Nusa Penida is one of three islands that make up the province of Bali. It lies southeast of the main island, and hugs the smallest of the islands, Nusa Lembongan. Divers and snorkelers often simply group Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida together as one awesome destination for their underwater adventures.
Likewise, in our list of recommended snorkeling destinations, we’re not strictly limited to the middle child of the three islands.
The three most common harbours from which to catch a ferry to Nusa Penida, are Sanur, Padang Bai, and Benoa. If you happen to stay anywhere near Denpasar City, you should look for ferries at Sanur.
If you stay in Gianyar, then Padang Bai is your closest harbour. Benoa Harbour lies in the southeast of the main island, and is reachable from Kuta, Jimbaran, and the south peninsula. A speed boat ride should take no longer than an hour.
It is normal that waves in the deepest parts are taller and harder to sail through. If you have motion sickness, please be prepared for the ride.
The mangrove is an interesting type of tree whose roots tolerate saltwater and sandy soil. It’s a wonder how mangrove trees can survive environments that are intolerable to most trees.
It’s also a huge advantage to underwater ecosystems, from providing shelter to small fish, to creating wave breaks and barriers to calm the local shallow waters and making it possible for fish to breed, feed, and grow safely.
Expect to find soft corals and crawlers like starfish and sea slugs living in these calm, pristine waters. Mangrove Point is located in Nusa Lembongan.
This bay is located in Nusa Penida. The locals refer to it as Pantai Penida, but they would agree with its nickname – Crystal Bay – due to its crystal clear water that has incredible visibility.
You can even see the coral reefs and schools of fish from the boat. So imagine what it must be like if you are actually underwater. Crystal Bay is dubbed to be one of the most beginner-friendly snorkeling and dive site in the world.
Underwater Buddha Temple
Anyone who has ever snorkeled must have tried freediving. When the sea bed begins to fall under you as you venture into deeper water, people can’t help but challenge themselves to dive closer to the unexplored corals underneath them in one breath.
The Underwater Buddha Temple provides ample challenge for freedivers. These are statues placed quite recently to encourage coral growth. (Yes, these aren’t ancient Indonesian-Atlantian ruins to fuel social media controversy).
But regardless, the rewarding feeling of freediving and seeing these statues in greater detail is exhilarating. They can be found in Nusa Lembongan.
Experienced snorkelers can reward themselves by visiting the manta rays in deeper water at Manta Point in Nusa Penida. When the weather permits, the feeding ground for manta rays are open for visit. You may notice very strong currents around this area, which poses a challenge for absolute beginners or children.
However, this massive stream that is a part of a current belt that runs along the island chain between Bali and Timor is crucial for the manta rays. The stream is a nutritious source of phytoplanktons, small fish and krills. The manta rays thrive in this feeding station, which allows them to grow up to 7 meters long and weigh up to 3 tons.