Island Adventure Guide – Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Penida
The islands of Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida have to be our favorite collection of islands. They’re located off the southeast coast of Bali and are a perfect way to explore a little bit more of Indonesia, away from the traffic of mainland Bali.
Exploring the Nusa islands is a satisfying mix of nature, relaxation, and adventure travel. If you’re short on time you can visit these islands on a group tour or day trip. To get the full experience though it’s best to spend more time exploring them.
Why Visit the Nusa Islands?
They’re beautiful and fun! People visit for the beaches, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and to explore the breathtaking scenery.
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Short on time?
How to Get to the Nusa Islands?
- Boats depart Bali for the Nusa islands from Sanur or Padang Bai.
- You can take a local boat from Sanur, (the cheapest and slowest option) straight to Nusa Lembongan. It takes around 90 minutes for 100k IDR.
- You can also arrive by speedboat, there are several trips per day. Costing around 270k IDR.
- Check out for more information on getting to Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida directly.
- Take a Tour
When to Visit the Nusa Islands?
The dry season is from May to September. The rainy season is from October to April. The busiest times are outside of the monsoon season, usually July and August, and December into the first week of January.
You can still visit during the rainy season and expect some sunny days, but the boats stop running if the weather is bad, and the marine winds tend to blow more garbage onto the beach during this time.
We recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons in April, May, June, or September to beat the crowds and still have nice weather overall.
What to Know Before You Go
We recommend spending at least 4-5 days exploring the Nusa Islands, but depending on how much time you have you could easily stay a week or more. You should spend 2 days enjoying both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan.
We recommend 3 days for Nusa Penida, it’s a large island and the distances can be farther than you think from place to place. It takes some time to see it. There are sights on the western and eastern end.
Read Next: How to Spend a Perfect Day in Canggu
Getting Around the Nusa Islands
By far the easiest way to get around these islands is by renting a motorbike. Prices range from 70k-100k IDR per day and are up for negotiation. Google Maps will come in handy, but there are also plenty of signs. If you’re not sure, just pull over and ask a local.
It’s relatively safe to ride around Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan as they are small and most of the roads are smooth enough. But Nusa Penida’s roads are notoriously bad and crashes are common. If you’re traveling in a group or just want to be safe, you should probably hire a private driver.
Nusa Lembongan is a chill little island that you can drive all the way around in about 30-40 minutes. We found things to be slightly more expensive here than in Bali, but it’s a great place to hang out for a few days.
One of the highlights of any trip to Nusa Lembongan is watching the giant waves crash into the island’s rocky coastline. There are several places to watch this impressive sight unfold! We have them listed for you below, along with some of the best beaches the island has to offer…
Devil’s Tear – Nusa Lembongan
The most popular place to watch the waves, this is where you can truly feel the raw power of the ocean! Listen to the thunderous waves boom against the rocks and enjoy the cool mist on your skin.
Just be mindful of your camera as the waves can come up higher than expected and drench you in an instant! For a quieter spot with fewer people, follow the coast towards Dream Beach for a private show.
Dead Pool – Nusa Lembongan
There are significantly fewer tourists here, go earlier in the morning and you’ll likely be alone. The sunsets are amazing too but expect more people. It’s located on the west side of the island near Cliff Park Villas, you can find it on Google Maps. Check the tide chart to see when the tide is high for the best wave watching.
In a hurry?
Paradise Beach – Nusa Lembongan
Located on the north side of the island this is a nice place to visit at sunrise! On clear days you can see across the Badung Strait to Mt. Agung on Bali and even down to Mt. Rinjani on Lombok! When we visited you could also climb up onto the boat pictured above…
Jungutbatu Beach – Nusa Lembongan
You’ll most likely be dropped off at Jungutbatu Beach. We didn’t spend much time at this beach because we stayed on the opposite side of the island, but it’s supposed to have killer sunsets.
Jungutbatu also gives you the best access to the main surf spots on the island if you’re visiting to catch waves. Being only beginner surfers though, we figured surf spots with names like “Lacerations” and “Shipwreck” were a little too intense for us!
Dream Beach – Nusa Lembongan
A nice beach that has become pretty crowded as of late, especially in the afternoon. Still, a chill spot in the morning, or if you don’t mind the crowd, head here before dusk. It’s a logical stop before you visit Devil’s Tear.
Sandy Bay aka Sunset Beach
We didn’t actually make it here, but we saw it from Devil’s Tear and it looks like a charming area to catch some rays. We overheard some other travelers saying they enjoyed this beach. Check it out if you have time!
We found Mushroom Bay to be too full of boats and people for our liking. You might have better luck if you arrive earlier in the morning or closer to sunset once the day-trippers leave.
We wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit, but if you’re staying nearby it’s a convenient place to book diving or snorkel trips or to grab a bite to eat.
Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan?
It’s easy to find a clean comfortable room on the island for $12-25 per night. There are nicer more expensive options as well.
- Budget option: BBS Homestay 8.7/10
- Mid-range: Sunday Huts Lembongan 9.4/10
- Luxury: Secret Outlook Lembongan 9/10
Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the three islands and connected to Nusa Lembongan by a yellow suspension bridge. We found ourselves spending more time on Ceningan than on Lembongan overall. It’s just a short scooter ride over and has excellent vibes!
Secret Beach – Nusa Ceningan
In our opinion, this was the best beach between both Ceningan and Lembongan. Soak up the sun, sip a beer, and enjoy a nap on a relatively secluded beach. As is the case in most of Bali, beware of the currents, and don’t venture too far out here.
Blue Lagoon – Nusa Ceningan
We’ve seen plenty of lagoons in Asia and this is likely the best of them all. The water is soo blue! The cliff jump has been officially closed after several jumpers were seriously injured. Some people say you can still do it, but it’s not recommended. There is no longer a ladder either, so you’d have to swim back to scramble up sharp rocks afterward. Do so at your own risk.
Despite not jumping, we found the place to still be really impressive. It’s a fun spot to wander around, take photos, and admire the turquoise waters. Please be responsible and pack out what you bring in! Hated to see trash here.
Mahana Point – Nusa Ceningan
What a fantastic location for a bar! When we went, no one was jumping, which was disappointing. We were hoping to jump and have a few celebratory beers afterward, but the swell was too big. The guys working here will only let you jump when it’s safe.
The cost is 25k IDR for the little jump of 5m and 50k IDR for the big one from 10m. Sure it’s just a few dollars, but it seems a little expensive just to jump, but those are the rules. Hopefully, the conditions are right on your visit!
Secret Point Beach – Nusa Ceningan
Often overlooked this beach is located across the Blue Lagoon parking lot, behind Secret Point Huts. Just walk through the resort, grab a beer, and enjoy the sunset on this quiet isolated stretch of sand. You can also see it from Mahana Point, but it’s not accessible there.
Drive up a steep, bumpy hill through the jungle to this quiet, sleepy resort. There’s a swing set overlooking Nusa Penida with views of Gamut Bay. From here, you can really see the current between the two islands. Nice spot for a morning coffee or juice!
Last Stop Bar & Cafe Ceningan
One of several bars offering views of the seaweed farms and paddleboard rentals (100k IDR per hour). Hang in a bean bag, sip drinks, and get some sun! Le Pirate Beach Club is another option nearby for tasty happy hour drinks.
Where to Stay in Nusa Ceningan?
- Budget option: W Guest House 8.5/10
- Mid-range: Le Pirate Beach Club 8.1/10
- Luxury: Blue Lagoon Avia Villas 8.9/10
The largest of the three islands is a paradise rich in underwater life and natural wonders. It’s still pretty underdeveloped, with several broken or bumpy dirt roads. To get there we booked a short boat ride a day in advance from Nusa Lembongan (near the yellow bridge there is a ticket office).
We enjoyed staying on this island the most! We ended up staying for ten days. Although it wasn’t exactly for the reasons we planned on. Long story short, it involved stitches and many visits to the clinic.
Kelingking Beach – The Dinosaur Head – Nusa Penida
You’ve probably seen it on Instagram by now, but seeing it in person is a completely different feeling. The sheer size of the drop will make your heart sink. Honestly, this is one of the most ASTOUNDING things we’ve seen anywhere in the world!
We went twice while we were on the island. Walk down the steep dirt path along the bamboo railing to the white sand beach below if you have time.
Angel’s Billabong – Nusa Penida
Ever go for a swim in a natural infinity pool? Now’s your chance! Get there early if you want any chance of enjoying it alone. Be careful walking down, the rocks are very sharp. Afterward walk a short distance over to Broken Beach, which is actually not a beach at all.
Broken Beach – Pasih Uug Beach – Nusa Penida
Pasih Uug Beach is a large sinkhole that used to be a cave until the roof collapsed. Expect a rough ride on a rocky dirt road to get there but it’s well worth it in the end to see some of mother nature’s most unique creations. Walking along that stone archway is one of the most beautiful features on the island.
Seganing Waterfall – Nusa Penida
One of the best things we did on the island! When we arrived and parked our bike, the guys at the top made it sound like it was a quick, easy hike down to the bottom. Not true! You’re literally walking down a thin dirt trail hanging onto the side of a cliff.
The only thing saving you from certain death is a short handmade fence made from tree branches and twine. If you’re scared of heights you might wanna skip this. The waterfall at the bottom is pretty underwhelming, but the views of the ocean and the adventure of getting there did not disappoint!
Unless you have trail shoes, (which we didn’t) we’d recommend going back up barefoot to avoid your feet from sliding around in your flip-flops. Just be sure you head back up before dusk!
The roads to and from here are hilly and full of loose gravel, so be extra careful if you’re riding a motorbike. This is where we crashed!
More Islands in SE Asia? Read: Diving Sipadan in Borneo, Malaysia
Atuh Beach – Nusa Penida
Steep rough roads lead to this stunning beach on the eastern side of the island. We were paranoid after our crash so we parked our scooter at the top of the last hill, and walked the rest of the way just in case. It’s just a short hike down a staircase to the beach!
You can rent a lounge chair for 50k IDR and there are several warungs around if you get hungry or want a beer. What’s not to love about a relaxing beach with a natural stone archway?
Diamond Beach – Nusa Penida
Diamond Beach is right across from Atuh Beach and is also on the eastern side of the island. If you’re riding a motorbike from the western end of the island it’s a pretty far ride over there. It’s like 45 mins to an hour one way. Otherwise, you can hire a driver or tour the eastern end of the island if you’re staying in Nusa Penida.
Crystal Bay, Gamut Bay, and Manta Bay in Nusa Penida
It’s possible to snorkel on day trips from both Nusa Lembongan and Bali. Snorkeling with Manta Rays is a big attraction on Nusa Penida. If you’re lucky you’ll get to swim with a group of them in clean waters and it just might be one of the best experiences of your life! Scuba Diving Manta Point is also top-rated in this area.
On the day we went, we caught a glimpse of a few mantas in the distance but sadly didn’t have any close encounters. If you’re staying on Nusa Penida it’s easy to book a trip locally yourself on Crystal Bay beach by hiring a boat or through Freedive Nusa.
Gamut Bay was the best snorkeling spot. We highly recommend it! Especially early in the morning before more people arrive. The water is shallow, and there is a very healthy reef lurking below. One of the best we’ve seen in Asia!
If you’re hanging around for a while why not try a 3-Day Freediving Level 1 Course
Sleep in a Treehouse in Nusa Penida
Remember being a kid and wanting to live in a treehouse? Well, there are lots of opportunities to do that on this island! Rumah Pohon Tree House is the most popularly seen treehouse in Nusa Penida on Instagram, located on the same mountain as the Thousand Island viewpoint. Keep in mind that this place has become super popular so it tends to be booked months in advance.
In case that’s full on your dates we also recommend Nyuh Gading Bungalows. They’re spacious bungalows located near the best beaches and snorkel spots.
Banah Cliff – Nusa Penida
Another gorgeous spot with breathtaking cliff views! We came here twice and saw less than ten people on both visits (unless you include monkeys). You can also easily spot manta rays from here. We had more luck seeing them here than at Manta Point itself. POV from Banah Cliff back towards the arch.
Peguyangan Waterfall – Nusa Penida
Hike down the steep blue staircase for (you guessed it) more staggering views! Again the waterfall is nothing spectacular, but you can take a dip if you’re feeling hot and sweaty. We also spotted a pod of mantas in the water from here midday and grabbed lunch at the local restaurant at the top.
Where to Stay in Nusa Penida?
- Budget option: Dungkap Mount View 9.2/10
- Mid-range: Asoka Bungalows 9.1/10
- Luxury: Maua Nusa Penida 9.4/10
Nusa Islands Photography Gear Recs
Motorbike Safety Tips
If you’re not comfortable on a bike, don’t ride one on Nusa Penida! Trust us, it’s not worth it. Hire a driver. If you decide to ride wear a helmet, shoes, and clothes that cover your arms and legs. If you’re riding as a pair on a bike it’s a good idea to have the person on the back jump off on the steeper gravel hills and walk down. Picking up again at the bottom.
Try to use the back brake, not the front brake. If you grab the front brake on a dirt hill you’ll crash for sure. In general, just take more safety precautions while riding here. Road rash is no fun!
Final Thoughts on the Nusa Islands
The Nusa Islands offer everything you could ever want from a tropical destination, big waves, palm trees, long stretches of white sand, spectacular sunsets, volcano views, hammocks to swing in, and tree houses to sleep in. But like the rest of Bali, the Nusa Islands are only going to continue to grow in popularity, so it’s best to go there soon!
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