Is Nusa Penida Worth Visiting?

Have you grown bored of travelling to the same old places every year? If you want to switch things up, you should consider including Nusa Penida in your travel itinerary. Next time you venture out of the country, why not visit this small and beautiful island? Nusa Penida is located in Indonesia, not far from Bali. It will definitely quench your thirst for adventure! But, is Nusa Penida worth visiting? Let’s find out!

Unlike its better-known neighbour, Bali, the island is very authentic and almost untouched by tourists. Travellers from foreign countries only started visiting in the past few years. Thus, the island is becoming more friendly, with hotels and guesthouses sprouting everywhere. Nusa Penida is finally introducing activities and sights for visitors. At the same time, there are still not many tourist attractions on the island. Rather, it is a great place to relax and explore. You can travel around the island to learn about the local way of life. Alternatively, you can spend some time by yourself, in the island’s beautiful nature.

Nusa Penida has quite a dark history. The island used to house criminals and political opponents that were deported there. Hence the long-forgotten nickname – “Bandit Island.” There are almost no signs of the island’s criminal past left. On the contrary, it is a peaceful oasis for locals and visitors.

If you’re an adventurous person that loves discovering new places, Nusa Penida might just be the right holiday destination for you. Although it might be quite dangerous for those used to luxury and comfort. Is Nusa Penida worth visiting? Keep reading to find out more about this mystical island.

How do you get to Nusa Penida?

Islands are, by their nature, separated from the mainland. Many of them, especially the smaller ones, don’t even have airports. Some islands might be difficult to get to because of poor infrastructure. Besides, consider the cultural and language barriers you might face.

Nusa Penida sunset

Nusa Penida is no exception, but that’s what makes the island worth visiting! Regardless, there are several ways to get to the island safely and quickly. One of the most common ways of travelling to the island is from Bali. You can fly to Bali, and take a boat (otherwise known as a “jukung”) from Denpasar to Nusa Penida. The boat takes about an hour and a half, and it is not expensive.

Alternatively, you can take a speed boat from Sanur in Denpasar. It is slightly more expensive, but it will get you there faster, in just under an hour.

If you’re travelling by car or scooter/motorbike, you can take a ferry boat from Padangbai in Bali with your vehicle. Then, you can drive to your accommodation. Renting a vehicle will also come in handy if you’re staying far from the beach and the main tourist attractions. 

Can you stay on Nusa Penida?

Even though Nusa Penida offers beautiful beaches and breathtaking sights, it is still relatively undiscovered by tourists. There are not many hotels and facilities that cater to tourists on the island. Accommodation for travellers has only begun to appear in the past couple of years. You won’t have a problem finding a place to stay though! There are some hotels, bungalows, and guesthouses you can rent. Locals have even gotten around to renting their homes out on Airbnb, which can be quite inexpensive.

Pay attention to the location when choosing your accommodation. The south of the island consists mostly of cliffs, with no access to the beach. If you want to spend a lot of time in the water, you should look for a place to stay in the east, west, or north of the island.

Consider how you want to spend your time on the island. If you want to go to the beach every day, you can rent a room or apartment by the beach. You might have to invest a little more in nice accommodation, but it’ll be worth it! On the other hand, if you’d rather explore the island, you can stay in the middle and go on long hikes. Having a car on the island is very convenient, but keep in mind that the roads are not very good and it might take some time to adjust.

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Can you swim at Nusa Penida?

If you’re planning on visiting an island, chances are you want to go for a swim at least a couple of times. Nusa Penida has several beautiful, sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing. Each one is more picturesque than the other, but don’t lose your head! No matter how friendly the water looks, beware of currents and waves that can pull you in.

Crystal Bay Beach

Crystal Bay Beach is the most popular beach on the island. It has crystal clear water, warm sand, and a beautiful view. The water by the shore is quite shallow, which makes it perfect for casual swimming and relaxing. Check out Crystal Bay Beach for a safe swimming experience! The beach also offers snorkelling activities in case you get bored of tanning.

Kelingking Beach

Kelingking Beach is another famous beach that contributed to the popularisation of Nusa Penida. The viewpoint from the top of the cliff above the beach is magnificent and definitely worth a visit! The view from the beach is just as beautiful, but be careful when hiking down. Wear comfortable shoes to avoid slipping and falling. Don’t go too deep in the water, as the waves can be quite strong and the currents can pull you in very fast.

An image depicting Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida

Atuh Beach

Since Nusa Penida is a hidden gem in itself, it also has a variety of hidden beaches. Atuh Beach is very secluded and absolutely gorgeous. Go there to watch the sunset. It’s an amazing place for a romantic date with your partner. Be careful when swimming and don’t get in the water if you’re not confident! The waves can get quite high and the currents can pull you in. If you decided to visit Atuh Beach, you can grab some food and drinks from the local vendors there.

Suwehan Beach

If you’re visiting Atuh Beach already, you can combine it with a nearby beach called Suwehan Beach. There is a staircase that will take you down to this secluded paradise. The beach is located under a cliff, so it’s best to visit it before noon when it’s still sunny. That is especially important if you want to take pictures, as the lighting won’t be as nice when the beach is covered in the shadow of the cliff. Suwehan Beach is not very big, and if the tide is high, it can disappear completely. Watch out for that!

If you don’t have a car, look for an accommodation close to the beach. There are several guesthouses and bungalows located in walking distance from the beach. Some hotels also have pools, in case you don’t like swimming in the ocean. 

This section should answer the question “Is Nusa Penida worth visiting?” Whether or not you like to swim, Nusa Penida beaches are definitely a sight to see. The views are just too spectacular to pass!

What places make Nusa Penida worth visiting?

Warnakali dive centre

Besides going to the beach, of course, there are other experiences waiting for you on the Nusa Penida island. For starters, you can visit the Warnakali dive centre. The facility includes a pool used to prepare divers for open waters. It is beginner-friendly with a shallow part, and a deeper part for the more experienced. If you want to have a safe diving experience, you should definitely visit the Warnakali dive centre. 

The dive centre also has an infinity pool overlooking Lembongan Strait. You don’t have to dive if you don’t want to! Have a drink or a meal with your loved ones while enjoying the sunset in the romantic atmosphere of Warnakali. 

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Guyangan Waterfall

Guyangan Waterfall offers a majestic view and a great place to relax and unwind. Contrary to what the name suggests, you won’t see a big waterfall cascading down the cliff there! Instead, you will find a small natural pool. The pool is completely safe, as it is sculpted into the cliff. You can watch the waves break and the sunset while enjoying the refreshing water. Take the blue stairs down to Guyangan Waterfall and enjoy the view of the cliffs of Nusa Penida.

Seganing Waterfall

Seganing Waterfall is another small waterfall on Nusa Penida. While the actual waterfall is underwhelming, the view makes up for that. The way down is a bit frightening and dangerous, but that’s the beauty of Nusa Penida! The place is not overcrowded with tourists, so it is not always as tourist-friendly as you’d expect. At the bottom, you will find a small natural pool. Take a swim and appreciate the scenery!

Angel’s Billabong

Angel’s Billabong is another natural pool, or pond, on Nusa Penida. You can go for a swim in the water but beware of the waves. During high tide, the pool is filled with water and you can get swept outside of the pool. 

If you’ve grown bored of adventures in the water, visit Goa Giri Putri. It is the most-visited temple on Nusa Penida, and the title is well-deserved. The temple is located inside a giant cave with an absurdly small entrance. Many people come to Goa Giri Putri from Bali to go through the purification course that takes place in the temple. Follow in their footsteps and experience the culture of the island.

Is Nusa Penida safe?

Nusa Penida is a rather small island and it’s surrounded by a big body of water. The island is off the beaten path for most travellers, so it’s not always equipped with the best facilities and infrastructure. There are definitely some safety hazards you need to be aware of when travelling to Nusa Penida.

As a foreigner, you need to be very careful when you go to the beach. The ocean is a scary place and the water can be dangerous. Some beaches, such as Crystal Bay Beach, are friendlier than others. Regardless, always be careful when getting in the water, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.

Nusa Penida waters

Many of the tourist attractions involve swimming or being in the water. That is a danger in itself, even for good swimmers. The closest hospital is quite far from the tourist attractions, so think twice before you decide to participate in one. Don’t be afraid to talk to your guide and ask questions.

Another thing you should pay attention to is the roads. There are many steep hills and potholes, which the local drivers will know how to navigate. You, on the other hand, might not be used to such poor infrastructure. Drive very carefully to avoid any accidents on the road.

Nusa Penida is not a modern supercity with great roads and facilities, but that’s what adds to its charm. The island is very authentic, unlike the more tourist-friendly places you might have visited. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you are open to discovering the local culture, it is so worth it!

So, is Nusa Penida worth visiting?

In short, yes! The island is as beautiful as it is on the pictures, and it is everything you can imagine. If you’re an adventurous person, you will have a lot of fun discovering Nusa Penida. 

One thing you can do to make your trip smooth and safe is to hire a reputable guide. Sure, a good guide will be pricier, but they will guide you in more ways than one! Pay the price to avoid common mistakes and stay safe.

More Indonesian Travel Guides:               

The Best Viewpoints in Bali
Top Things To Do In Gili Islands
Snakes in Bali
Nightlife in Bali


James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers