SNORKELING WITH GIANT MANTA RAYS IN NUSA PENIDA, BALI
We are gliding across the crystal clear water, Nusa Lembongan is fading away in the background as our boat nears the coast of Nusa Penida. The aim of the boat journey is to head to Manta Bay and hopefully locate some giant Manta Rays not far from mainland Bali.
The coastline is stunning and we pass many arches and natural cascades along the way. Without even seeing a Manta Ray I was already satisfied with how we chose to spend the morning. The trip cost $20 USD and includes three snorkeling locations for 4 hours total.
Once we arrive at Manta Bay and begin looking for signs of life, it appears there are many other boats doing the same. Our guide spots a Manta Ray and orders us into the water. Unfortunately, the Manta Ray didn’t want to stick around and I only caught a glimpse of it gliding away.
You can book a tour locally for about $20 USD if you are already on Penida or Lembongan. If you are based in Kuta or Seminyak, you can book the top rated snorkeling tour online before you arrive with Viator by clicking here. Alternatively, you might prefer to go scuba-diving with the Manta’s, which would be the most magical experience ever.
We swam around for half an hour looking for Manta Rays but they seemed to be elsewhere. There was a significant amount of trash floating in the water, which was alarming. You would hope that in a place where animals are known to congregate the conditions would be clean but unfortunately rubbish washes into Nusa Penida from all over the ocean.
We clambered back into the boat and left Manta Bay, searching for a new spot. With no luck up and down the coast, we began to believe we may not be in luck. Until all of a sudden a huge group of boats called us over and we hopped in the water. More than five Manta Rays playfully looped around the bay, entertaining the large group of snorkelers.
The Manta Ray isn’t dangerous but it is still intimidating when a 5-meter creature swims straight at you before ducking away at the last moment.
We hung out in the bay until we could hardly swim anymore. The experience was unreal. I think this was even better than swimming with Whale Sharks in the Philippines. However, just like swimming with Whale Sharks, I didn’t feel totally comfortable with the experience.
How to get to Manta Point on Nusa Penida
You will need to join a tour from Bali mainland or already be on Nusa Lembongan, Ceningan or Penida in order to to the local style tour. If you are already on one of the Nusa Islands, you can just ask at one of the local tour offices to book a Manta Tour for no more than 200,000 rupiah.
To get to Nusa Lembongan from Canggu, we booked with Sri Rejeki Express and the tickets cost $35 USD return including pickup and drop-off from Canggu (or so we thought). The boat trip only takes twenty-five minutes but from pickup to arrival on Lembongan it might take 3-4 hours when you include waiting times.
Another alternative is to jump on board an epic day cruise from Bali. These day cruises often include all meals, drinks and snorkeling gear and activities for when you arrive to Lembongan. If you are based in Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud or Canggu and looking to enjoy Lembongan for a day trip this is your best bet for an epic day out. The number one rated tour is with the Bali Lembongan Beach Club Day Tour. They pick you up from your hotel in the morning from Bali and drop you off later that night. Everything is taken care of all day and you get to enjoy the snorkeling and sights of Lembongan from the luxury boat!
Where to stay on Nusa Lembongan
We stayed at Swara Homestay 2, which set us back $10 a night for a private room with a bathroom. It was incredibly basic but we weren’t there to enjoy a fancy room so it worked for us. It was a great base for our adventures as we got stuck into all of the things to do on Nusa Lembongan. Along the beachfront, there are plenty of fancy resorts if you have the cash to splash but you can get a private room with everything you need for under $20 a night with no problems.
The second time I stayed on Nusa Lembongan was with my Nusa Islands Blogger Workshop. It was an upgrade from Swara Homestay 2! We stayed at the fancy Tamarind Resort, which was an insane property. It was a paradise hideaway with an awesome restaurant, gym, several infinity pools and sunset views. If you are looking for an epic place to stay on Lembongan I would definitely recommend the Tamarind Resort!
I also wrote detailed guides for all of the adventurous things to do on Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Penida, and the Nusa Lembongan. You can read them by clicking on the post below.