Photo: Crystalish waters.

Crystal Bay

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Nusa Penida’s best known, most effortlessly accessible and consequently most popular strip of sand, Crystal Bay, makes for a lazy beach day, with sparkling clear waters, some decent offshore snorkelling and a long row of simple places to eat and drink.

The deep curving bay is partly protected by a limestone karst island around 250 metres offshore and neighbouring Nusa Ceningan which keeps the waters calmer than the surrounding seas, here the gently lapping waves are framed by an arc of palm-fringed white-grey sand extending for nearing 300 metres set amid rocky, scrubby outcrops.

Plenty of space for lazing. Photo taken in or around Crystal Bay, Nusa Penida, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Plenty of space for lazing. Photo: Sally Arnold

A small Hindu temple, Pura Segara Penida overlooks the shore in the centre of the bay next to the main access road and parking area. Snorkelling (and diving) is possible directly from the beach, but during most of the day the bay is congested with cruisers, speedboats and jukungs chockers with daytrippers from Bali and nearby Nusa Lembongan, so keep your wits about you that you don’t get biffed on the head.

Most of the year the waters of Crystal Bay are calm, ideal to explore the prolific underwater world, although be wary of strong currents—friends have been swept away here (much to the amusement of fishermen who later rescued them, they had been skinnydipping). Additionally, this is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with the majestic mola mola, or sunfish, when they come inshore from the deep cold oceanic waters to cleanse between July and September. These giants of the sea can reach three metres in length and weigh over 2,000 kilograms, an unforgettable experience to see them up close, meaning divers and snorkelers are also lured here in ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Popular attractions in Nusa Penida

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Nusa Penida.

Best places to stay in Nusa Penida

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Nusa Penida.

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Nusa Penida? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

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