While Nusa Penida is most famous for its diving, it isn't too shabby when it comes to snorkelling and it is seeing more visitors coming over on snorkelling trips from Lembongan now that the best reef there has been trashed by idiocy.
The most popular spots are Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay, two bays that face towards Nusa Ceningan and both can be reached by road or boat. The former is very popular with divers for mola mola but it is also a great for just snorkelling. Gamat likewise attracts both snorkellers and divers and tends to have far less current than Crystal Bay. Operators bringing snorkellers here often also go to Manta Point (about 30 minutes away by boat) to see, well, mantas.
Straight out from Toyo Pakeh (leave from the beach and veer left) are some coral fields and lots of fish with often very good visibility. As you get towards the channel a very strong west to east current flows, so watch out or better still get a boat to drop you at The Wall — this is a dive and snorkelling point a bit further to the west along the Toyo Pakeh strait, and once in you can drift snorkel all the way back to Toyo Pakeh.
Lastly, along the north coast of the island, roughly from Ped to Sampalan, there are a number of offshore snorkelling spots (we tried it from near Ped). You can only really do it at high tide and it is a good idea to get a local to point the way out as the seaweed farms can be a formidable barrier (or rather, maze). Once you're out there, you'll find a good reef and lots of fish. Try not to get stranded out here when the tide sinks, as getting back in can be a real nightmare.
Snorkelling trips can be arranged from Nusa Lembongan or on the beach at Crystal Bay. You can swim out to the reef there, but if you want to visit any of the other sites, you'll need to charter a boat. Expect to pay around 150,000 rupiah per person to charter a boat for a few hours to visit Manta Point, Crystal Bay and Gamat Bay.
By Stuart McDonald.
Last updated on 7th July, 2016.