Nusa Penida is a fairly undeveloped island in Indonesia, home to some of the region’s most pristine scenery, untouched natural beauty, and rich wildlife above and below the ocean’s surface. Located southeast of mainland Bali the island does belong to the latter; however, it has its own Balinese dialect unspoken anywhere else on Bali. As a destination, Nusa Penida is raw and real, seemingly left off the prolific tourist tracks; travelers won’t find fancy beach clubs, trendy restaurants, or hipster cafés on this little island hidden from the crowds, but what it lacks in amenities it makes up for tenfold with beauty, adventurous activities, local culture, and biodiversity.
In fact, many people say Nusa Penida is where travelers can experience what Bali used to be before international tourism took over; the true culture and customs of the local community remain ever present on the island, as does its unspoiled atmosphere that’s seemingly escaped the effects of too many visitors, which Bali’s mainland can suffer in peak season. Although lacking in advanced tourist facilities, Nusa Penida is one of Bali’s hidden gems flourishing with idyllic island charm and is still worthy of a visit, not solely because it provides some of the most photogenic sights in Bali but also because of some of the top attractions Bali has to offer its visitors.
What Is Nusa Penida Famous For?
Nusa Penida is known as a backpacker-friendly tropical haven tucked away from the tourist trail of Bali. Though famed for the best Nusa Penida attractions, such as Kelingking Beach, Angel’s Billabong, and Broken Beach, the island also offers a wealth of Indonesian tradition, evidenced by the slow-paced way of life and the small number of temples where the dark spirit is still worshiped to this day by those who practice religion in and around Bali (and kept at bay, as believed by many resident Indonesians in the area).
The island is also revered as one of the most Instagrammable places in the world, thanks to the stunning views, crystal-clear blue ocean, heavenly beaches, and incredible marine life bustling at the best Nusa Penida snorkeling spots – which have become renowned worldwide among underwater enthusiasts, especially for manta ray sightings and the enormous mola mola (also known as the ocean sunfish). If travelers want to dive into that water and relish the aquatic life below in all its kaleidoscopic glory, get the scoop on this tour below, which might very well be among the best Nusa Penida snorkeling tours, given its top-rated reviews.
Nusa Penida used to be an off-the-beaten-track retreat, but that status is changing – rapidly. There are more tourists than ever before thanks to its beauty, which is now discovered by the masses. Although the island hasn’t yet the same popularity heights as nearby Bali, travelers should expect more visitors at popular sites than what the travel guides state, particularly in peak tourist season. (Details on the best month to visit Bali and Nusa Penida are detailed later)
About This Nusa Penida Day Trip
- Tour Name: Nusa Penida Snorkeling Adventure (Private & All-Inclusive)
- Start time: 6:30 am
- Price: From $149
- Time: 8 to 12 hours
- Pickup Details: Tour operator offers a private pickup from guests’ hotels, collecting from most locations in Bali, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida.
This guided Nusa Penida snorkel trip makes the most of the island’s best swimming and snorkeling sites, offering visitors the chance to enjoy all the highlights without stressing about logistics, hiring snorkeling equipment, and researching which spots to explore. On this private tour of Nusa Penida’s best beaches, bays, and swimming areas, guests get to relish the expertise of local guides while soaking up the island’s most-loved dots on its map – both on land and underwater.
Participants on this convenient, bucket list trip around the island can enjoy a hassle-free, planned itinerary designed by local people in the know, who’ve included some of the best places to snorkel in Bali and Nusa Penida on the to-do list. Famous places, like Manta Bay, Gamat Bay, and Kelingking Beach all beckon for Insta-worthy photos and are nothing short of what readers can find on a National Geographic poster.
In between snapping pics of the breathtaking scenery and witnessing the most famous Nusa Penida sights in person (not on the computer desktop screen, for once), tourers can swim, snorkel, and scope out myriads of vibrant tropical fish and ocean critters at several other Penida bays. Being in the Coral Triangle, the reefs in and around Bali and the Nusa islands are magnificent and open up some of the best dive sites in Southeast Asia. Plus, looking out for the majestic manta ray and mola mola in real life while snorkeling at these sites is an exciting experience like no other. How could this trip get any better? Not much could improve the ultimate tour of this island – but surely the free Wi-Fi on board the private transport and pick-up from and return to guests’ accommodation makes the deal even sweeter.
What’s Included In This Nusa Penida Island Tour
- Bottled water
- Private car during the land tour section of the trip
- Shared snorkeling Boat with up to 7 people on board for maximum comfort
- Private hotel pick-up and drop-off
- All entrance fees
- All snorkeling gear
- Life Jackets
- Wi-Fi on board
- Professional English-speaking snorkeling guide
What To Expect On This All-Inclusive Nusa Penida Snorkeling Trip?
Tour guides meet guests at their hotel and take them to the port in a private car.
2. Sanur Beach
After registration at the port, guests take the public speedboat to Nusa Penida island.
3. Snorkeling At Manta Bay, Wall Bay Point, & GT Bay
Upon arrival at Nusa Penida, guests hop on a snorkeling boat (maximum of 7 people) and go on a snorkeling adventure to the island’s most famous spots. They have a good chance of snorkeling with giant Nusa Penida manta rays at Manta Bay, encountering big marine life at GT Bay, and can witness a variety of brightly colored fish species at Gamat and Wall Bay.
4. Maruti Beach Club
After snorkeling, the tour guide will lead guests to a gorgeous oceanfront beach club for lunch, where authentic local Indonesian cuisine is served. At the beach club, tour participants can also take a quick shower to wash off the saltwater and change their clothes into something more comfortable if they like.
5. Kelingking Beach
The next spot after tucking into a delicious lunch is one of the island’s most famous spots: Kelingking Beach – one of the best Nusa Penida attractions worthy of one’s Instagram reel. Of course, Nusa Penida boasts tons of unbelievable vistas, so it’s often hard for repeat visitors of the island to choose their favorite. However, the cliffs in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex at Kelingking Beach have definitely put this spectacle spot of nature among the island’s finest.
6. Crystal Bay
After Kelingking Beach, tourers have some spare time to swim and relax at Crystal Bay before heading back to Bali. This palm-tree-dotted bay located on the west coast of Nusa Penida is one of Bali’s most beautiful beaches and features a secluded cove with a 200-meter stretch of white sand. What’s more, it’s also one of the best sunset beaches in Bali, facing west and thus granting sublime scenes as the sun goes down.
7. Nusa Penida
When the Nusa Penida snorkeling tour and sightseeing on land is all done and dusted, guests might also get the chance to see other famed tourist landmarks on the way back to their hotel; guides always do their best to pass by a number of the most popular parts of the island when returning guests to their accommodation (as well as during guest pick up at the start of the day’s trip). Although they may not stop at these places – and they’re not guaranteed to be part of the itinerary – the guides try to fit them into a dry by along the way. Most of these sites are found on any ‘Nusa Penida places to visit’ list, which are as follows:
- Free Benoa Square Bali
- Drive through Benoa Square
- Angel’s Billabong
- Canggu Beach
- Tanah Lot Temple
- Seminyak Beach
- Jimbaran Beach
- Ubud Traditional Art Market
- Kuta Beach in Bali
- Uluwatu Temple
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
- Tegalalang Rice Terrace
- Elephant Cave
- Atuh Beach
- Thousand Islands Viewpoint
- Diamond Beach
When Is The Best Time To Visit Nusa Penida?
Although the island is a sublime tropical delight any time of the year, the ideal time to visit Nusa Penida is between May and September for land excursions and activities. The weather is drier and windier during this period, and it’s much easier to explore the island due to the breeze and less rain. That said, visitors can experience perfect beach weather during any season.
However, the best time to snorkel in Bali and Nusa Penida is the opposite; it’s November to May, as these months are the island’s warm-water season with fewer winds and waves, making aquatic activities much more pleasant amid a calmer, warm ocean. This season is also the best time to dive in Bali and Nusa Penida, thanks to optimum water conditions.
When Is The Best Time For Manta Rays In Nusa Penida?
Manta rays – including those exhibiting the very rare black morph – frequent the south of Nusa Penida all year round. Even so, August to October is widely considered to offer the best manta diving and snorkeling in Nusa Penida in terms of the sea conditions that attract these gentle giants.
When Is The Best Time For Mola Mola In Nusa Penida?
The best time to search for the elusive mola mola in Bali and Nusa Penida is from the beginning of July until mid-November. Sure, snorkelers and scuba divers can find this gargantuan fish outside these months; however, sightings are less frequent, generally speaking. Overall, mola mola can be spotted at most Nusa Penida dive sites and snorkeling areas – but Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay are two of this big sea dweller’s favorite spots to hang out, according to local snorkel and dive centers in Bali and Nusa Penida.
Tides and currents can also determine if this giant fish will appear. Generally, the best time to snorkel with mola mola in Nusa Penida (in addition to the right month) is just between the new moon and full moon during a long slack tide.