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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
This is an essential! Can you see the T-Rex yet?
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!
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
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.
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.
Whether you do it from water or land, Manta Point is an excellent
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
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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Once you’ve seen these attractions, drive back over the hump of the island and spend the afternoon relaxing at Crystal Bay.
Got an extra day? S
wim with manta rays!
If you can add to your 3
Snorkelling trips are very affordable, starting at 150,000 IDR for a
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.
Where to eat on Nusa Penida
Here, in my opinion, are some of the best restaurants on Nusa Penida…
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.
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-
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.
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
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!
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!
Thanks for reading my Nusa Penida itinerary
Check out my other Bali & Asia posts:
- How to spend 2 weeks in Bali
- The 10 best Balinese dishes
- How to spend 2 days in Uluwatu
- 18 hidden gems in Bali
- How to spend 3 months in Southeast Asia
- 101 tips for travelling Southeast Asia
- The ultimate Asia bucket list
- 3 day Ubud itinerary
- What to see & do in Ubud
- 11 best warungs in Ubud
- Where to eat breakfast in Ubud
- Ubud coffee & cafe guide
- Hiking Mount Batur at sunrise
- Lempuyang Temple travel guide
See you next time for more adventures,
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Bali useful links
Flights – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Stay connected with E-sim data plans that don’t require delivery or collection; just scan the QR code.
In my opinion, Lonely Planet offer the best guidebooks. Get the latest Copy of Lonely Planet Bali.
I use Booking.com for accommodation. They have the best range of hotels and self-catering apartments, plus you can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.
To save money on accommodation, I use Trusted Housesitters, a website that connects homeowners going away and travellers who can sit their homes & pets.
For activities, I use GetYourGuide and Viator as they both have a huge range of affordable tours.
Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and tips!