Nusa Penida Itinerary For 3 Days: Tips + Best Places!

Nusa penida itinerary

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The other day someone asked me what my favourite place in Indonesia had been and I said ‘Nusa Penida!’ without thinking twice. I can’t wait to share my Nusa Penida itinerary with you because I know you’ll love it as much!

Yes, Nusa Penida has its touristy highlights but if you stay overnight (rather than taking a day trip by speedboat from Bali), you’ll see so much more. Follow this 3 day Nusa Penida itinerary and you won’t miss a thing!

The middle of Nusa Penida is one giant mountain peppered with local villages. Driving is a bumpy nightmare with many of the sights very far from one another. It all added to the adventure as we explored the island by bike.

BALI ESSENTIALS

Bali SIM card (30 days, 6GB)

Copy of Lonely Planet Bali

Check visas requirements: iVisa

Accommodation: Browse hotels on Booking.com // hostels on Hostelworld

Travel insurance: World Nomads

Related read: How to spend 2 weeks in Bali

A local recently told me that tourists have only been coming to Nusa Penida for 2-3 years, compared to neighbour Nusa Lembongan‘s 10 years of tourism. I wonder if in a few years Nusa Penida will be tarmacked and built up with resorts. I hope not.

Now’s definitely the time to see it and enjoy its local charm!

Boat and palm trees Nusa Penida itinerary
Get ready for a fabulous 3 days in Nusa Penida!

Read next: Everything you need to know about backpacking Southeast Asia

How long to spend on Nusa Penida

I’d recommend at least three days on Nusa Penida. If you truly only have one day to spare, I’d suggest doing a Bali boat trip because it’s quicker and easier to reach the main attractions via the coast than it is the inland roads.

Broken Beach and Crystal Bay might look moments from each other on a map, but the drive totalling 1-hour meant we split them between separate days.

In this guide, I’ll share the best things to do on Nusa Penida so you can get a feel for what you want to see. Then I’ll suggest an itinerary with an add-on if you have an extra day to spare. I’ll finish with places to sleep and eat (my favourite topic).

Visiting other countries in Asia? Read my 3 month Southeast Asia itinerary

The best things to do in Nusa Penida

First up, activities. If you’re following my Nusa Penida itinerary rather than taking a Bali speedboat trip, there are plenty of wonderful places to visit on Nusa Penida. Some of the spots below get visited during Bali boat trips but many of them don’t, meaning they’ll be way more secluded for you.

Atuh Beach

I’m definitely not saving the best for last here. Atuh Beach is undoubtedly one of the most stunning beaches in Nusa Penida. It’s a long, bumpy drive from anywhere else on Nusa Penida which means many people miss it, and those who do make the pilgrimage find it a little more secluded.

Of course you’ll see other Western tourists there but it’s a bit of a hidden gem. For lunch you should tuck into the fresh fish and nasi goreng being served at the beachfront warungs  – they’re tasty and cheap.

Simply sitting on Atuh Beach and watching the waves batter the cliffs is an experience. The tide is still strong as it hits the sand so I chilled on the beach rather than braving the water. Apparently Atuh Beach is a stunning spot for sunrise, although I’m not sure I’d want to drive there in the dark.

Take a whole day to visit Atuh Beach and visit Goa Giri Putri Cave on the way there or back.

Angel’s Billabong

Angel's Billabong Nusa Penida

Check the stunning blue and green colours in this water! Angel’s Billabong is an enormous natural rock pool that fills up with crystal clear seaspray every time the waves come in, sometimes with an enormous salty splash.

I’ve seen countless photos of people swimming in the water but when we visited (September 2018), it was a viewpoint only. Apparently, people have died being swept out by the waves so I think (and hope) it’s closed off for swimming now.

Broken Beach

Broken Beach

One of the most popular things to do on Nusa Penida is watch the waves swirl inside the cliff bowl that is Broken Beach. It’s right beside Angel’s Billabong so you can easily combine the two. Broken Beach was once a cave but after the roof fell in, it became a unique natural feature with an arched entrance.

No boats or people go inside – the powerful waves are something you wouldn’t want to reckon with! Park your scooter up for 11,000 IDR and see Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach at once.

Note – the road to and from Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong is treacherous to the max. ‘Road’ is a compliment – it’s more a stony dirt track on a vertical incline. Honestly, all I could think about (well, almost) while at these amazing natural attractions was how we’d ever make it back without coming off the bike. Go slow. Beginners don’t try!

Kelingking Beach

Cliff viewpoint Kelingking Beach

This is an essential! Can you see the T-Rex yet? Apparently I’m the only one who can’t. Kelingking is one of the best things to do on Nusa Penida and although you’ll be surrounded by crowds, it’s no less impressive. From the parking lot it’s a long climb down to this point pictured.

I’d say it took around 15 minutes, clutching at roots and branches the whole way. I bottom-shuffled down and clung to things on the way up. I joked after that other people were looking cute ‘n’ beachy while I looked like I was returning from war!

Kelingking beach cliffs

Right at the very bottom is Kelingking Beach, an absolutely stunning white expanse of sand. It required an even longer climb than the one we’d already done and I dread to think about the way up. We didn’t make it all the way but some braver folk did.

The views from the halfway point do not underwhelm if you can only be bothered with half the climb.

Snorkel or dive with manta rays

manta ray
The highlight of my Nusa Penida itinerary!

There are thought to be around 700 manta rays in the Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan region. Each one is estimated to be worth US$15 million dollars due to the amount of tourist expenditure involved in coming to see them. Of course, seeing wild animals is never guaranteed but there’s a very high chance of it.

Book on any snorkel or diving trip from the agencies dotted around Nusa Penida. For snorkelling, you can expect to pay around 150,000 IDR for a morning trip including equipment hire. It’s worth it; snorkelling with mantas is one of the very best things to do in Southeast Asia.

Peguyangen Waterfall

Blue staircase at Peguyangen Waterfall

The golden rule of Nusa Penida is that if it’s not exhausting/treacherous, it’s not worth doing 😉 Getting up and down Peguyangen Waterfall required some stamina and a definite ‘legs day’. You also might want to avert your eyes from the sheer drop below the rickety wooden stairs holding your weight.

All this said, the views at Peguyangen Waterfall are stunning and we watched turtles riding the waves below us. It’s a holy spot for locals and many a procession passed us, clad in white and carrying offerings to the gods.

The views probably outshone the waterfall itself which was a small one at the very bottom. It trickles from the rocks out to the ocean. Factor 20 minutes for getting down, a little longer to get up, and a further 10 or so minutes at the bottom.

Manta Point

Manta Point
Manta ray at Manta Point

Whether you do it from water or land, Manta Point is an excellent addition your Nusa Penida itinerary. If you don’t fancy or have time for a boat trip, take one more hazardous drive to Manta Point. We ended up having this beautiful spot overlooking the ocean all to ourselves.

At first, we noted that while the scenery was stunning, there didn’t seem to be any mantas. Luckily, this changed and we watched not one but two swim for a good 20 minutes. It was amazing.

Honestly, I’m not sure which exact area of the cliff head is Manta Point but we just followed Google Maps and it went pretty well. You’ll see a few speedboats circling the harbour as they search for rays but I think it was actually easier to spot them with our aerial advantage.

Manta Point is pretty far from everything on Nusa Penida apart from Peguyangan Waterfall so it’s worth combining the two.

Crystal Bay

Crystal Bay itinerary Nusa Penida

Crystal Bay is described by every travel blogger and his aunt one of the best things to do in Nusa Penida. Honestly? I wasn’t blown away. After Atuh Beach, it felt kind of boring. It’s more touristy, less dramatic… meh. But for a chill session, you might enjoy it.

I didn’t snorkel at Crystal Bay during my stay on Nusa Penida but I’ve since visited again as a boat trip from Nusa Lembongan. The gorgeous coral and wide variety of marine life can be seen by swimming in from the shore – they stole the show for me.

Goa Giri Putri Cave

Prayer session at Goa Girl Putri Cave itinerary Nusa Penida

One thing I did on Nusa Penida that was totally different was visit Goa Giri Putri Cave. We did this en route to Atuh Beach which only required a 20-minute stop off. I didn’t have huge expectations but was truly amazed by what we found. We climbed a flight of stairs to a small shrine which seemed like all there was.

After a 20,000 IDR entrance fee, I thought it was a bit of a rip-off especially as there didn’t even seem to be a cave. Then, someone directed us to a small hole in the ground which we were instructed to climb through. Not knowing what to expect, we obeyed.

On the other side was a cave the size of a football stadium filled with locals at worship. The low chanting in the semi-lit cave felt eerie yet intriguing. Quite different to the beaches and waterfalls on the island but just as interesting!

3 days in Nusa Penida itinerary

So, how best to fit these attractions into a short trip? Don’t underestimate the driving distances and try to squeeze too much in. Next, I’ll share our tried-and-tested 3 day Nusa Penida itinerary…

Day 1 – the big names: Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach and Kelingking

Avoid peak times for these attractions if you can. I hear the speedboat tours from Bali visit Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong in the morning so it’s best if you visit later in the day. If you have 3 days on Nusa Penida, you can afford to be more leisurely.

After a relaxed breakfast and slow, bumpy ride on the terrible road, we arrived at 12pm then visited Kelingking Beach between 2 and 3pm.

For two people and one scooter, we paid just 11,000 IDR at both Broken Beach and Kelingking Beach for the ticket and parking, so it’s a cheap day out. After the bumpy roads and strenuous climb at Kelingking Beach, I was exhausted by the end of it.

T-rex head Kelingking Beach
Kelingking Beach
Kelingking Beach

Day 2 – Atuh Beach and Goa Giri Putri Cave

Reward yourself for your busy adventures on day two of this Nusa Penida itinerary. Spend a day at beautiful Atuh Beach, relaxing on the fine sand or drinking from a coconut. Drive along the north of the island, heading east, and you’ll pass Goa Giri Putri cave en route.

Goa Giri Putri Cave

Tips for visiting Goa Giri Putri – Entrance is 20,000 IDR and you’ll need to be wearing a sarong to cover your legs as it’s a place of worship. If you don’t have one with you, borrow one at the entrance for 10,000. Out of respect, don’t use a camera flash when ceremonies are going on.

After your culture dose, drive for 30 minutes over the hills of the island until you reach Atuh Beach.

Steps down to Atuh Beach Nusa Penida 3 days
The steep climb down…
Fresh fish and rice on Atuh Beach
Atuh Beach Nusa Penida itinerary

If you’ve survived the drive to Broken Beach, this ride will be a breeze! It’s still a trek on foot from the parking spot down to the sand but at least major chills are awaiting you.

There’s no entry fee for parking at Atuh Beach so all you’ll buy is food and drinks (if you want them) which are very reasonably priced.

Day 3 – Manta Point, Peguyangan Waterfall and Crystal Bay

Manta point 3 days in nusa penida

Start your day early when there’s the highest chance of seeing manta rays from the clifftop. This day will begin in the south of the island where you’ll find Manta Point and Peguyangan Waterfall just a seven-minute drive from each other.

The road to Manta Point is particularly rocky and awful so go slow. Don’t miss the gorgeous white Hindu temple at the top.

Hindu temple at Manta Point

Then, prepare for the climb of your life at Peguyangan Waterfall! The blue wooden staircase curves down the cliff face to bring you to the waterfall at the bottom.

Locals walking down steps to Peguyangan Waterfall
Locals making the same journey as us

Once you’ve seen these attractions, drive back over the hump of the island and spend the afternoon relaxing at Crystal Bay.

Boat in the water at Crystal Bay Nusa Penida

Got an extra day? Swim with manta rays!

If you can add to your 3 day Nusa Penida itinerary, explore the craggy coastline by boat during your fourth day on the island. I actually did this at a later date from neighbouring island, Nusa Lembongan, but it’s easy to do from Nusa Penida too. In fact, it’s easier here because they’re most commonly found around Manta Point.

Snorkelling trips are very affordable, starting at 150,000 IDR for a half-day. If you have time, do it!

Where to stay on Nusa Penida

During 3 days in Nusa Penida, we stayed in a cosy cabin at You & We Bungalows. We paid $20 a night including breakfast and coffee served on our balcony. While you can’t rent a scooter there, the friendly staff will direct you up the road where you can. Book Lotus Bungalows here.

Double room at Lotus Bungalow

Where to eat on Nusa Penida

During 3 days on Nusa Penida, we made it around plenty of restaurants. There’s a mix of Western and Indonesian options and the prices are reasonable compared with Bali and Nusa Lembongan.

Here, in my opinion, are some of the best restaurants on Nusa Penida…

Penida Espresso

This bright yellow open-fronted cafe, Penida Espresso, serves Western-style coffees and smoothie bowls in a local setting. There’s no use for aircon when there’s only two walls, so sit back and look out over palm trees as you sip your flat white.

Smoothie bowl at Penida Espresso
Coffee against yellow wall

Kekinian

Kekinian Cafe on the main road serves something for everyone. I had a local Indonesian dish (tuna curry and rice) and there were also lots of veggie options including a tempeh/tofu/aubergine platter that looked divine. They serve everyone’s favourite Bali breakfast of smoothie bowls, plus there’s a happy hour from 5-8pm.

Penida Colada

My favourite dinner on Nusa Penida was at Penida Colada restaurant. I’d recommend booking a table as we arrived at 7pm and the only one available was reserved from 8pm. I had some of the freshest calamari of my life which was soft and freshly battered.

The bill came to 180,000 IDR ($10) for two seafood mains and two amazing smoothies which is pretty decent.

Papila’s Coffee House

The only airconned cafe on Nusa Penida (that I know of anyway) is Papila’s Coffee House. I believe they also serve Western and Indonesian food, and I know for sure they serve doughnuts because we accidentally ate 10. Long story with a miscommunication and a subsequent sugar coma!

Warung Batan Sabo

This is one of the best restaurants on Nusa Penida for tasty local fare. The mains start at 20,000 IDR ($1.50) and on Sunday nights they have live music and an open mic night.

Nusa Penida Night Market

We never ate a full meal at Nusa Penida Night Market but you totally could. We headed there after dinner to pick up dessert but on both occasions, I ended up snacking on a second chicken satay dinner. Everything was so affordable so there’s no reason not to squeeze it in your 3 day Nusa Penida itinerary.

Chicken satay night market

The fried loaf stand at Nusa Penida Night Market is not to be missed! An absolute genius of a man creates the most caloric desserts, often with an hour-long queue. I watched in awe as he layered chocolate and condensed milk between each slice of bread in a loaf then fried the whole thing.

He also makes the most amazing gooey chocolate cakes fried in a pan and stuffed with banana and sweet milk. On the first night we waited almost an hour for one, then on the second night realised there was a lady making the exact same with no fuss or queue… So that’s your top tip from me. Look for the stand on the other side of the square branded ‘murtabak’.

How to get to + around Nusa Penida

Catch a ferry from Bali. Many companies will pick you up from your Bali accommodation and drop you back there after. It doesn’t have to be the same place you were picked up from – we left from Uluwatu and got dropped back in Canggu. Sort this with your accommodation, any tour agency or book your ticket online with Klook.

Getting to your Nusa Penida accommodation – you’ll need to haggle with the taxi drivers at the pier. Try not to get ripped-off – they wanted 150,000 IDR for a 15-minute ride and the lowest we managed to get one down to was 80,000.

Getting around Nusa Penida – hiring a scooter for 70,000 IDR a day (and filling up the tank for 10,000) is your best option. Do this if you have ridden before because of the notoriously bad roads. If you’re not confident with this option, sort out a scooter or taxi tour with your accommodation or book one online.

Finally, the street art!

Pink and blue turtle street art Nusa Penida

Make sure to seek out some street art during 3 days in Nusa Penida! In my opinion, the best art, always tells a story or highlights a struggle: in the case of Nusa Penida, it references the marine animals and their fight against pollution.

New bits are popping up all the time, for example this colourful turtle image which was being painted during our visit. Due to the ever-changing nature of street art, I can’t promise what you’ll spy. I hope you find some good bits!

Sea life street art
Manta ray street art

I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide and you’re clued up on the best things to do on Nusa Penida. Any questions, drop them below in the comments 🙂

One thought on “Nusa Penida Itinerary For 3 Days: Tips + Best Places!

  1. Angela | Dive sites explorer says:

    I completely agree, Nusa Penida is a favourite of mine as well, especially because I got to meet the mola mola while diving, woohoo! such a surreal encounter!

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