Crystal Bay is probably the most popular beach on Nusa Penida for a number of reasons. It is the best sunset beach, facing directly west. This alone makes it a winner for people trying to have a sunset beer and watch the sun go down. It’s also the jump-off spot for snorkel tours and is only a 30-minute drive from the main port, Toyapakeh. Most importantly, unlike many of the crazy beaches on Penida, you can snorkel and swim with relaxing conditions.
HOW TO GET TO CRYSTAL BAY
You could either rent a moped while on Nusa Penida and do a solo adventure or the other option is to join a customizable tour from Bali with Four Elements Adventure Tour Company (best tour operator on Nusa Penida) that lets you pick the beaches spots you want to visit. I recommend the Nusa Island Epic Tour or Nusa Penida East Tour if you are keen to check out the best beaches and viewpoints. Make sure to let the team know you are keen to visit Crystal Bay.
WHERE IS CRYSTAL BAY
If you are staying near Toyapakeh, like most tourists on Nusa Penida, it is just a 30-minute drive to Crystal Bay. This is why it’s so popular for sunset. The roads to Crystal Bay are also in pretty good condition in comparison to many of the shocking routes around the island.
I have included a map below with the location of Crystal Bay so you can find your way.
Crystal Bay Palm Road: On the drive to Crystal Bay, you may notice some stunning palm trees. If you drive all the way down the hill towards the parking lot but take a left just before you arrive you will end up in an awesome round that is lined by palm trees. It really did remind me of Siargao in the Philippines. I was by myself when I visited, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a palm tree and motorbike combo so I shot some photos of myself with my drone while driving through. Not easy. Here’s a look at the epic palm road.
CRYSTAL BAY BEACH
I then headed down to the beach. You can just park your bike and walk straight on in. I’ve never paid to park at Crystal Bay. It is pretty touristy. There are lots of little bars and stalls selling beers and snacks. For a small fee, you can rent a chair or lounge with an umbrella.
Snorkeling: If you arrive during the day you are in for a treat. Crystal Bay is actually a snorkel spot on many boat tours. Luckily for you, it’s possible to swim out 30 yards and then you are on top of a coral reef. With coral fish plentiful and the possibility of turtles, enjoy some world-class underwater action. The water quality at Crystal Bay is usually pretty good too.
Sunset: If you arrive later in the day, pull up a chair or set down in the sand and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Without a doubt, a local vendor will offer you a beer for $1-2 and you will remember the moment for the rest of the year. You are watching the day finish in paradise. Savior it. Crystal Bay is one of the few beautiful beaches on Nusa Penida that face west for the sunset. Beaches near Toyapakeh aren’t as pretty.
Hike: Around the left side of the bay there is a little trail that will actually take you to the next bay over. I’ve never done it. I’ve flown it with the drone! (Twentieth-century traveling). A guy told me about it as I was leaving last time and said it was nice, so if you are restless like me head over the left hill and check out the beach that I did from the air.
Snorkeling/Manta/Boat tours: All of the tours usually leave from Crystal Bay. I’ve done the tour and it is pretty damn epic. We saw turtles at Gamat Bay, snorkeled with Manta Rays at Manta Point and floated over some amazing coral from Toyapakeh. You can book in advance through your hotel or head down to Crystal Bay and ask if any boat driver is up for it. It usually costs about $20 or so per person.
Hindu Temple: When you sit on the beach you may notice a Hindu Temple on top of the small island in Crystal Bay. There are stairs that come out of the water and lead to the top of the temple but I’ve never seen anyone up there or climbing the stairs. It may be for religious events only and you would have to ask a local about the rules on that one to be safe.
Where to stay on Nusa Penida
I’m going to recommend three places to stay on Nusa Penida. All three of these spots are in great locations but each one is a little different. One is a luxury pick, one is a value selection and the last recommendation I have for you is where I recommend for the budget backpackers.
Ananta Bungalow – Value: The Ananta Bungalow is an awesome location right next to Crystal Bay, which is the best sunset beach on Nusa Penida and where the Manta Ray and snorkel trips launch off from. Basing yourself where you want to spend every sunset is a great idea. The beautiful bungalows have a thatched roof, terrace and combine the island life with modern facilities. The bungalows how WiFi and air conditioning. These are iconic looking bungalows and for less than $25 a night they really are the best value place to stay on Nusa Penida.
Semabu Hills Resort – Luxury: Semabu Hills is definitely the best pick of the luxury options. It has an epic infinity pool that looks out over the ocean, which is an amazing spot to relax after adventuring around the island. With breakfast included each morning and luxury rooms, this is the kind of place you treat yourself to as a family or a couple.
Hostel Nusa Penida – Budget: There’s always a good hostel when backpacking in Indonesia and on Nusa Penida, this is your pick. Hostel Nusa Penida has free WiFi, is in a good central location, which is close to most of the main attractions, beaches, and hikes. It’s clean, modern and the staff are legends.
MORE NUSA ISLANDS BLOG POSTS
There’s a ton of epic things to do on Nusa Penida, but I also wrote detailed guides for all of the adventurous things to do on Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and the Nusa Islands as an overall guide.