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Is Nusa Penida Still Worth Visiting in 2024? Here’s My Take

Is Nusa Penida Still Worth Visiting in 2024? Here’s My Take

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

One question I get asked a lot from travelers going to Bali: is Nusa Penida worth it?

In my opinion, Nusa Penida is certainly worth visiting, especially if you love raw nature and adventure. In fact, I prefer Nusa Penida to visiting Bali! However, the truth is that the island may not be for everyone, especially if you prefer beach bars to viewpoints.

In this quick review, I’ll hope to leave you with a better understanding of whether you should visit the island on your trip, with personal insights and recommendations for every type of travel.

Why Visit Nusa Penida?

With its stunning views and crystal-clear waters, Nusa Penida has become one of the most Instagrammable places in the world. With that comes great positives, like amazing viewpoints, crystal-clear water beaches, and epic snorkeling locations.

Here are some reasons why I would recommend travelers to make the trip.

Olly gaspar on nusa penida island, indonesia

1. Breathtaking Scenery

Nusa Penida is renowned for its dramatic coastal cliffs, pristine beaches, and unique rock formations. The iconic Kelingking Beach, with its T-Rex-shaped cliff, is one of the most photographed views in Indonesia and one of my personal favorites.

The island's rugged terrain and untouched beauty provide a stark contrast to the more developed areas of Bali, and I believe it is far more beautiful.

Cropped-kelingking-beach-nusa-penida-1-6. Jpg
This old wooden rail and dirt track has been replaced with concrete

2. Adventure Opportunities

If you read this blog regularly, you know that it's all about the adventure. And, Nusa Penida offers just that. You'll find awesome hikes to secluded beaches, hidden caves, and diving or snorkeling opportunities over vibrant coral reefs.

The island's challenging terrain was once much harder to explore. However, recent road developments have made getting around much easier.

Motorbike to crystal bay nusa penida

3. Rich Marine Life

The waters surrounding Nusa Penida are home to diverse marine life, including manta rays, sea turtles, and colorful coral reefs.

Popular dive sites like Manta Point and Crystal Bay attract divers from around the world, offering a chance to witness these majestic creatures up close. However, these are often cancelled due to bad weather and big seas.

Cyrstal bay nusa penida

5. Tranquility and Escape

I've visited Bali many times, and most of those occassions were to get to Lombok, the Gili Islands, or Nusa Penida.

Truthfully, I don't like what's happened to Bali. Overtourism and development has really changed the island in recent years.

The good news is that despite its growing popularity, parts of Nusa Penida remain relatively untouched and less crowded than mainland Bali. For those seeking a peaceful retreat, the island's remote beaches and quiet villages provide a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots and the constant drumming club music and drunk tourists.

Diamond beach on nusa penida, indonesia

6. Accessibility

While it feels like a remote island in the middle of Indonesia. Nusa Penida is easily accessible from Bali, with regular speed boats departing from Sanur and other coastal towns. The short boat ride, typically around 45 minutes, makes it a convenient day trip or multi-day trip for travelers looking to explore beyond Bali's main attractions.

Diamond beach drone

The Reality of Tourism on Nusa Penida

From my perspective, when I first visited the island in 2018, it was very raw and untouched. Adventure was around every corner, spots like Diamond Beach had just opened up, and there were no tourists around places like Peguyangan Waterfall.

It felt like a hidden gem, a place where you could truly escape and immerse yourself in nature's beauty.

The thing is, getting to Nusa Penida used to be more difficult. Boats would often flip in the Lombok Strait (though this still happens occasionally, it's much rarer now). Nowadays, there are so many ferries, day trips, and convenient ways to get to the island. This increased accessibility is great in many ways, but it also means that Bali's tourist floodgates have opened, and many travelers are spilling over into Nusa Penida.

This influx of tourists isn't necessarily a bad thing. It has brought more attention and infrastructure to the island, making it easier for travelers to explore and enjoy. However, it also means that tourism is growing very quickly. For example, at Kelingking Beach, if you don't arrive at sunrise, you'll likely be waiting in line for a photo of the T-Rex viewpoint. The once serene and secluded spots are now bustling with visitors, and the untouched charm of Nusa Penida is slowly fading.

Kelingking beach cave, nusa penida, bali

Who is Nusa Penida Not For?

While Nusa Penida is a stunning destination that offers a lot to travelers, it might not be the ideal spot for everyone. Here are a few reasons why Nusa Penida might not be the best choice for some travelers:

  1. Luxury travelers: If your idea of a perfect vacation includes luxurious resorts, fine dining, and pampering spa treatments, stay in Bali. Nusa Penida is still relatively undeveloped compared to Bali, with limited high-end accommodations and amenities.
  2. Inexperienced Drivers: The roads on Nusa Penida are notoriously challenging, with steep inclines, sharp turns, and uneven surfaces. Yeah, the roads are much better these days but if you're not confident in your driving skills, especially on a motorcycle, navigating the island can be daunting and potentially dangerous.
  3. Travelers Who Dislike Crowds: Popular spots like Kelingking Beach, Broken Beach, and Angel’s Billabong can get extremely crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. If you prefer solitude and quiet, head to Lombok.
  4. Those Sensitive to Bumpy Rides: The journey to and around Nusa Penida can be rough. Boat rides can be choppy, and the island’s roads are often bumpy and unpaved. If you get seasick or easily motion-sick, this could impact your enjoyment of the trip.
  5. Party Travelers: If you'd prefer to drink cocktails at a beach bar than chasing views and getting up early for sunrise, then stay in Bali or go to Gili Trawangan. Yeah, there are a few bars around but overall the island is more about natural beauty and tranquility than parties.
Peguyangan infinity pool, nusa penida

Verdict: Is Nusa Penida Still Worth It?

Absolutely, Nusa Penida is worth visiting for its breathtaking scenery, adventure opportunities, and tranquility (in some locations). I'll be going back yet again for sure.

While the increase in tourism has made it busier and more accessible, the island still offers a unique and raw experience compared to Bali. If you love nature, adventure, and don't mind a few crowds, Nusa Penida is a must-see. However, for those seeking luxury, nightlife, or solitude, you might want to consider other destinations.

Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.