The Nusa Islands consist of three little islands: Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. While most people visit only Nusa Penida as a day trip from Bali, I highly recommend visiting all the 3 islands. With this perfect Nusa Islands itinerary you can cover all the must see spots in 3 days!
Disclosure: *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*
Why do you need to visit the Nusa Islands?
Local people say that the Nusa Islands are the perfect place to see how Bali was like 20 years ago, before it became a tourist hotspot. And it’s really true: the Nusa Islands have such a raw beauty that you won’t believe your own eyes!
Even if you’ planning to have only a short vacation in Bali it’s still worth to save a few days for visiting the Nusa Islands. In my opinion the perfect amount of time would be at least one week in Bali and at least 3 days for the Nusa Islands.
But don’t worry, even if you don’t have this much time you can still visit the best places on the Nusa Islands! A Nusa Penida daytrip can be the perfect option for you if you only have one day but you still wanna get a feeling about the Nusa Islands.
If you’re planning to visit Bali for the first time you might be interested in my Ultimate Bali Travel Guide as well. It was written specifically for first-timers and it’s loaded with useful information about Bali like where to stay, how to get around and what to do!
Where to stay: Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Ceningan?
Most people choose to stay on Nusa Lembongan however I recommend staying on Nusa Penida. Nusa Penida is the biggest and most developed of the three Nusa Islands and there are so many places to visit there that you’re gonna need the most time for this island.
Therefore I recommend to explore Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan on the first day and catch the last boat to Nusa Penida on the same day. This way you can start your second day early on the morning on Nusa Penida which means more time for sightseeing! I suggest staying on Nusa Penida for two nights and catch the last boat back to Bali on your last day. This way you will have two full days to see Nusa Penida which is amazing!
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NUSA PENIDA
But let’s go back to the original question: where to stay? You can find many types of accommodation on Nusa Penida from budget hostels to luxury villas. They are mostly located on the North-West part of the island and that’s also the area I recommend staying at.
*Please note that the below mentioned rates are calculated for 2 people and they are based on my independent research at the time of writing. Therefore I can not guarantee this rate in any way.*
Toya Pakeh Harbour
All boats arrive and depart from this harbour so it’s a good place to stay close to. You can find many hotel/hostels options to choose from and there are plenty of restaurant in the area too. If you’re traveling with a bigger luggage it’s also a good choice because you can leave your luggage at the hotel on your last day and you can pick it up right before boarding the boat back to Bali.
Perched on the quiet hills of Nusa Penida, this hotel offers sweeping views of the island and the sea beyond. Guests can relax in the infinity pool or sample fine cuisines at the on-site Asian restaurant.
If you prefer to stay close to the beach Crystal Bay is the perfect choice for you. This beautiful white sandy beach with its crystal clear water is definitely a winner for beach lovers!
I know I said that staying on the North-West part of the island is the most practical choice. However if you want to be away from the other tourists and you would like to stay in a more secluded place I recommend staying around Atuh Beach. This part of the island is still not so popular amongst tourists but it looks absolutely breathtaking. There are not so many places to choose from and you will not find any luxury hotels either.
Day 1: Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Ceningan
HOW TO GET TO NUSA LEMBONGAN FROM BALI
In order to get to Nusa Lembongan you have to catch a boat at Sanur harbour. Whenever I’m in Asia I always book my transportation tickets via 12Go Asia. Their website is super easy to use, you just have to type in your origin and your destination and it collects you all the available transportation methods.
For instance you just have to click ‘Find tickets’ in the below widget and you can instantly see all the options for traveling to Nusa Lembongan from Bali! Super convenient, right?
Many different companies offer boats from Bali to the Nusa Islands (only the best of them can be found on 12Go Asia, not all of them). Ticket prices vary between 14-26 USD depending on which company you choose.
Fastboats like Scoot or Rocky are the most popular choice amongst travelers because they are reliable and they only need 30 minutes to reach Nusa Lembongan. The whole journey is around 45-50 minutes together with the time for boarding and leaving the ship.
Since you will have only one day to spend on Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan I strongly recommend to choose the first available boat in the morning.
Tips for taking a boat to the Nusa Islands
Try to be in the harbour at least 30 minutes before your departure time. And be prepared to a very interesting boarding process! There are no docks in Sanur harbour so you need to wade through a knee-high water to board the boat. Therefore it’s better to wear flip flops or sandals that you can easily remove!
Since you’re gonna visit the Nusa Islands only for a few days it’s better to leave your big suitcase in Bali and only pack in a small backpack. Given the boarding conditions you will thank yourself (and me) later! The Bali Luggage Store has an amazing service and they are really close to the harbour as well.
If you insist on taking your suitcases with you don’t worry – it’s still possible. The cabin crew will help you out so you don’t have to drag your suitcases through the water by yourself. However I only recommend this if you’re gonna stay on Nusa Lembongan for the first night and you can drop off your luggage at the hotel first. Otherwise imagine yourself exploring the islands all day long with your suitcases.. Not the best picture, right?
HOW TO GET AROUND NUSA LEMBONGAN & NUSA CENINGAN
Both Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan are quite small so it’s possible to explore them by walking. However due to the limited time and the heat during the day it’s better to find another option.
The easier and most convenient way is to rent a scooter for the full day. This way you can explore both islands in your own pace and enjoy the sights as long as you want. If you’re planning to rent a scooter (and even if you don’t) please don’t forget about travel insurance!
Unfortunately accidents can happen anytime and it’s better to be prepared for that. After many hours of research I decided to chose SafetyWing and I can honestly recommend them! You can use the below form to get a quotation tailor-made to your own travel preferances.
If you’re not comfortable with scooters I don’t recommend to start testing your limits now. There are many small pick-up trucks on Nusa Lembongan and they are functioning as a local taxi. You can barter with the taxi drivers to take you from A to B. But if you’re planning to explore multiple places on the island it’s better to ask them to stay with you for a couple of hours. Finding a taxi is very easy at the ferry port however it’s quite hard to find one at the attractions.
However getting around Nusa Ceningan is pretty hard without a scooter because there are absolutely no cars on the island. And even if you can see one or two they are not functioning as a taxi. Basically if you don’t have a scooter your only option is walking. It’s only a 30 minutes walk from the Yellow Bridge to the Blue Lagoon so if you can bear the heat and manage your time it’s still doable.
BEST THINGS TO DO ON NUSA LEMBONGAN & NUSA CENINGAN
1. Jungut Batu Beach
Most of the boats arrive to Jungut Batu Beach and if you’re already there it’s worth to check out the area. Jungut Batu Beach is the longest beach on Nusa Lembongan and there are also many restaurants in the area.
You will find many taxi drivers there as well so if you don’t want to rent a scooter this is the place where you have to barter with them. It’s a nice beach although I won’t recommend staying there long as there are many more places on your Nusa Islands itinerary to cover!
2. Mushroom Bay Beach
The other ferry port on Nusa Lembongan is located at Mushroom Bay Beach. Although most boats will arrive at Jungut Batu Beach there is still a slight chance you will end up at Mushroom Bay.
You can also find many restaurants around and it’s a really nice beach although if your boat doesn’t arrive here I would suggest skipping it. And vica versa: if you arrive to Mushroom Bay don’t go for Jungut Batu Beach as they are really similar.
3. Devil's Tear
The Devil’s Tear is located in the south-west corner of the island. Basically it’s a rocky coastline where you can watch the waves crush into the rocks. There is a small cave under the coastline and when the waves crush into the hole it blows them back with such a force the water turns into mist. Hence the name – the mist looks like the tear of the devil.
The other part of the coastline looks amazing as well because when the waves crush into the coast they create a massive water spray explosion with thousands mini waterfalls pouring back to the ocean. This place is definitely a must have on every Nusa Islands itinerary!
It’s a really popular place amongst tourists so it can get pretty crowded. Try to arrive here in the morning as early as you can to avoid the crowd!
The waves are really powerful and you can never know how intense the next one will be. Therefore staying close to the edge is really dangerous! Please try to be safe and stay behind safely on the coast.
If you walk a few metres away from the blowhole you will find another cool place with many natural tide pools. I know they look inviting but getting in the water is a big no no! As I mentioned the waves are really powerful and they can flood the pools any minute.
4. Dream beach
Dream beach is just a few minutes walk from the Devil’s Tear. It’s the most popular beach on Nusa Lembongan and it’s the perfect spot to chill and have a dip in the ocean.
If you don’t want to spend hours on the beach it’s better to ask your taxi driver to wait for you until you’re done with your sightseeing. Although the parking lot will be full with cars, those are all from organized tours, hence they already have passengers. Practically there is no free taxi waiting around the beach, so we had a really hard time finding another ride. So as I mentioned before it’s better to ask your taxi driver to assist you for a few hours or you may have to walk from this point!
5. Yellow bridge
The Yellow Bridge connects Nusa Lembongan with Nusa Ceningan, it is the only connection between the two islands. As you can see in the below photo it’s pretty narrow, so it is only suitable for scooters or pedestrians.
As I mentioned already there are no cars on Nusa Ceningan so you have to say goodbye to your taxi driver if you had one. If you have a scooter you can take it with you to Nusa Ceningan but otherwise you will have to walk from this point.
6. My Beach Ceningan
Once you cross the Yellow Bridge you have to continue walking to the southern side of the island (towards the Blue Lagoon). Walking can be though during the heat but luckily there are many amazing stops along the road!
My Beach is a great spot to have a cold drink and a rest a bit. You will find some amazing beach swings as well so it’s a really fun place!
7. Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is located in the most southern part of Nusa Ceningan. This spot is famous for its crystal clear turquise water and the amazing rock formations along the coastline. It takes around 30 minutes to get there from the yellow bridge by foot so you need to manage your time wisely if you want to catch the last boat to Nusa Penida.
NUSA LEMBONGAN & NUSA CENINGAN - MAP
Day 2-3: Nusa Penida
HOW TO GET TO NUSA PENIDA FROM NUSA LEMBONGAN/NUSA CENINGAN
As I mentioned in the beginning of my post I recommend to take a boat to Nusa Penida on the end of Day 1. The simple reason for that is Nusa Penida is the biggest and most interesting island and this way you can maximize your time there. I recommend staying on Nusa Penida for 2 nights and this way you can have 2 full days for exploring!
So after you are done with the sightseeing on Nusa Ceningan head back to the yellow bridge and cross over to Nusa Lembongan again. You can find some local boats around the bridge that will take you to Nusa Penida for your overnight stay.
There is an official ticket desk where you can purchase your tickets. The ticket price is 60,000 Rp (4.2 USD) for one way per person. The boat doesn’t have a fixed timetable, it will depart once it’s full with passengers (although it happens quickly).
However it’s best to ask around in advance when the last boat leaves to Nusa Penida. It’s usually around 30 minutes before the sunset but ask the ticket officer just to be sure! It takes around 15 minutes to reach Nusa Penida and you will arrive at Toya Pakeh Harbour.
HOW TO GET AROUND NUSA PENIDA
Nusa Penida is a pretty big island with many amazing viewpoints, so you will need at least 2 full days to explore everything. I recommend breaking down your itinerary for 2 days and visiting the southern side of Nusa Penida in one day, and the northern side in another day.
You need to rent a scooter or hire a private driver to take you around the island. The roads are in a really bad condition, they have many potholes and they are so bumpy that you can easily feel sick while driving. Therefore don’t believe what Google maps says about the driving times, it’s a lot more in reality! Furthermore, there is no coastal route, so you always have to venture back to the inland and go back out again.
As I mentioned before, we didn’t have any experience with scooter riding so we chose the most safest option and hired a private driver. It was a really good decision, especially after seeing the condition of the roads.
BEST THINGS TO DO ON NUSA PENIDA SOUTH (DAY 2)
1. Peguyangan Waterfall
Let’s start your day by driving to the Peguyangan Waterfall – it takes around one hour to reach it from the Toya Pakeh Harbour. Peguyangan Waterfall is located at the bottom of some huge cliffs and in order to reach it you need to climb down almost 700 stairs on the hillside. In the morning the temperature is still bearable so that’s why I recommend going there first!
The iconic blue stairway is really narrow and steep, so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. Oh, and don’t expect any waterfalls down there – the name is only symbolical. However it was still one of my favorite location in Nusa Penida, the view is so incredible!
2. Banah Cliff Point
Banah Cliff is an epic viewpoint along the coastline. Actually there are two different lookout points: the Panorama Viewpoint and the Banah Cliff Viewpoint. Both of them offer an incredible view of the surrounding cliffs and the shimmering blue ocean!
3. Kelingking Beach
The view from the top is breathtaking although you can decide to hike down to the beach as well. If you wish to do that be prepared for a really hard hike! It takes about an hour to get down and the walk is very steep. Don’t even think about hiking down in flipflops or sandals!
4. Angel's Billabong (or Devil's Billabong recently)
Angel’s Billabong is an incredibly clear tide pool where you can also have a dip in the water. But you have to be very careful and only do it at your own risk! Always watch out for the signs and only get in the pool when the tide is really low. Don’t stay close to the edge, as the high waves can easily swipe you out to the open ocean. Don’t believe me? Check out these videos (especially the second one) and see it for yourself!
5. Broken Beach
Broken Beach is right next to Angel’s Billabong, you have to walk just a few minutes to reach it. There is an amazing archway that creates a natural pool by allowing the water to flow in and out from the ocean. You are not allowed to swim there, in fact you can’t even go down to the beach but you can walk around the natural pool.
6. Crystal Bay
If you still have some time left, make a little detour to Crystal Bay on your way back to Toya Pakeh harbour. It’s an amazing place to see the sunset and relax in the end of the day!
NUSA PENIDA SOUTH - MAP
BEST THINGS TO DO ON NUSA PENIDA NORTH (DAY 3)
7. Goa Giri Putri
Goa Giri Putri is a cave temple located on the northern coast of Nusa Penida. Since it’s a religious place, you always have to wear a sarong (you can also rent it, if you don’t have your own).
The entrance is only through a small crack in the rock and you have to crawl through it to reach the cave. Inside you will find a huge temple courtyard and that is always filled with locals praying and participating on ceremonies.
8. Thousand Islands Viewpoint (Pulau Seribu)
The Thousand Islands Viewpoint offers the most breathtaking view on the island. There are several viewpoints in the area, you have to climb down the steep stairway to reach them. There are no words that describe how beautiful the view is. I had to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming!
9. Rumah Pohon Treehouse
The Rumah Pohon Treehouse is also a part of the Thousand Islands Viewpoint. This spot was my ultimate favourite viewpoint on our Nusa Islands itinerary! You can actually rent it for an overnight stay as well – check this link for availability!
10. Atuh Beach
Atuh Beach is really close to the Thousand Island Viewpoint so it’s the perfect place if you want to include some beach time in your Nusa Islands itinerary. It can be accessed from the right and the left side as well, but in both cases you have to climb down on a long stairway.
11. Diamond Beach
If you park on the right side of Atuh Beach then you will have access to Diamond Beach as well. Like in Atuh Beach, you also have to hike down on a long stairway to reach Diamond beach. Both beaches are amazing so it’s really up to you which one you choose!
NUSA PENIDA NORTH - MAP
Visiting the Nusa Islands totally felt like being in a secluded paradise. The raw beauty of these three little islands will definitely leave your speechless! I really hope with this Nusa Islands itinerary I could convince you to leave Bali for a few days and give a chance to the Nusa Islands as well! I’m sure you will love them!
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Have you already been to the Nusa Islands or are they on your travel bucket list? Let me know in the comments!