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 but let’s get started with the logistics.
How to get to Nusa Penida
From Nusa Lembongan, the boat to Nusa Penida took only 20 minutes and cost $35 USD split between my two friends and I. However, you can make a day trip from mainland Bali to Nusa Penida.
In hindsight we should have stayed for at least two days on the island because it was quite large and there was so many things to do on Nusa Penida. We arrived early in the morning and explored at a ferocious pace taking in as much of the beauty as possible. Here is my personal list of eight awesome Nusa Penida things to do.
Nusa Penida Transport
We hired a moped for $5 USD. For the first time in my travels the owner said the fuel was full and we could return it at empty. Thank you very much boss!
1. Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave
Our first stop was unbelievable! The Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave is perched midway up mountain, accessible by a steep winding staircase. Before being allowed up the staircase we had to rent a sarong for 50 cents. We dodged a few rogue monkeys before arriving into the middle of prayer. With no idea what he had walked in on we were blessed with some water to the forehead before crawling through a tiny crack in the ground. Over 100 other people joined us down, crawling through the crack.
Once inside, the roof opened up and we were inside a 300m long cave. More prayer was underway but no-one seemed to mind us looking around. I would have loved to yell out and hear the echo in this massive underground temple. Instead, we wandered around, enjoyed the smell of the incense and the eerie atmosphere before crawling out again.
2. 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. Air Asia knew what they were doing when they provided these umbrellas to the resorts. I can’t imagine how many Instagram photos have inadvertently advertised the airline.
3. Peguyangan Waterfall
The Peguyangan Waterfall was on our way so we thought why not drop in for a look. Little did we know we would encounter the blue stairway to heaven. A steep cliffside trail comprised of blue steel stairs lead you down to the bottom of the cliffs and the waterfall.
4. Seganing Falls
If you don’t like heights skip this trek. The path is at times less than half a yard in width. On one side is the giant vertical rock wall and on your other side a tiny wooden fence protecting you from a certain death if you were to fall. The fence looked like something you would see on an old farm.
Nevertheless we made the journey down with a self-appointed guide who insisted on joining us. He was incredibly funny despite not speaking any English. At each scenic point, he would throw his hands up and scream wow, motioning to us to take a photo of him.
The trek was incredible, which made up for the waterfall. We were dripping in sweat, my friend Joel had cut up his leg and we were out of energy hoping to find an amazing waterfall running into the ocean. Once at the bottom we were surprised to find a cascade of trickles running down the rock face. It was an anti-climax after the crazy trek down. I would suggest this trek as it was truly one of my favorite things to do on Nusa Penida. However, don’t expect Niagara Falls at the bottom.
5. Kelingking ‘T-Rex’
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 but didn’t have enough time to venture onto the beach although we did find a path down. 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.
That was the end of our moped exploration for the day as we raced back to the port to get our boat back to Nusa Lembongan. However, we would be coming back to Penida the next morning
Snorkeling Nusa Penida
6. Manta Bay
We hopped on a group snorkel tour from Lembongan with one thing on our minds. We were keen on swimming with giant Manta Rays as is a popular thing to do on Nusa Penida. After initially not being able to locate the Manta Rays our awesome captain found them. We were able to swim and snorkel with the playful Manta Rays for over half an hour.
They were majestic and intimidating. I would dive down as the Manta swam straight at me with its mouth wide open before darting away at the last moment. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and it was only the start of the snorkel trip! I made a short video on my GoPro:
7. Crystal Bay Beach Nusa Penida
By now we were all so tired from swimming non-stop all morning that when we arrived at Crystal Bay we slumped on the sand and began an hour of recovery! Our captain then rounded us up and took us 100 yards out into the bay on the boat and we enjoyed the crystal clear water you would expect at Crystal Bay. Although we were more interested in flipping off the front of the boat. What’s new?
Our final stop on our Nusa Penida journey was to Toyapakeh. This awesome snorkel spot has a strong current. Our captain dropped us off and we hardly had to swim as the current slowly drifted us down towards a small cove. We were drifting on the edge of a huge drop-off with fish and coral in abundance.
Things to know before you go
Nusa Penida Island is quite large compared to Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan. Therefore you may want to consider spending 2-3 nights on the island if you would like to see all of the points of interest without having to rush.
The roads in some parts are fantastic but to get to many of the waterfalls and beaches the roads were pretty crazy. At times we were just driving over small rocks. If you aren’t confident on a moped this could be some terrain too heavy to handle.
There were a few spots that locals asked us to pay a small entrance or parking fee at. For example, as we left Kelingking we had to hand over 50 cents for parking even though nothing was mentioned beforehand. Just enjoy the views hand over the small fee and continue on your journey.
Thanks for reading my Nusa Penida blog. Let me know in the comments below if you visited any other cool spots on this beautiful island.
Check out my travel guide to all three of the Nusa Islands!
Nusa Penida Map