If you are looking for Nusa Penida Bali, know that these are actually two different islands. But fret not, Nusa Penida is just a quick boat tour away from the Indonesian island of Bali (as well as Nusa Lembongan Island) and therefore makes for the perfect day trip if you are staying on Bali anyway.
I went on a tour myself and learned a few things I wish someone had told me in advance to make it even better. Read on if that’s what you came to learn, too! (Yay!)
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Should you DIY Your Nusa Penida Tour or book a Guided Tour?
I am a serious cheapskate and usually like to do everything on my own and organized by myself. You can plan your own adventure travel in Bali. For Nusa Penida, however, I was extremely happy about the decision to go with a driver for the day.
It turns out, scooting around Penida island is a true pain. This is authentic Indonesia to be sure. Roads are mere bumpy paths, meandering through the landscape in sharp turns and steep slopes.
After rain, you will have trouble pushing your scooter through the deep mud. Most people we encountered were covered from the waist down in mud and don’t get me started on the poor unfortunate souls who decided to walk.
Read this too: Why You Can’t Travel During Nyepi
There are tons of local taxi drivers on Bali and they usually also offer day trips for a set daily rate. You can also try to haggle for a discount and if you go with more people, you can split the price.
I went on a tour with three other friends and we each paid 450,000 IDR (31 USD). You get to dictate where to go so make sure to notify your potential driver in advance to check their availability and have them draw up an itinerary.
To give you an idea: During our day trip, we left with the ferry at 8:30 and returned at 3:30, which gave us time only for three brief stops, including a lunch break.
If you want to have everything on your Nusa Penida day trip taken care of and know exactly what you want to do, such as swim with manta rays or do a Nusa Penida and Lembongan trip, you can book a tour online.
Read this too: Where to Stay Afterwards in Seminyak
Water Attractions on Nusa Penida Bali
Manta Point Swimming
One of the biggest highlights is Manta Point Nusa Penida as you can swim with giant, gentle manta rays in the clear blue waters. Manta Point lies in the Southwest of Nuda Penida and is an excellent dive site even without the manta rays.
The rays are there throughout the year but your best chances of spotting them is between March and June. There are no currents, which makes it safe and chances of spotting marine wildlife are great. There are local dive centres around, such as the Blue Season Bali Dive Centre.
Nusa Penida Diving
Apart from the two Manta Point spots, there are several spots for diving in Nusa Penida. The best diving time is between July to mid November as that is when you can spot Mola-Mola, the pancake shaped ocean sunfish, which can grow as long as 3 metres. Otherwise, the views are still pretty great with turtles, gorgeous corals and sharks. Generally, diving in Indonesia is a great experience.
In the Northwest of the island is where you will find plenty of Nusa Penida diving spots, such as Crystal Bay, Gamat Bay, Sental or Toyapakeh and diving centres that will lend you equipment in case you can’t bring it with you.
Instagrammworthy Spots on Nusa Penida
Kelingking Beach with Paluang Cliff
I will warn you, this spot can get touristy very easily. At one point I had to queue to sit in the typical instagrammy spot as everybody else, which puts a sour spin on it all.
But Instagram photos at this point are hardly original anymore, so be sure to walk around. If you are game, you can go down the stairs and onto the small ridge of the cliffs below.
You can easily access Broken Beach from the nearby parking lot and just follow the stairs and signs. The beach itself down below is pretty in white and completely engulfed by cliffs and an arch, which you can walk on. Just be careful with getting to close to the edge. You’d be surprised how many people aren’t.
This secluded beach is roughly a ten minutes walk away from Broken Beach and not as crowded with tourists as its more popular counterpart. If you can spare the time, I recommend coming here if it’s sunny to marvel at the wonderful blues above the oceanbed that is surrounded by rugged cliffs.
Be careful though, waves can get pretty high. You can also take a dip in the waters if you feel like the tide and waves are kind enough.
This is the perfect Nusa Penida beach to just work out on your tan on the white sand, sip on a fresh coconut underneath the palm trees or go out snorkeling in the calm bay. There are a few stalls around in case you need to stock up on fresh beverages.
If you love bathing at the edge of waterfalls and aren’t afraid of heights the Peguyangan Waterfall might be right up your alley.
There is a very steep staircase that is bolted all the way to the sea floor so you can safely get down the cliffside and to one of the prettiest waterfalls in Bali. It’s not for the faint hearted though and takes some time.
This isn’t a classic picture perfect beach as it is rather rugged and torn but so much more picturesque because of it! One thing it is locally famous for is the cliff jump that you can do. (There are even some stairs that mark the perfect jumping off point.)
The lagoon isn’t located on Nusa Penida, however, but on neighbouring Nusa Lembongan. If you are able to spend two days or an entire day on Nusa Penida, exploring this tiny island is a great choice.
Read this too: Where to Find The Famous Bali Water Temple
What to Pack for Nusa Penida Indonesia
Before coming to Nusa Penida island, I had gotten the notion of epic instagram photos into my head and dressed accordingly. Too bad the weather turned bad and my bright blue dress and flats were no match for the murky footpaths. (I was lucky compared to those who had dared to wear all white.)
It should have been a no brainer but please wear sensible shoes and clothes. If you want to take a dip in one of the pools, it’s better to wear water shoes so you don’t cut yourself on the sharp rocks. Pack insect repellent, too.
In case you are planning a dive, wear a wetsuit as the waters can get pretty chill with temperatures between 19-28°C. If you want bring your snorkel mask with you as well as sunscreen and plenty of water. The climate on Nusa Penida is hotter and drier than on Bali.
Read this too: What to Pack for Bali – Female Vacation Edition
What Time to Visit Nusa Penida
While the weather report isn’t too reliable on Bali – it can change quickly due to the ocean – you might wanna plan for sunny weather. Coming here during rainy season is therefore a terrible idea. A good shot at ideal weather, snorkeling and diving conditions would be in spring and early summer.
How to Get a Boat to Nusa Penida from Denpasar
The easiest and cheapest way to Sanur Harbour is to get a ride via gojek (you need to register with an Indonesian sim card, which you have to register with the provider).
Uber also offers bike rides but costs more. The second most affordable option is calling a Grab car (you can pay via credit card through the app or in cash).
Once you are at Sanur beach, you can already see the ferries bound for islands like Lembong or Nusa Penida. You can book tickets online but the cheapest option is looking for boats onsite.
Prices may vary depending on where you ask, how much you negotiate and what time of the year it is. Online, one way ticket with a speed boat can cost between 340,000 to 580,000 IDR (24-42 USD).
Alternatively, you can get your ticket with a traditional public boat called ‘jukung’ for only 40,000-55,000 IDR (3-4 USD). It takes 90 minutes to cross over. A faster and pricier option is the speed boat for IDR 50,000 (3,60 USD), which takes 50 minutes.
You might be able to negotiate a return taxi and boat ride for around 350,000 IDR (25 USD). I would ask at your hotel reception, for instance.
Please be aware that you have to wade through the at least knee deep water to get to the ferry. I wish I had known that before choosing my outfit for that day. (I wore a new dress that went all the way to my ankles…)
To travel with your own car or bike to Nusa Penida, go to Padang bay an hour away from Denpasar instead and take the one-hour ferry Kapal Ro-Ro or Kapal Re-Re. Another alternative to Denpasar is the jukung from Kusamba for Rp. 25,000.
Boats do not leave every hour, so have your hotel or tour guide double check or take a look at directferries.com or the official island website for times and prices.
Where to Eat on Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida isn’t a foodie hotspot and if you have an action packed day ahead of you, your best bet is to pack plenty of water and snacks and a sandwich for lunch for the ride.
Of course, there are local warungs and kiosks, where you can get a small meal. Restaurants are limited but do exist.
Your best bet is up North, as quite a few restaurants and warungs are located there. Some of them are Tarzan Marriott on Penida, then there is the Penida Colada and nearby The Gallery Nusa Penida.
Along the way, you will also see warungs by the street. Keep an eye open or you might miss them.
Nusa Penida Accommodation
If you want to make the most out of your Nusa Penida Indonesia trip, you could stay on the island in a Nusa Penida Homestay to get the local experience. The villages on the island haven’t been affected by the onslaught of Indonesia tourism.
You get an authentic Nusa Penida beach hotel experience, like at the peaceful Kubu Ganesh Guesthouse. To really treat yourself to an epic Nusa Penida hotel by the beach stay (for only $60), check into La Roja Bungalows or Kulkul Bungalow (for half the price).
Is A Nusa Penida Tour Worth It?
To be honest, I had mixed feelings about this trip. From others I heard raving reviews and the nature and views are truly stunning.
You can’t get those cliffs and perfect beaches on Bali, that’s for sure. But when I visited, it was incredibly crowded and the drives around the island were a proper bumpy rollercoaster ride.
If my entire day would have been perfect sunshine and we had left earlier I might have felt different about this. That being said, I did enjoy the trip and do recommend it.
Being better prepared certainly makes all the difference and I hope I could give you some helpful feedback in this article.
Tell me: Is Nusa Penida Indonesia on your wishlist? What sight would you wanna visit most?
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