Nusa Penida is home to some of the most beautiful views and beaches in all of Indonesia! The dramatic coastline is a mix of dense jungle, bumpy dirt roads, and massive cliffs overlooking the sea. While this can make it difficult to get the all best beaches, Nusa Penida is an island where you won’t regret the hike down. So get ready for days of adventure and fun in the sun with our Nusa Penida travel guide!
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How to Get to Nusa Penida
Fast Ferry from Bali: This is the most common way to travel between the islands, and most likely the only option to be given by competing agencies. The prices can range between 150,000 IDR to 300,000 IDR ($10-20 USD) depending on the company and time of your boat. To avoid the hassle in port you can pre-book your ferry tickets in advance to save time.
Local Ferry from Bali: If you’re looking for a cheaper boat to Nusa Penida you can take a slow ferry. However, you’ll have to hunt down the ticket and ask around to find it! It’s probably better to just pay the extra few bucks for the fast ferry, but you do have options. This is not the right boat for you if you’re doing a Penida Island day trip.
From Gili Islands or Lombok: There are ferries that leave Lombok and stop in the Gili islands which can take about 2.5 hours from this area.
Arriving in Nusa Penida Indonesia
When you first get off the boat to Nusa Penida there will be swarms of people offering transfers and motorbike rentals. After a little back and forth we ended up paying 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah for four of us to be taken 30 minutes to our homestay.
We found out later that most accommodations pick you up free of charge. Still, it wasn’t that big of a deal since what we paid was the equivalent of about $7 USD.
Accommodations in Nusa Penida
The only “main town” or really developed area on Nusa Penida is by the ferry port. You should try to stay on the stretch of coast just outside of town so everything is easily accessible. We stayed to the left of the harbor on one of the Nusa Penida beaches that faces Bali, and thought it was the perfect location.
You should also note that tourism is still very new to Nusa Penida, so you’re not going to find many 5 star luxury resorts. Most of the options are quiet homestays or guest houses, sometimes with just a couple rooms extended as additions to homes.
We appreciated this aspect of Nusa Penida Indonesia and we hope you do to! Below are a few of our recommendations for where to stay on Penida Island.
Where To Stay on Nusa Penida Island
Ultra Luxury – Semabu Hills Hotel Nusa Penida – High up in the hills of Nusa Penida and complete with infinity pool, this as luxury as it gets on the island! Incredible views along with all the modern amenities you’ll need.
Fun Vacation – Daphila Cottage – Great hotel with a unique luxury bungalow design. Includes a pool, private balconies, and beautiful views of the mountainside.
Budget Travel – Kuri Garden Cottage – This was our homestay for a couple days when we visited Nusa Penida! There’s 3 bungalows with a very family style atmosphere. Breakfast is included and they have a pool for you to enjoy.
Hostel Life – Nuansa Penida Hostel – Four, six, and eight bed hostel dorms as well as private rooms available. Brand new cottage style wooden rooms with a pool and on-site restaurant as well.
For more places to stay in Nusa Penida you can explore the latest prices here!
Getting Around Nusa Penida Indonesia
Something you should know right away is that Penida Island is MASSIVE! On our first visit we pushed to see it in two days, and even with over 20 total hours of exploring we still felt rushed. With all the amazing Nusa Penida hikes and beaches it will be tough to see them with limited time.
That’s honestly why it’s hard to recommend a day trip to Nusa Penida! Realistically, you need to give yourself more days or cut down on the amount of places you want to see. With that said, there’s several ways you can transport yourself around the island that we’ve listed below.
Penida Island Transportation
Car: You can rent a car but we’re not sure this is the way to do it. The roads are very narrow and not suitable for most non-locals to drive. You really need to know where you’re going in Nusa Penida to rent a car!
Motorbike: We rented a motorbike and it was a super fun way to the explore Penida island! Nonetheless, we wouldn’t exactly recommend this either unless you have serious experience riding. The roads have become increasingly better and more paved recently but some can be bumpy and dangerous for beginners.
Private Tour: This might be the best option for most people trying to see the island, especially if you’re in a group. While it’s likely the most expensive way to do it you’re at least going to see all the good spots with a local guide.
Exploring Nusa Penida Indonesia
East Side Nusa Penida Island Loop
The east side of Nusa Penida Indonesia is slightly easier to travel to because of several newly paved roads. Honestly, in comparison with the terrain of the western region this will feel like a piece of cake!
You’ll still find some sections of bumpy driving, but overall it makes for a smoother day. We recommend 5-6 hours if you want to hike down to all the Nusa Penida beaches and hit the different viewpoints.
Coastal Ride on Nusa Penida
If you’re staying just outside the main ferry port as we recommended, the drive on the way to Atuh Beach was definitely the most scenic on the entire island.
You’ll see long stretches of coast, bright blue water, and the island of Bali in the distance. There are many restaurants and cafes along the trip as well. Make sure to stop in for a quick breakfast or lunch and take it all in.
Atuh & Diamond Beach
After exploring the entire island of Penida, Atuh Beach and Diamond Beach ended up being our favorites. The nicely paved road we just mentioned means minimal time bumping around on the way to get there, and more time at the Nusa Penida beaches!
What makes this area unique is that the beaches are actually two coves separated by a large cliffside. The parking area is at the top of the cliff so to get to paradise you’ll need to make the steep Nusa Penida hike down each side.
We chose Atuh Beach first because it looked like a bit easier of a hike. Like we said, it shares a parking lot with Diamond Beach which is very convenient. This entire Nusa Penida hike is made of large concrete steps and a thick rope to help guide you.
With each step, you’ll get closer and more excited to jump into that unreal blue water! Beach bars fill the tree line while colorful umbrellas and chairs line the sand. This is the perfect Nusa Penida beach to spend the afternoon and relax.
While it only takes 10-15 minutes to get to the bottom of Diamond Beach, this hike is certainly more intimidating. The part that scared us wasn’t the makeshift stairs or even the shaky railing on your lefthand side.
Instead, it was the rock wall that hangs over the stairs you’re forced to walk under. With all the earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and natural disasters going on in Indonesia recently, we were unsurprisingly hesitant.
Nevertheless, we knew what had to be done! After you’ve conquered the steep steps that are cut into the mountainside you’ll find yourself at a stunning white sand beach. There are no restaurants or snack shops like neighboring Atuh, giving you a feeling of pure seclusion.
Thousand Islands Viewpoint
Who wouldn’t want to see one thousand islands on your trip to Nusa Penida Indonesia? This viewpoint features large sets of rocks below which creates the appearance of the endless islands. This is one of the most beautiful views in all of Penida Island.
Here you can stare at the view forever, or make the trip to take a photo at the famous treehouse. Unfortunately, the country of Indonesia has over 17,500 islands and these don’t count towards that. You’ve still got a long way to go if you want to see all of them!
West Side Nusa Penida Island Loop
The west side of Nusa Penida is probably what inspired you to make the trip in the first place. The famous T-Rex shaped beach has exploded on social media platforms like instagram, and taken the Bali tourism world by storm.
While you should 100% make it a stop, know that there are more Nusa Penida beaches worth seeing than just this one! If you plan to visit all the places below in one day, make sure to to start as early as possible.
Tembeling Beach and Forest
This was one of the best surprises of our last visit, and it came recommended through the owner of our homestay. As you could’ve guessed, the motorbike ride was extremely bumpy… And it ended up not being safe to drive the whole way. From where we parked it was another 15 minute hike from there. Yet, what was waiting for us at the bottom made it so worth it!
Tembeling had a gorgeous beach, natural pool, and crazy stacked rocks that you could only get to by going through a hole in the cliff. This was probably our favorite of our Nusa Penida hikes so make sure you don’t miss it!
Have you really been to Penida Island if you don’t have a photo at the famous T-Rex beach to show for it? While you will share the view with many others, it’s still worth the trip for the view!
Only a small handful of visitors actually leave the viewpoint and make the steep 20 minute climb down to the beach below. Please be aware that this is most challenging Nusa Penida hike. Know your limits and wear proper shoes if you’re going to make the trek down!
Angels’s Billabong is one of the most popular attractions in Nusa Penida Indonesia. The spot is actually made up of three different points. The amazing coastline, a natural infinity pool, and broken beach. We hiked all around Billabong, and as far as we saw there was nowhere that you could get down to the actual beach.
Also, if you come here for the “natural” infinity pool you might be a little disappointed depending on the tides. If you don’t visit on a day when the water is coming in over the pool, it can be green colored and not safe for swimming!
Crystal Bay is arguably the most beautiful cove on the entire island. Much more accessible than many of the other Nusa Penida beaches, it’s the perfect spot to relax in the ocean and enjoy yourself. Crystal Bay is also one of the closest beaches to the ferry port and an easy day trip from Bali.
Have any questions on this article or want to share your own tips for visiting Nusa Penida Indonesia? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Indonesia Travel Planning
Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Singapore to Bali for $60 USD, and Bali to Surabaya for less than $40!
Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Transportation: 12Go is where we look first in Asia for ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! From speed boats to the Gili Islands and bus transfers around the country.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Bali. We recommend taking a sunrise Mount Batur hike with breakfast, an authentic cooking class in a local village, and the Ubud waterfall tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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