The Ultimate Jetset Guide to the Nusa Islands – Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan
The Nusa Islands, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida, and Nusa Ceningan, are three small remote islands just off the coast of Bali, and are an amazing destination for any trip to Bali or Bali honeymoon. The Nusas are only about 30 minutes away by ferry from mainland Bali, and offer a dreamy escape of snorkeling, surfing, beaches, hiking, and relaxing. Life on the Nusa Islands is all about disconnecting and enjoying the gorgeous nature that abounds in Indonesia. A trip to the Nusas outside of Bali will introduce you to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world, and is sure to be a highlight of your travels in Indonesia.
Where should you stay – Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida or Nusa Ceningan?
Nusa Lembongan is the most popular – and has the most going on. It’s always where I choose to stay in the Nusa Islands, and where I recommend anyone planning a Bali honeymoon to. Nusa Penida is arguably the most beautiful – but the most raw, and remote. If you want to completely disconnect, this is a natural, gorgeous island to do so. And Nusa Ceningan is the smallest, but is very up and coming. Since there is less going on than Nusa L in terms of restaurants, bars, etc. But, that’s changing by the day! Nusa Penida is definitely getting more popular and there are more options popping up in terms of restaurants and hotels (I have the best recs further down in this guide!) Personally, I like to stay on Nusa P to be closest to all of the gorgeous sights, but I also enjoy staying on Lembongan and visiting the other two for the day!
Where to stay on Nusa Penida
On my most recent trip to Nusa Penida we stayed at this ADORABLE 15-room boutique hotel on Nusa Penida. It is SO cute, and so affordable. Not to mention I loved the food!!!! Super fresh and delicious – wayyyy better than what I was expecting out in the islands. Can’t recommend this place enough if you’re looking for a good place to stay on Penida. Volcano views, chic pool, great spa, floating breakfast, what more can you ask for!?
Where to stay on Nusa Lembongan
Highly recommend the dreamy 353 Degrees North Villa!
353 Degrees North (named for the compass point of the center of the property) has a gorg master bedroom and 2 other king-sized guest suites.
Aside from the sheer beauty of the property, one of my favorite parts of the villa was that it truly felt like our home for the weekend. We had the option to make our own meals in the kitchen, order wine and cocktail necessities through the manager, and even relax with a good DVD (there is a big collection there!) after an exhausting day of climbing around Nusa Penida. We also loved the surround sound Sonos system, which you can bet was blasting Jimmy Buffett all day while we were relaxing in the infinity pool. It was an ideal weekend in an ideal home.
The Best Activities to do in the Nusa Islands
Visit Nusa Penida
Located only a 10 minute boat ride away from Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida is known as “the real Bali”, and feels like you are stepping back 30 years in time. The roads are rough, the town is super sleepy, and the whole island feels raw and unfound. Hire a driver for the day (through your accommodation) and make sure you see these spots:
Broken Beach This was our first stop in Nusa Penida and our minds were immediately blown. It is even more beautiful in person than you could ever imagine.
Angels Billabong Located in the same area as broken beach, you can climb down the rocks to a beautiful natural infinity pool to cool off after hiking around the island all day. It’s surreal and so, so beautiful.
Kelingking Beach Instagram-famous for it’s stunning sweeping views of the rugged coast of Nusa Penida. Not for the weary or anyone afraid of heights! This was a tough trek, but well worth it for the best coastal views in Indonesia.
Crystal Bay Named for its crystal-clear waters, Crystal Bay is a calm diver’s paradise and a pretty beach. A great stop in Nusa Penida. You can get there by land or by boat.
Snorkel with Manta Rays!
This is one of the most incredible snorkeling experiences I have EVER had. Manta Rays are native to Bali and are HUGE!!! You can rent a private boat (through your accomodation) and they’ll take you out to where the mantas hang out, where you will literally swim with them. It’s amazing, and I highly recommend.
Where to eat in Nusa Lembongan
Great for iced coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks, anything! Super fresh, vegan and vegetarian friendly, with a focus on healthy ingredients and yummy food!!!
Blue Corner Beach Cafe
Blue Corner is a gorgeous beach cafe to have a casual dinner and watch the sunset. We loved the Mexican food here! You can also get it to go and bring it back to the villa.
Casual beachy restaurant with great views on Mushroom Bay in Nusa Lembongan for Asian food, pastas & seafood, and good cocktails in a chic space. Great spot for sunset!
For great fresh japanese food and sushi, look no further than Oishii bar and grill!
For coffee / breakfast / juices:
Mushroom espresso coffee cart (Lembongan) chill beachy coffee cart serving up some yummy balinese lattes and coffees!
B’Fresh juice bar (Lembongan) – smoothie bowls near the beach
Where to eat in Nusa Penida
Coco Penida – beachfront bar & restaurant with a great view & scene.
Penida Colada Beach Bar – great spot for drinks or light eats on the beach
Warung J Pudak – for authentic, good Indonesian food in Nusa Penida!
How to Get to the Nusa Islands from Bali
One of the best things about the Nusa Islands is, despite feeling like you are a million miles away from the faster pace of Bali, they are super easy to get to. All you need to do is take a 30 minute taxi ride from Seminyak, or a 20 minute motorbike ride to arrive at Sanur Beach, where you’ll catch the fast 30 minute boat to Nusa Lembongan. Or you can book the ferry ahead of time to pick you up at your accomodation and take you to Sanur, get you on the boat, and get you to your Nusa P accommodation.
Here is the one that I’ve done before and liked (all the ferry companies are very similar)
Check out these other Bali blog posts:
The Ultimate Gili Air Travel Guide