When scuba diving Nusa Penida, you can encounter manta rays year round. Located to the southeast of Bali, Nusa Penida is an island that boasts a multitude of gorgeous dive sites. Although the water tends to be cold and rough at times, it is the place to be in Bali to dive with big Pelagics.

Nusa Penida is one of 3 small Islands found approx 20 KM from the Bali mainland The other Islands are Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan, which are connected with a huge suspension bridge. Ferries do leave from and to Nusa Penida from these islands but are often overcrowded. The safest way to commute between the Islands is with a (private) charter boat.

Urock off the coast of Nusa Penida, Bali Indonesia. Photo Credit: gcnmrk5ii

Diving in the waters off Nusa Penida can be challenging, even for advanced divers. Most of the dive sites are drift dives, and the currents in the area are unpredictable at times. Therefore, use caution and follow your dive guide’s instructions closely to stay safe and have fun during your trip.

How to Get to Nusa Penida in Bali?

Many divers will visit and dive Nusa Penida as part of an organized Bali dive safari. A proper dive safari also includes dives and accommodation in Padang Bai from where a daily public ferry leaves for Nusa Penida.

Most dive safaris will include a few nights on the Island which gives you the opportunity to experience the unique culture and traditions of this small island that are different than on the mainland.

Also read: Scuba Diving Padang Bai and Candidasa in Bali

If you are traveling on your on your own, the “easiest” way to get to Nusa Penida is from Sanur. From here you can get on a public boat called a Jukung which will take you to Nusa Penida in 1,5 hrs. You can also get there in 50 minutes if you decide to take a speedboat that leaves from Sanur too.

Other options to get to Nusa Penida:

Take a cruise on a high-speed catamaran from Benoa Harbour to Nusa Penida, or you can leave on a public boat or a charter boat from Nusa Lembongan.

When is the best time of year to Dive Nusa Penida?

The best times to visit is when the seas are calm from November-May. You can visit Nusa Penida’s many dive sites throughout the year, though, but currents may be affected by the monsoon season. And, if you’re out to spot some Mola Mola, the best time to visit would be between July and mid-November.

What to See when diving Nusa Penida?

Manta rays are one of the best reasons to get into the waters off Nusa Penida. With more than 20 different dive sites surrounding the island, all offering divers the opportunity to see beautiful marine life, including:

  • Mola Mola (July through to the middle of November)
  • Manta Rays (year round)
  • Silver-tip sharks
  • Grey reef sharks
  • Colorful coral reefs
  • Turtles, and a vast array of tropical reef fish.

Also read: When is The Best Time to Dive with the Elusive Mola Mola in Bali?

3 famous dive sites found at Nusa Penida

Scuba dive sites around Nusa Penida Bali

Nusa Lembongan:

Here you have the opportunity of encountering the Mola Mola, as well as beautiful manta rays. Head out to this dive site only if you are an advanced diver with plenty of experience, as the currents here can be difficult to navigate and dangerous.

A variety of other large fish species frequent the area, and you are sure to be able to see them all clearly thanks to the great visibility of this dive site.

Crystal Bay:

Head over to Crystal Bay between July and mid-November if you want to have the chance to spot the elusive ocean sunfish. Don’t forget to take your underwater camera to capture the moment.

Expect to see:

  • Different hard and soft corals
  • Anemones
  • Frogfish
  • Angelfish
  • Sweetlips
  • Sea snakes
  • Eagle rays

You may even be able to see one of the Leopard sharks that sometimes pass through.

When you are up for it, you can explore a bat cave, where bats sleep, and white tip reef sharks sometimes hang out. This site, however, can be difficult because of its currents and surge.

The elusive Mola Mola at Nusa Penida, Bali. Photo Credit: Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten

Manta Point:

Manta rays are almost guaranteed here! But prepare yourself for a low visibility dive because of the plankton and nutrients in the water that attract the Manta rays. Diving Manta Point is best reserved for advanced divers, thanks to its strong currents and depths.

Key takeaways:

  • Nusa Penida is one of three islands lying twenty kilometers from shore in the southeast of Bali.
  • The easiest and most comfortable way to visit Nusa Penida is on a Bali Dive Safari.
  • From Sanur (Bali mainland), you can take a speed boat or a local charter to the island.
  • Manta rays can be seen year round in the water surrounding Nusa Penida. Expect to dive in colder, rough water, with low visibility due to the amount of plankton in the water
  • Mola Mola’s are frequently seen during the season between between July and mid-November.

Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners in Bali who offer dive trips + accommodation to Nusa Penida in Bali.

This article is published by The Scuba Page, the online magazine for Scuba Dive lovers around the world. The Scuba Page is part of RUSHKULT: the online booking platform for adventure sports. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip and accommodation.

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