3-DAY NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY: A DETAILED ADVENTURE TRAVEL GUIDE

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Nusa Penida is the biggest of the three Nusa Islands just off from mainland Bali. Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan make up the trio of islands, each with uniquely breath-taking landscapes. There are so many awesome things to do on Nusa Penida Island BUT you are probably looking for an itinerary that packs the best stuff into a few days. So if you are looking for a huge list of all 27 places I’ve visited on Nusa Penida, I’ll put that link below. If you want an epic 3-day Nusa Penida Itinerary, that is what this blog post is all about. 

My Massive Guide to Nusa Penida: 27 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON NUSA PENIDA

My blog post about the three best day-tour trips to Nusa Penida from Bali: NUSA PENIDA DAY TRIP TOURS FROM BALI – EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE OR MANTAS?

 

How to get to Nusa Penida

The ferry leaves multiple times per day from Sanur (east Bali) If you book it in advance often you can have your pick-up from the hotel included. To book it online in advance for the guaranteed lowest price you can click the link below to reserve your ticket.

Book your ticket: Sanur(Bali) to Nusa Lembongan/Nusa Penida Ferry

I have now visited Nusa Penida twice. The first time I only came for one day (7 hours) and this was a huge mistake. You definitely need to spend at least 2 days if not 4!! This way you can fully explore all of these cool spots rather than just getting a glimpse at each location.

If you are staying in Bali.. but still want to spend a day or two experiencing how epic Nusa Penida is, you can take a day trip on a speedboat to Nusa Penida and tour around the sights for the day (or stay for the night) with a guide before returning back to Bali in the evening. For just $63 (or even $45 if you are traveling in a group of 6), the top-rated Nusa Penida Day Tour includes hotel pick-up and drop-off from Bali, lunch, boat transfers and your guide. I’ve written a detailed guide about the best day-trip tours of Nusa Penida and why I think they are actually pretty good value. You can check that guide out here: NUSA PENIDA DAY TRIP TOURS FROM BALI – EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE OR MANTAS?

Nusa Penida Transport

The island is quite big and it can take over an hour to cruise from one side to another depending on where your accommodation is located. For this Nusa Penida itinerary, you will need a bike (or renting a van and driver) although a  The roads are improving very quickly throughout Nusa Penida as tourist traffic increases if you are a novice scooter driver this is gonna be an interesting journey for you!

A motorbike costs a little bit more than on Bali mainland. We got ours for 70,000 rupiahs per day with a full tank of gas. It wasn’t deal of the year but don’t expect to haggle down to 40,000 rupiahs as you might manage on the streets of Canggu or Kuta.

 

 

NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY: 3-DAY PLAN

Okay, so when I made the plan for you of what to do each day, I chose locations near each other but also in order so that you aren’t just at lookouts all day in the hot sun. You need to break the lookouts and hikes up with swims at the beach. So this is a mixture of activity and then relax, hot and sweaty and then refreshing in the water. That’s how I usually try and plan otherwise you run out of energy by midday because Nusa Penida gets HOT! I’ll add the brief daily plan below so you get an overview and then detail each day with photos and information (including links to my blog posts about each spot on the itinerary because you may look at some and decide it isn’t what you are keen for!

I went to all of these spots with a motorbike but please, please drive carefully. I railed myself once on Nusa Penida pretty bad and the island has claimed so many victims with its slippery and gravel roads. You will do a bit of driving getting to and from each spot but that is just par for the course. I’ve added quite a bit to each day below but if it is a bit overwhelming just remove one location. Some people like to visit a million spots in a week and others are happy to read a book at a beach for the entire day. Obviously, that would be a boring itinerary for me to put together but don’t feel like you need to rush around. If you vibe with a spot, hang out there and take it all in!

 

NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY DAY 1:

Enjoy Sunrise at Atuh Beach

Walk down the stairs to Diamond Beach

Tembeling Forest, Pool & Beach (If you want to pack a lot in)

Thousand Island Viewpoint and the famous Nusa Penida Treehouse (for sunset if you want to drive back in dark)

 

NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY DAY 2:

Angel Billabong (Check tide times as it is important to be at low tide when you visit)

Broken Beach

Kelingking Beach

Kelingking Cliff viewpoint

Crystal Bay for sunset

 

NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY DAY 3:

Snorkeling with the Manta Rays morning tour

Snorkel at Gamat Bay (included in the tour)

Peguyangan Stair Trek

Banah Cliffs for sunset

 

So that is the basic itinerary I would suggest for three full days on Nusa Penida. Obviously, you need to take into account the travel from Bali will take about half a day so you need almost 4-5 days of time to complete the itinerary and the transits. I’ll detail each location below with photos and information.

 

NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY: DAY 1

Enjoy Sunrise at Atuh Beach

After the interesting cave experience, we headed to the coast. We drove through a collection of villages waving to the kids as we dodged chickens, dogs, and potholes on the road. The poor road soon turned to a dirt hill so we abandoned the bikes and crossed our fingers we were in the right spot when all of a sudden we spotted an amazing view through the branches.

Atuh Beach is a stunning white sand beach surrounded by the huge cliffs and remarkable rock formations. An arch sits directly out from the shore while several islets string off in the distance. We explored the shore and the ocean before enjoying a fresh $2 coconut. By going for sunrise you will definitely have the entire beach to yourselves and if the tide is right (make sure it isn’t low tide) it will be stunning.

Read the full blog post: Beautiful Atuh Beach on Nusa Penida

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Walk down the stairs to Diamond Beach

It’s funny how the times change. I am updating this blog post now and instead of just the viewpoint as I mentioned above, you can now walk down to the beach. The locals built stairs into the cliff. Now, this beach that a year ago was only possible to view from the cliffs, is accessible from an incredible stairway.

As you head down the stairs, you can really take in how these stairs were constructed. It was so fresh we could still see all of the chisel marks in the wall. Often the cliff hangs entirely over your head. This walk down may scare some but it isn’t too challenging.

The huge cliffs tower over you as you lay on the untouched sand. It is almost a little nerve-wracking being below such a huge wall of rock. It reminded me of certain beaches near the twelve apostles on the Great Ocean Road. The most important rock though is the diamond shaped rock in the shallows of the water. The beach is after all named after this diamond-shaped rock I believe.

 

Tembeling Forest, Pool & Beach (If you want to pack a lot in)

Tembeling Beach is a little hideaway bay at the end of a crazy motorbike ride down through the forest. Along the way, you will pass by the Tembeling natural pools. If you are looking for something a little off the beaten path and away from the tourist hot spots you may enjoy the adventure of Tembeling Beach, natural pools and forest.

After checking out the Tembeling Forest from within the canyon, which is like a scene out of a jungle movie, you can head down the spiral stairs towards the Tembeling Natural Pools. There are two but the first one is the biggest. Set nicely below the large cliff wall, the crystal clear water has a beautiful blue tone to it, which is strange considering all of the stones and cliffs around are orange and brown.

A number of traditional statues and fountains decorate this spot and are used for water ritual. You can cliff jump from a couple of ledges at this first pool but check the depth and debris first as things can change over time. Head down a bit further and you will reach the second pool. This one is a bit more of a jacuzzi and I actually liked it better. There are small pipe fountains you can wash under and it’s a great place to hang out. From here you can also keep an eye on the beach!

If you continue the trail down you will reach Tembeling Beach. It isn’t anything too crazy especially by Nusa Penida’s lofty standards. Big cliffs on either side dwarf the small patch of sand. The best swimming here is in the natural pools not in the ocean as the waves can get quite interesting here. Stay safe and watch the currents.

View full blog post: TEMBELING BEACH, NATURAL POOL & FOREST ON NUSA PENIDA

 

Thousand Island Viewpoint and the famous Nusa Penida Treehouse (for sunset if you want to drive back in dark)

Firstly, you might be wondering what Pulau Seribu means and it actually just means Thousand Island. This location is sometimes referred to as Pulau Seribu and sometimes as the Thousand Island Viewpoint so I thought I would reference both.

There are several viewpoints that have had fences and structures added to them for the benefit of tourists. There are huge drop-offs here so the fences are to keep tourists safe! To get to the first viewpoint you need to climb down the steep stairway for about 10 minutes. Once we reached this first viewpoint we were pretty awestruck. The view is incredible! We could see a small little empty beach sitting at the bottom of the cliff. It was paradise.

We continued on to the second viewpoint and then to the Instagram famous Tree House. There was nobody inside but the door was locked. We took a few photos here and debated whether or not we would stay out here. We all concluded it would be worth it for the feeling of enjoying the sunrise on the balcony of the treehouse!

Read the full blog post: Thousand Island (Pulau Seribu) Viewpoint

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NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY: DAY 2

 

Angel Billabong (Check tide times as it is important to be at low tide when you visit)

Angel’s Billabong is one of the magical spots you can’t help but marvel at. A crystal clear tide pool cascades into the ocean on the east coast of Nusa Penida. Out in that ocean, Manta Rays cruise the coast at leisure.

As with all tidal pools you need to arrive at the right time of day. If you visit Angel’s Billabong during high-tide you will experience a very different pool than the one you see in photos. You will need to check the tide using a site like Magic Seaweed. Once you figure out when the low tide is, you should plan your itinerary around that. On the day we wanted to visit Angel’s Billabong the low tide was at 8 am so we arrived right at 8 am and it was perfect.

The Billabong is a remarkable formation. The crystal clear water allows you to see the patterns and textures beneath the surface. In some areas, the water is deep enough for a little dip! It is a highly photographed spot on Nusa Penida because of how unique the landscape is.

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Broken Beach

Broken Beach is an incredible little cove on Nusa Penida island. The highlight of the cove and the reason it is called Broken Beach is due to the archway that wraps around the bay allowing water to flow in and out from the ocean.

All around the world, there are unique ways in which the earth has eroded over time. Sometimes mother nature leaves us with something quite remarkable. On Nusa Penida, one of those places that leave us in a state of awe at how over millions of years the earth has ended up as beautiful as it appears before us right now!

The arch at Broken Beach has been formed over many, many years and is now a true spectacle. From above the cove appears almost circular and closed in, however, at eye level the arch is quite high. Unfortunately, there is no way down into the cove for a refreshing dip although you can get in the water at Angel’s Billabong around the corner.

broken beach

 

Kelingking Beach

The Instagram famous coastal cliffscape, which truly does look like a T-rex didn’t disappoint. I still remember the moment I laid eyes on the beach below. It felt like I was a human drone. I watched the crystal clear water slowly form into a wave before crashing below us, in what seemed like slow motion.

We took a short trek down the spine of the T-Rex and took in the epic drop-offs down each side. This is definitely my favorite thing to do on Nusa Penida and is just one of those landscapes that make you feel small. It makes you feel lucky to be in its company, to be able to witness earth’s creation.

Nusa Penida has so many amazing views making it hard to pick a favorite. But when the cliffs form in the shape of a Tyrannosaurus Rex at Kelingking Secret Point Beach it is bound to be a crowd favorite. Kelingking actually translates into English meaning Pinkie a term referencing the smallest finger on the hand. Just like a pinkie promise, the land does also appear to take the form of a Kelingking or pinkie finger. However, it is the comparison to the T-Rex that has caused this location to become so popular.

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Kelingking Cliff viewpoint

Here is a great little tip for enjoying Kelingking Secret Point Beach from a unique angle. Instead of hiking down the stairs, head to the right along the cliffs. There is a worn path along the cliff edge but no railing so be careful. Here you can find multiple epic viewpoints, with arguably a better look at the beach than the hike. It’s an awesome spot for sunset and doesn’t involve any hiking for those of you out there looking for the easy option. We came back two nights later after our beach session down at the bottom and just caught the sunset up on these cliffs. Definitely one of the best sunset spots on the island of Nusa Penida and a unique angle of Kelingking Secret Point Beach.

 

Crystal Bay for sunset

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.

 

NUSA PENIDA ITINERARY: DAY 3

Snorkeling with the Manta Rays morning tour

Book now by clicking here: Nusa Penida Manta Snorkel Tour

When we jumped into the water we were immediately staring face to face with a giant Manta Ray, which is one of the most majestic creatures of the ocean. More than five Manta Rays playfully looped around the bay, entertaining the group of snorkelers. The Manta Rays always seem playful and loop back again and again unlike turtles or fish, which often swim away at the sight of humans. The Manta Rays will often actually head straight for you and then dart off to the side at the last minute. 

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Snorkel at Gamat Bay (included in the tour)

We jumped off the boat, and immediately realized the water at Gamat Bay is much colder than at Manta Point and Crystal Bay. I’m not sure why that is. The second thing we noticed was the incredible coral structures and rock formations beneath the surface. The depth ranged from a few meters closer to shore all the way down to perfect free-diving depth of 5-20 meters.

Our guide told us this is where you can see a turtle if you are lucky. We looked long and hard and finally, we found a turtle who let us chill near him for ten minutes as he went about his business. The water clarity at Gamat was perfect!

 

Peguyangan Stair Trek

Peguyangan Waterfall is one of my favorite spots on Nusa Penida because it has a mix of everything. Up and down those steep blue stairs is a workout. Then you add in the spectacular coastal cliff views that are the trademark of the island. Finally mix that in with the tradition and culture of the sacred temple and the waterfall, which is a pilgrimage site and you have this awesome blend in one spot!

The hike down takes about 20 minutes, leading you down to the pilgrimage site. The sacred temple is based on the water blessing. I spoke to one of the locals who was going through his ritual. There are three spouts. In order, they must shower underneath each and then use the fourth main spout to finish. This is how they cleanse themselves and receive blessings. I didn’t go under the three smaller spouts but the local guys who were dressed in just a sarong or underwear for the boy invited me to shower under the main spout.

Shrines and trinkets are spread throughout the sacred site, which eventually leads you down to cascading pools. These pools have the purest of water, it looks like bottled water it’s so clear! The rock pools are tiered down until they eventually flow out into the ocean. It’s a really beautiful area and has so many different things going on. As we left there was a ceremony taking place with 20 locals sat on the ground being led through a prayer.

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Banah Cliffs for sunset

Banah Cliffs is another epic viewpoint on Nusa Penida. The view down the coast at Banah is striking. As we sat on the edge and looked down we couldn’t even figure out how big the drop was. When we threw a rock off the edge, we never saw it hit the ground, such was the scale. The cliffs are known as a great sunset spot just like Kelingking, which is just down the road! There are two defined ‘spots’ at Banah Cliffs, one involves a short walk and one is right next to the parking lot. The highlight at Banah Cliffs is the arch out in the ocean. A small rock arch sits out in the crystal clear water. We spent a couple of hours at both sites at Banah Cliffs taking in the epic coastline.

 

 

Where to stay on Nusa Penida

Save money on Nusa Penida by staying at an Airbnb! Get a FREE $40 Airbnb Coupon by using my code when you book! 

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.

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2 Discussion to this post

  1. Katrina says:

    Thank you for this comprehensive and well written guide to Nusa Penida! It helped me a lot in planning.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this comprehensive and well written guide to Nusa Penida! It helped me a lot in planning.

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