guyangan Waterfall and Seganing Waterfall. No waterfall there, but awesome panoramas. And if you want to find the landscapes of the cartoon Teletubies of your childhood, it is also possible, on the road which leads to Sekartaji.
Some Balinese culture
In Bali, there is literally a temple on every street corner, and even for every house. Some are ancestral and very confidential like that one in the trunk of a tree. Others are famous all over Bali, such as the Ped temple where stays the very powerful demon who destroyed Bali long ago on Nyepi day.
The most spectacular temple in Nusa Penida is the Goa Giri Putri temple. It’s a spectacular succession of temples built inside a cave.
Click here to find all of these off-the-beaten-path locations in Nusa Penida.
Questions about what to do in Nusa Penida?
Email me or post a comment at the bottom of this article if you still have questions about what to do in Nusa Penida. It will be a pleasure to answer you !