A Two Day Guide to Nusa Penida, Indonesia
June 14, 2019
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Nusa Penida is one of the most magical places that I have ever visited. If you’ve been following along on my travel journey for a while then you know that I absolutely love Bali. Well, I love the small island of Nusa Penida off the coast of Bali just as much. It has sharp cliffs, beautiful beaches, and some of the bluest waters that I’ve ever seen. Famous spots like Kelingking Beach and Angel’s Billabong have made visiting Nusa Penida one of the most popular things to do on a trip to Bali. Whether you are looking to spend one day on the island or plan a multi-day adventure, this blog post will tell you everything you need to know about visiting the island and booking the best Nusa Penida tour.
Two Day Nusa Penida Guide
A trip to Bali truly isn’t complete without a visit to one of Indonesia’s most beautiful islands, Nusa Penida. A day trip to Nusa Penida is definitely possible if you’re short on time, but I recommend at least a night or two to explore more of the island. I booked my two day, one night Nusa Penida tour with Nusa Penida Travels and it was perfect. The company was on the slightly pricier end but I couldn’t have been happier with the level of service throughout the trip.
How to Get to Nusa Penida from Bali
The first step is getting to Nusa Penida from Bali. Luckily, it is super easy to get between mainland Bali and the islands. There are a number of fast boat operators going between the two islands. The trip takes about 45 minutes. PSA, if you are prone to motion sickness then I recommend packing some tablets. If the water is rough the ride can be a bit rocky. You can book ahead online or show up early to Sanur Harbor the morning that you want to leave to book. If you are visiting Nusa Penida with a tour operator like Nusa Penida Travels, then they will arrange all transfers for you.
Getting Around Nusa Penida
The roads on the island are bad, really bad. It is definitely possible to get around by scooter, and the roads are improving with time, but be prepared for a sore butt. I would only recommend this to those who are confident and comfortable driving a scooter. Since we booked a prearranged 2 day tour, we had a driver for our time on the island. It was such a luxury having a driver, in a car with AC, for our two days on the island.
If you only have 1 day to explore the island, I recommend hiring a driver. This will allow you to cover a lot more ground! If you have the time, then a scooter is a great way to get around.
Best Things to Do
Broken Beach + Angel’s Billabong
Epic swimming holes and jaw-dropping blue waters are commonplace on Nusa Penida. I swear, every view is better than the last. Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong are located right next to each other on the West side of the island, not too far from the famous Kelingking beach. If you’re on a day trip your Nusa Penida tour could either cover the East or West side of the island, so plan accordingly.
Make sure to wear your swimsuit so you can climb down for a swim. This epic swimming hole can be reached in just a minute or two by climbing down the rock face!
Snorkel with Manta Rays
I first swam with Mantas off the coast of Nusa Penida in 2017 and it was by far one of the coolest experiences that I’ve ever had. Unfortunately they are not always out, but I’d recommend booking an early morning private tour to increase your chances. I highly recommend booking a private tour, as it will allow you to enjoy the waters with a smaller group, and to head out before the larger tour groups. Most Nusa Penida tours include a snorkeling trip, so make sure to add that into the itinerary if it isn’t already.
If you come to Nusa Penida for only one reason, let it be a visit to Kelingking Beach. A Nusa Penida tour could include only this spot, and it would be worth it. From the top you can experience the iconic “dinosaur” rock formation, but don’t stop there. Make your way 30 minutes down the very steeps steps to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is a challenging hike down, and even more challenging hike back up, but well worth it. If you’re going to hike down make sure to wear proper shoes and bring water. I hiked down in Converse and definitely would have preferred some proper running sneakers. Although, I also saw many hiking in flip flops which is a terrible idea!
I also recommend visiting early in the day, as the hike down offers little coverage from the sun! Day tours to the island typically start around 9AM, so if you are overnighting, I recommend visiting before this time! It can get extremely busy during the day.
If I had more time, I could have spent the entire day laying out on this beautiful beach. While it is possible to swim here, the waves are extremely rough. I took one dip and ended up getting tousled face first over and over again in the sand. I have heard many stories of people getting hurt in the waves, so please be careful if you choose to swim.
If you are out of water, there is a small at the bottom to buy some. However, I definitely recommend packing enough for the hike up and down just in case!
The view overlooking Diamond Beach is one of the most beautiful in the world in my opinion. Follow the steep steps down for another perfect island beach. The stairs were built in 2018 and allow you to easily reach the beach in about 20 minutes. For those visiting Nusa Penida on a day trip, it is definitely worth a stop just for the views, however if you have more time I recommend setting up a towel on the beach below. I would not recommend swimming here, as the water is extremely rough and can be dangerous.
Visiting Canngu? Be sure to check out my guide on the Best Things to Do in Canggu
Thousand Islands View Point
Can you say treehouse with a view? Sign me up! Located just up the road from Diamond and Atuh Beaches, no Nusa Penida tour is complete with a stop at this incredible view point. Thousand Islands View Point offers an incredible view of the surrounding beaches. In the distance you’ll actually be able to spot the iconic Diamond Beach.
Goa Giri Putri Temple (Cave Temple)
A visit to Goa Giri Putri Temple is one of the most unique experiences that you can have on the island, and I definitely recommend it if you have the time. Wrap up in a traditional sarong, pay a donation, and make your way into a small cave entrance. Locals use the temple as a place of worship, but tourists can visit and enter the impressive temple. I would share any photos from inside, so you can be just as surprised when you reach!
Ubud on your Bali itinerary? Check out my Guide to Ubud here
Where to Stay on Nusa Penida
There are a ton of great, affordable places to stay on Nusa Penida. I’ve listed a new of my favorites below!
Mid-Range – Penida Bambu Green – all the island glamping vibes at these bamboo cottages! A great option for couples or those looking for a little adventure.
Mid-Range – La Roja – the insta worthy deluxe bungalows come with a pool and have prices starting at $40 USD/night.
Budget – Admadama Farmer House – if you book a tour with Nusa Penida Travels you’ll be spending the evening here, and it doesn’t disappoint. Cozy rooms, a plunge pool, and the best mountain sunset views.
Traveling to Bali? Here are some other articles that you’ll want to check out:
- Munduk Bali Waterfalls
- Bali on a Budget
- North Bali Waterfalls
- Canggu Restaurant Guide
- Mt Batur Sunrise Hike
- Ubud Travel Guide
- Guide to Canggu
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