Nusa Penida offers all the exotic natural beauty of its sister island Bali, but without the crowds. It’s the largest of the three Nusa Islands off Indonesia’s coast, and thanks to its unspoilt beaches it provides a real off-the-beaten-track experience. Rugged limestone cliffs emerge from its turquoise waters while underground caves house sacred temples. Delve into the area's heritage and you'll discover a fascinating history of witchcraft and dark magic too.
Hostels in Nusa Penida are based to the north of the island among idyllic beaches. They make the most of the region's landscape and culture – stay in bungalows intertwined with tropical greenery or in grounds decorated with Balinese architecture and Hindu shrines. You can expect to find Nusa Penida hostels with pools, air con, free breakfast, Wi-Fi and private rooms. If you need help getting around, staff can book you a tour or hire out a car or motorbike for you.
Varied landscapes make up Nusa Penida, with the south mostly comprising steep crags and the north featuring villages and calm beaches. Sampalan is where you’ll find the ferry terminal, as well as small shops and a few restaurants. About 9km west of Sampalan is Toyapakeh, which has markets and some bars. Head inland where there are traditional villages like Klumpu and Tanglad. To the west of Nusa Penida, you can explore rainforest hiking trails and the Peguyangan Waterfall.
The cliffs above Kelingking Beach have views over the craggy limestone rocks that protrude out to sea, while Broken Beach viewpoint gives you a 360-degree view of its hollowed-out cave. Atuh Beach is considered the most breathtaking due to its secluded spot between two cliffs. To see Nusa Penida’s culture, go to Goa Giri Putri cave temple. Through a small hole between the rocks the cavern opens up to reveal shrines and worshippers. There’s also the extravagantly decorated Pura Penataran Sasih temple in Ped village.
Ngurah Rai International Airport near Denpasar is closest, with taxis that will drive you to Sanur – regular speedboats go from here to Nusa Penida. Boats also run from Padangbai in Bali to Buyuk (1km west of Sampalan) and take about 45 minutes. If you’re coming from Nusa Lembongan, public boats will take you to Toyapakeh village. You can see the island by renting a motorbike either from your hostel or from outlets in Toyapakeh and Sampalan.