Ultimate Guide to Nusa Penida Island
Nusa Penida is the larger of the two “Nusa’s” off the coast of Bali and is said to resemble Bali 20 years ago. This island is a beautiful and remote place with a more laid back vibe; there are no cities, limited paved roads, no big resorts and definitely no Starbucks. But the remoteness gives Penida its unique character and makes being a tourist feel more special since each beach is not packed with hundreds of visitors piling out of tour buses.
There are fast boats leaving Sanur several times a day, which take approximately 35-40 minutes to Nusa Penida or Lembongan. To make things more simple we just booked a taxi to Sanur and a speed boat ticket all in one with a tour company in Ubud for 250K IDR ($20).
Renting a motorbike is most efficient and independent mode of transport and daily rental is around 75K IDR ($3.75), but the roads are not the best so I would recommend prior experience driving a bike before driving here.
A private taxi (the only kind), starts at 650K IDR ($48) per day. If you can fill the seats with six people the price isn’t too bad but don’t try to see everything in one day, it’s impossible. Take your time, see 1-2 sights per day, and brining plenty of water/ sunscreen.
What To Do:
This beach is home to the infamous “T-Rex” head shaped cliffs which tower over crystal clear waters and a secluded stretch of white sandy shores. The hike down to the water is a strenuous one, especially on a hot day (we forgot water and really struggled on the way back up) but it is definitely worth it. There are towering caves that provided a shady area to sit and enjoy a book and the water felt amazing after the long hike down. It took us about an hour to get to the beach parking lot via scooter from our bungalows near the harbor, the roads got a bit sketchy so if you are not comfortable on a scooter I would recommend hiring a driver for the trip.
A gorgeous overlook of the treacherous cliffs and the gorgeous archway that leads to “broken beach”. While you cannot swim here it is right next to Angel’s Billabong, a natural infinity pool which you can hop into at low tide. This spot is also a great spot for manta ray watching in “Manta-ray Bay” right below, we saw several swimming by Angles Billabong.
Snorkel with Manta Rays
Nusa Penida is known for its amazing snorkeling and scuba diving spots and you can easily book a tour anywhere on the island. The two main scuba diving companies are Blue Corner Dive and Octopus diving. We chose the cheaper option of snorkeling and went with a local guide for 225 IDR each ($20) to 4 different sites. We ended up coming face to face with several giant manta rays, some 4 foot long black tunas and plenty of beautifully colored smaller fish.
While we didn’t get to make it to this pristine secluded beach, it comes highly recommended by locals and everyone else we met on the island. It’s a long trek on a motor bike to get there, but you can make a day out of it and get a free lounge chair with a food or drink purchase.
Where To Eat:
A beach side cafe offering up local and healthy options along with traditional Indonesia fare. We enjoyed the king prawn, quinoa salad and vegetable curry. They also have a 2 of 1 happy hour cocktail special starting at 4pm!
This coffee shop not only had amazing coconut milk lattes but also surprised us with some of the best smoothie bowls we’ve had thus far. We were big fans of the dragon bowl and the peanut butter bowl, but they also offered cheap breakfast plates with eggs, bacon and toast!
Where We Stayed:
We opted for the most affordable option we could find on Booking.com, which turned out to be a shabby chic bungalow compound called Full Moon Bungalows. While there was limited lighting inside the bungalows and a minor ant infestation, the experience as a whole was good especially for $10/night each (split 3 ways). These bungalows were in a great location, right next to the beach and several cafes. If you are looking for a truly unique experience I would recommend renting one of the beach tree houses at Atuh beach via Airbnb or booking.com for one of the most Instagramable views in the world (as you can see below in the picture I found on the Explore Bali page).