The Nusa Islands are an archipelago of three small islands located right under Bali. These islands are less known than other island groups, such as the Gili islands, but each year the Nusa islands are becoming more touristic. These islands offer beautiful beaches, a relaxed vibe, beautiful bays (where you can swim with manta rays), big waves perfect for surfing, hiking and many more!
How to Get to the Nusa Islands?
You can take a local speed boat in the port of Sanur (Bali) and you will be within 30 minutes in Jungkut Batu, Nusa Lembongan. This short boat trip was with a decent speedboat with lifejackets. This trip cost 250 000 IDR (about 16 euro) for a single ride, including pick up from the hotel and drop off at your hotel on Nusa. We booked our boat trip in a small local shop in the centre of Ubud. There are many shops that offer boat trips to Nusa Lembongan, so try to negotiate about the price!
On the internet, you will only find the biggest online companies such as Scoot Fast Cruises and Rocky Fast Cruises. These prices start from 300 000 IDR to 500 000 IDR, what we think is pretty expensive. So we chose for a smaller company .
The boats going to the Nusa islands often depart from Senggigi (Lombok) to Junket Bali. The larger companies often go first along Bali and the Gili islands, which is quite a ‘detour’. The price is similar to a boat trip from Bali to Nusa Lembongan (250 000 IDR (about 16 euro)).
As you read, you must always take a boat to reach these islands. The islands are so small (Nusa Lembongan is 8 km2 and Nusa Penida is 203 km2) so there is no airport.
What are the Highlights of the Nusa Islands?
Nusa Lembongan has several mangroves in the northern part of the island. It was fun to discover these, but nothing super special. It was also quite expensive, we had to pay 5 euros per person for a 5 minutes boat trip. These people have to push the boat manually with a long river stick, so there is some physical work involved. These small boats are from locals, who often don’t speak English so there was not much explanation about the mangroves . You can also choose to do this by yourself with a kayak, the prices to rent a kayak vary from 3 to 6 euros.
2. Devil’s Tear
Perhaps, the most famous activity of Nusa Lembongan is the impressive ‘Devil’s Tear’. We certainly think this is a must see! Especially during sunset and with a rough sea, which makes the picture complete. The Devil’s tear is a natural plateau formed into the rocks, which creates incredible big waves!
This activity is completely free and you can easily visit it by yourself.
3. Dream Beach
Dream beach is located next to the Devil’s tear. This white beach is 150 m long and perfect to relax. We have been here in the late afternoon, so it was not that crowded. I can imagine that it can become quite busy here, especially during high season! It’s one open space, so it’s best to bring a hat or parasol with you.
Other well-known and beautiful beaches on Nusa Lembongan are Sandy beach and Mushroom beach .
We think this tiny little island, between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, is the perfect chill spot. The west side of the island has several cool bars with an incredible view on Nusa Lembongan, the beach and the seaweed farms. Unfortunately, these farms are getting lost due to the upcoming tourism .
TIP: If you’re looking for these ‘cool bars’, you must cross the ‘Yellow Bridge’ and at the first street turn right! Our favorite bar in Nusa Ceningan was the Sea Breeze bar!
1. Yellow Brigde
Nusa Ceningan is very easy to reach via the famous ‘Yellow Bridge/Suspension bridge‘. This bridge was recently built, since the previous one collapsed. Here you can only drive on with the scooter or motorcycle, cars can’t go through. Also, there are officially no cars on the island. The only four-wheelers you will see, are the ‘cars’ to take tourists to their hotel or place of interest.
2. Blue Lagoon
Nusa Ceningan is known by many people for its ‘Blue Lagoon‘. This heart-shaped lagoon has the most beautiful clear water you can imagine, which is really beautiful in contrast with the rough cliffs. There is also a Cliff Jumping place, where you can jump from 4m, 6m, 8m and 13m. Of course this place is accessible for everyone and completely free. I would definitely recommended this for people with a drone! The view from above was pretty amazing .
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The largest island of the 3, but the least developed. There are only a few accommodations on this island, so I would recommend staying at Nusa Lembongan and doing a day trip to Nusa Penida. You can take a boat on Nusa Lembongan, next to the Yellow Bridge, to Nusa Penida for only 3 euros (50 000 IDR) if you leave before 8 am. The price is slightly more expensive if you leave after 8 o’clock, than you have to pay around 5 euro (75,000 IDR). The boat trip to Nusa Ceningan takes only 10 minutes.
In the port of Penida, you can rent a scooter to discover the island by yourself. Renting a scooter for one day costs 70 000 IDR (4.5 euros) and is the cheapest, but most dangerous option. The roads are in a very bad condition, especially those that lead to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong! A second option is renting a scooter with a driver, the locals know the roads much better than we do. A third option is to rent a car, this is the most expensive but safest option.
1. Angel’s Billabong
Angel’s Billabong is a natural infinity pool that has been formed over the years. You can go down to the natural pool but pay attention, because at high tide the waves can be very dangerous! The highlights of Nusa Penida are becoming increasingly popular. For example, asphalted roads are being constructed to the main touristic sights. They are trying to make to touristic sights better accessible.
2. Broken Beach
Broken Beach is next to Angel’s Billabong and is easily accessible on walking distance. Due to the erosion, this cave has completely collapsed, so a huge hole has been formed.
3. Kelingking Beach
Our main highlight of Nusa Penida is definitly Kelingking Beach! This was the most adventurous highlight of our trip. There are a few small shops/restaurants at the starting point, where you can eat or drink something before you go down to the beach. It is certainly advisable to bring enough water and some protection against the sun. The descent takes about 30 minutes, without any shadow. The perfect moment to do this trip, is in the morning or in the evening. Most travelers come by boat from Nusa Lembongan and have to take into account the hours of the boat to return to the island. Since the last boat leaves at 5 pm from Nusa Penida to Nusa Lembongan, I would recommend to go to Kelingking beach in the morning.
The Kelingking beach is very beautiful and usually very quiet. It is located between huge green cliffs with a turbulent sea, resulting in huge waves. You can go into the water, but do not go too far and be careful! The sea can be very powerful and several people have already been injured during their little swim in the sea.
Many people only take a photograph from above and do not go down to the Kelingking beach itself, which is really unfortunate. The descent is difficult, but really worth it!
4. Crystal Bay en Mangrove Point
Every tourist dreams about snorkeling with manta rays! There are 2 Manta Points, located between Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida. Usually this trip is organized from Nusa Lembongan, as this is the most developed island. There are many local shops/travel agencies that offer a snorkeling trip to these Manta Points.
We did this trip with a traditional boat from a local man, together with another couple. You can also choose to do this in a slightly larger boat or speedboat. The best time of the day to do a snorkeling trip is in the morning (around 9 am), because the sea is still quiet and the chance is bigger to see the manta rays.
Usually Manta Point is combined with a boat trip to Crystal Bay and Mangrove Point. This boat trip, with it’s 3 destinations takes about 3 hours, and can be perfectly scheduled in the morning. We paid 16 euros per person (250 000 IDR) for a private traditional boat for 4 people. If you take a speed boat, the price is obviously higher. However, I would recommend taking a speedboat, this goes faster so you can search longer for manta rays.
Note: You do not always see the manta’s as well, it depends on the visibility, season, the manta’s population and of course good luck!
Climate and Weather
The Nusa islands are pretty close to Bali, but have a totally different vibe. Because these islands are fairly close to the equator, it can get very hot. The temperatures are on average between 24°C and 32°C, but in our opinion it felt more as 35°C – 40°C. The months June until September have the lowest temperatures, with an average temperature around 26°C. We didn’t know it would be that hot on the Nusa islands, so between 12am and 3pm we didn’t do heavy physical activities. Also it is best to take this into account in your planning.
Short Tips & tricks
- The best way to get around the island is to rent a scooter, it costs 70 IDR per day
- You do not need an international driving license and wearing a helmet is not obligated
- The main roads on the islands are asphalted, but the side roads and other roads are often sandy roads (which can be dangerous)
- There are no taxis on the Nusa islands
- Nusa Lembongan is the most developed island, which the most touroperators and accommodation
- Where you stay on Nusa Lembongan is not that important, because the island is very small and everything is easily accessible
- Nusa Ceningan has super nice and hip bars
- Nusa Penida has the most impressive sights like Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong
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