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Bali, Indonesia

Nusa Penida Diving

The capricious waters off the coast of Nusa Penida are full of contradiction. Although the tropical breeze above the water is warming, Penida's up-welling streams can chill you to 16 °C. The crystal clear waters of the surface are peaceful and yet the drifts below are thrilling. And just as the grace of the manta rays are delightful, the otherworldliness of the mola-mola are mesmerizing.

Fly straight to Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS). There are public buses, taxis, Grab, car rentals, and motorbike rentals available from the airport to the jetty in Sanur. The journey should take no more than 1 hour. Then from Sanur, take a fast boat ride (approximately 40 minutes) to Nusa Penida. 

Diving around Nusa Penida generally requires a dive master or dive guide who will ensure your safety and show you the best diving around the area. Some shore dives might be ok with just a dive buddy. And of course, you definitely need an instructor to get your diving certification.

There are a few spots (namely Manta Point and Mola Mola) with significant currents which make for fun drift dives, however, you should be an experienced diver for these ones (at least have an Open Water cert with many logged dives) under your belt to go for those. Having an AOW (Advanced Open Water certification) is a good idea here.

Nusa Penida does offer a few great spots for beginners so you can definitely set out on your diving journey here by taking an Open Water course. You will need to have the ability to swim (PADI requires that you can swim 200 meters in one go in order to get you certified for Open Water diving).

Although there's no offseason for diving in Nusa Penida, if you are interested in catching some of the unique creatures of this area, you might want to plan accordingly: Best time to see Manta Rays is April and May, for the Mola Mola, come from August to October. It does get a bit murky during the monsoon season which is December to March.

Open Water certification is for complete beginners who have not previously tried diving before. Advanced certification is for divers who are looking to advance their diving skills. While fun dives are for divers who have already obtained their Open Water certification i.e. those holding a PADI, SSI (or equivalent) diving license. Manta Point and Malibu are further from where most of the dive shops than the rest of the dive spots and hence priced a bit higher.

Another difference is that some of our partners are located on the island of Penida itself, while others are located in Bali but go to Nusa Penida diving sites. The ones that say "w/ transfer from South Bali" means you can stay on Bali and experience the dive spots of Nusa Penida.

We often get asked, "What's a good place to stay on Nusa Penida?" Here are a few of the favourites of our partners:

Arsha Santi - if you are looking for a treat. A little fancy!
Atuh Forest Cottage - for that Instagram famous feel.
Kubu Artha - great for couples with a bit of privacy.
Acala - for a cool hostel hangout vibe with much better sleeping quarters. Best value for money.
Rama and Adi Homestays - for that local feel with super basic amenities.

You may want to check out some of these diving spots:

Malibu Point - here you can catch some strong currents, but usually a slow and enjoyable drift diving with schools of Fusiliers, trevallies, frogfish and possibly Mola-Mola. Bali’s largest variety of sharks are at this site.

Crystal Bay - this is a great site to catch a glimpse of the Mola-Mola as well as enjoy some good quality reefs and walls.

Manta Point - as the name would have it, this is the best spot to catch manta rays year round.

Blue Corner - is another popular site during Mola-Mola season as well as a good spot for drift diving. This site offer some of the most extreme condition around the islands. Best left for experts.

Sekolah Dasar/ Pura PED - these sites are next to each other and are great place to see Sunfish in season, and offers some of the best drift diving in the world. Common encounters can be had here with Green and Hawksbill Turtles, Marble Rays, Sea Snakes, Octopus, White Tip Reef Sharks and a huge diversity of corals and sponges.

Toyapakah - usually a popular site for Mola-Mola when they are in season otherwise a wide and interesting reef.

Jack's Point - this site is near the mangrove forest to the north east of Nusa Lembongan. Mangroves are important for ensuring coral reef health – and the surrounding reef definitely shows. This drift-dive is designed for nature lovers and is great for all diving levels.