With rugged landscapes and world class diving spots, it’s easy to find adventure on Nusa Penida. It’s only a short speed boat trip away from Sanur, Bali. If you are traveling to Bali, plan a few nights on Nusa Penida for added adventure and enhancement to your overall trip.
Getting a speed boat is fairly easy once you are on Bali, but the cheaper boats sell out fast. Plan ahead to secure your tickets by booking online. We booked our tickets through Maruti Group Fast Boats in Sanur. The boat ride between Bali and Nusa Penida can be wild and bumpy depending on the weather and waves. Be prepared with medicine if you get sea sick easily.
There is no official dock for most of the speed boat companies. Which means you may need to wade into the water a bit to get onto the boat. Most boat companies sail a few times a day but last departures are usually around 4pm so plan accordingly on both ends.
We stayed one night but because of the early departure felt like we couldn’t enjoy all we wanted to and wished we had booked for a second night. I highly recommend two nights or more, especially if you are planning a diving trip.
Once we made it to Nusa Penida we hired a driver at the dock to take us to Coco Penida Resort. The resort was well priced and in a good location. The beds were hard (like many in this part of the world) but I’d stay there again. There are drivers waiting at the boat drop off or, ask the staff at your accommodation if they can help you book in advance.
After checking in, the villa had a driver who we hired to take us to Crystal Bay for the evening. We played in the waves and the sand and watched the sunset before going back to swim in the pool and enjoy a late dinner at the villa.
The following day we hired two drivers with cars to take our group of nine around. Because roads are narrow, many of which are partly rocks and dirt, it took awhile to get to the places we wanted to see. It would have been much faster on motorbike, which is the way I would recommend traveling if you aren’t bringing kids.
We stopped first at Manta Point outlook and walked along the cliffs. You can see manta rays swimming far below in the clear water. If you want to enjoy Manta Point from the water, you can easily book a scuba or snorkeling tour. We could see boats out there doing just that – soaking up some diving adventure around Nusa Penida! There is also a beautiful white temple on the hill you can walk around and enjoy.
The views are spectacular.
Just a short drive along the coast is Peguyangan Waterfall. This waterfall is at the bottom of tall, steep cliffs on the water’s edge. The stairs are a series of metal ladder-steps that are very steep and require use of the handrail most of the time.
This was the type of adventure on Nusa Penida our five young boys loved. Rickety stairs with views that offered a bit of danger and adventure.
At the bottom is a temple the Balinese use to cleanse themselves and leave offerings to the gods. Clear water gushes through water spouts used for their cleansing ritual.
There are also clean natural pools to enjoy while you gaze out at the crashing waves just below you. Because this place is a religious site you are required to wear a sarong to visit. We brought thin Turkish towels that acted as sarongs, but there are people at the top of the stairs who might lend you something before you go down.
After bathing in the pools and hiking our way back up, we enjoyed water and ice cream at the warung (eatery) at the top of the cliffs by the parking lot.
Next time, we plan our own lunch stop
We wanted to experience one more waterfall but the kids were still hungry. We made the mistake of listening to our driver who took us to a local warung for lunch. Sometimes these local recommendations work, and sometimes they don’t!
I am sure they either knew the people there or got a kickback for taking us. Unfortunately, it was expensive (for what it was) and terrible food. Everyone was unhappy. Just another one of those things you learn when you are traveling!
We had passed a lot of nice looking places that surely must have been better than where we ended up.
After lunch we were aware that we were short on time to go to Kelingking Beach as we had hoped. We decided to skip the last lookout and head straight to the boat.
This ended up being a good idea because the horrible restaurant took all our available cash, so we needed to find an ATM to pay the drivers for the day. Due to heavy traffic and a broken ATM this took much longer than anticipated. We got to the dock with about 10 minutes to spare.
We will return!
Apart from the terrible lunch, our kids LOVED it all. We were all sad we had to leave and vowed to go back again as soon as possible. After trial and error in engaging our kids in family travel, this trip confirmed for us that our five boys desire adventure – and even some danger – with very limited cultural sites.
I want to head back to Nusa Penida with my husband for a romantic getaway that involves snorkeling, motorbikes and at least one massage by the pool.
Here’s our bucket list for Nusa Penida when we return:
- Kelingking Beach and Overlook
- Seganing Waterfall
- Tembeling Beach and Forest
- Atuh Beach
- Rumah Pohon (Tree House)
Whatever your travel preference, you can find adventure on Nusa Penida amidst the stunning tropical beauty that is a small step away from the beaten track of Bali.
Trip taken May 2019