Crystal Bay is undoubtedly one of the most popular and easily accessible spots for snorkeling enthusiasts. It boasts beautiful corals, sandy seabeds, and excellent visibility.
Crystal Bay is the perfect place for snorkeling, as all its natural wonders are right at the shore. The crystal-clear waters and the variety of marine life make it attractive for mask and snorkel lovers.
It's also a popular diving site among scuba divers, especially during the season from June to October when there's a high chance of encountering the sunfish (Mola-Mola).
Macro photographers, get your gear ready! You can spot triggerfish, mantis shrimp, and a wide variety of nudibranchs here. Don't forget about octopuses and turtles; both are frequent visitors.
For freedivers, it's strongly recommended to be cautious and stay within the bay as the currents in Crystal Bay can be quite tricky, especially around the small island in the center.
Encounters with Mantas!
To swim with mantas, the vast majority of the island's visitors head here.
Manta Bay is located on the west side of Nusa Penida, and to get from Toyapakeh or Crystal Bay to Manta Bay, you'll need to take a boat. The journey takes about half an hour or 10 minutes, respectively.
The chance to encounter mantas here is very high, although it's not a zoo, and no one can guarantee it. Manta Bay is a kind of dining area where mantas swim at a shallow depth with their mouths wide open, filtering plankton.
During the season, the bay can get quite crowded. Don't expect to swim alone; there will be dozens of boats and people around.
When swimming with mantas, avoid touching the animals. Keep a distance of at least 3 meters from them.
Please always follow safety guidelines and rules for swimming with mantas.
If you are prone to seasickness, take motion sickness tablets before the trip, as the waves in this part of the island can often be quite large.
Here, there's a better chance to encounter mantas, and the journey to Manta Point along the sheer cliffs of Nusa Penida is a memorable adventure in itself.
Watching mantas gracefully gliding through the water around the "cleaning stations" is a rare pleasure.
Do not approach the animals too closely; wait for the mantas to come to you.
Getting here will take about an hour, but the trip along the dramatic coastline is an interesting experience in its own right.
You can often encounter the younger siblings of mantas here, such as various species of rays. Divers frequently come across octopuses, reef, and nurse sharks. In the season, you might even spot the Mola-Mola fish.
One of the best places for drift diving
This is one of several locations located right in the middle of the north coast of Penida, with healthy and beautiful coral reefs, giant sponges, and an incredible variety of fish. Observing this bustling underwater life while floating effortlessly in the water, holding your breath as the underwater current carries you by, is an unforgettable experience.
If the current is strong, you can explore several neighboring sites in one session.
The reef begins right from the shallows, which were previously used for seaweed cultivation. Then the seabed drops sharply, forming a wall with diverse corals teeming with marine life at depths of 15-20 meters.
You can encounter triggerfish, turtles, and reef sharks.
At greater depths, you may encounter large pelagic fish, eagle rays, marble rays, and even the Mola-Mola fish.
We dive to see bats. Yes, yes, exactly: real bats.
Getting to the cave will require a boat ride since it's located beyond the bay, and there can be very strong currents and waves in this area.
To enter the cave, you'll need to dive down to a depth of about 10 meters and swim about 20 meters in length to find yourself inside the cave.
The cave is a fairly spacious cavern with beautiful light streaming in through a large opening in the ceiling, which photographers will greatly appreciate. Inside the cave, hundreds of bats reside.
Gamat Bay is easily accessible both from the shore and by boat. It's a quiet, calm bay with shallow waters and beautiful coral reefs that both divers and snorkelers will appreciate.
Located in the channel between Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan, Gamat Bay is particularly famous among divers for its impressive reef wall at the bay's exit, which has attracted numerous marine species.
From time to time, you can encounter turtles and reef sharks here, and the wall itself is predominantly formed by various coral species.
It's an excellent spot for underwater photography, and the shallower part of the bay is perfect for snorkeling.
Drift diving in a gentle current amidst coral columns.
The Toypakeh Wall is located in a deep channel between Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan. The local coral columns are known for their monumental appearance and consist of both hard and soft corals.
If you're looking to encounter schools of colorful coral fish, this is the place to be. You can occasionally spot sharks and turtles here. And if luck is on your side, you might even encounter the Mola Mola fish.
Sekolah Dasar - SD
Definitely one of the most popular drift diving spots on Penida. The current speed can vary from slow and leisurely to quite swift on different days.
Turtles, pufferfish, tiny shrimps, and a variety of mollusks in the midst of coral gardens – all of these can be found at SD.
Another great dive site with beautiful corals and comfortable drifting.
The marine life and diving conditions at SD Point are similar to other sites on the northern coast: SD, Sental, Buyuk.
The coral plateau here stands out with its striking beauty. Rays are frequent visitors at SD Point, as well as turtles.
Suitable for divers of all levels, as the seabed terrain allows exploration at different depths.
Currents in Buyuk are usually quite gentle, making for a pleasant and safe drift.
There is a wide variety of hard and soft corals here at depths ranging from 5 to 20 meters. Schools of various reef fish are constantly swimming around, and you can also encounter turtles and eagle rays.
Author of the article: Kirill Popov - founder of the freediving school in Nusa Penida Freediva Nusa.