Bali is one of the most beautiful places on earth. But since it's a very popular tourist destination, it can sometimes feel a bit overcrowded.

If you need a break, there are plenty of great Bali alternatives, and if you want to stay close by, I recommend you jump on a boat over to Nusa Penida Island and spend the day at Crystal Bay Beach.

Nusa Penida Crystal Bay Beach
Bird's eye view of Crystal Bay on Nusa Penida

Crystal Bay Beach is on the west coast of Nusa Penida Island, looking out over Bali. While it is quickly becoming a popular tourist spot, it still has a little of the undiscovered feel of Bali a couple of decades ago.

You can spend the day sunning, swimming, snorkeling, and hiking, and then sip a cocktail while watching the sunset behind Bali in a colorful display. In this article, I'll tell you everything you need to know about Crystal Bay Nusa Penida, including how to get there, what to do, and where to stay on Nusa Penida Island.

Where is Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida

Crystal Bay is a beach on Nusa Penida Island, which is just southeast of Bali. Nusa Penida can be reached by fast boat from Sanur in about 30 minutes.

Crystal Bay is on the west coast of the island facing Bali, so you can expect calm swimming waters most of the time. Locals will sometimes try and surf the tiny waves, but this will only satisfy complete beginners.

Entrance fees to Crystal Bay Nusa Penida

There is a small tourist fee payable to enter Nusa Penida Island, levied to help maintain the environment. You will be asked to pay in cash as you get off the boat, IDR25,000 (US$1.70) for adults and IDR15,000 (US$1.00) for children.

If you are traveling by car or scooter, there is also a parking fee at Crystal Bay itself. This is set at IDR5,000 (US$0.35) for cars and scooters. If you sit on any of the beach chairs that belong to the local bars, there is also a small fee.

Things to do at Crystal Bay Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is a fascinating island with beaches, temples, and hikes all over the island. It is also the jumping-off point for visiting the smaller islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. You can read more about the three islands here.

If you are staying on the west side around the Crystal Bay area, then these are the top things to do:

Relax on Crystal Bay Beach

The main reason to visit Crystal Bay Beach is the spectacular sandy beach with crystal blue waters. It is considered one of the best beaches in Nusa Penida. There are plenty of little bars on the beach where you can grab a cocktail or a cold coconut.

Visit the Island Temple

In the center of the bay, there is a rocky island called Mejinong Stone Island. It is worth grabbing a boat over or even swimming out (it's 50 metres from the beach), as there is a beautiful Hindu temple located in the center of the island. There is another nice temple on the main beach.

Enjoy the Sunset at Crystal Bay Nusa Penida

Make sure you stay at Crystal Bay Beach for the sunset, as it is one of the best you will see anywhere in Indonesia or the world! The beach is directly west facing, and you can watch the sun sink below Bali while sipping a local Bintang beer. Sunset usually begins around 17:30 pm, so arrive a little before that time.

sunset at Crystal Bay

Snorkeling the Coral Reefs

You can find excellent coral reef snorkeling at Crystal Bay Nusa Penida by swimming out just 30 metres from the shore. But be careful, as the ocean currents are stronger than they look from standing at the beach. If you aren't experienced with snorkeling, join a group. This day tour from Bali includes your fast boat transfer, snorkeling at Crystal Bay as well as a visit to Nusa Lembongan and is perfect if you're short on time but want to see a lot.

Alternatively, you can rent snorkeling gear for about IDR50,000 (US$3) from the beach.

Swim with Manta Rays

Many Nusa Penida diving tours leave Crystal Bay. They will take you out into the water where Manta Rays congregate so that you can swim alongside these majestic creatures. You might also see Mola Mola, giant fish three meters in diameter that swim up from the depths during the colder winter months.

Visit the Bat Cave

From Crystal Bay Nusa Penida, you can swim around to the north to discover the Bat Cave and visit the colony that lives there. You enter by swimming under some rocks, but the cave itself is open to the sky. There is also a hiking option to reach the cave.

Hike to Pandan Beach

If you want to get some exercise, there is a small and easy trail that you can hike from Crystal Bay Beach to Pandan Beach, the next beach south. You will find some stairs on the left-hand side of the beach that marks the start of the trail. The walk is very green with thousands of palm trees, and Pandan Beach offers a quieter atmosphere.

There is also a more challenging two-hour hike to Broken Beach, but you will need to bring hiking shoes to tackle the trail.

Climb the Kelingking Beach Cliff

Not exactly Crystal Bay, you will say, but if you're already here and you are willing to venture away from Crystal Bay, head to Kelingking Beach. It is overlooked by an incredible dinosaur-shaped rock that looks out over the ocean.

Climbing the cliff to look out over the edge and take some incredible photos is a popular pastime. You can hike down to the beach from the cliff, but it is a two-hour challenging return walk.

If you are a fan of cliffs, Paluang Cliff is also located in the bay and is only a five-minute drive from Kelingking Beach. Here you will also find a Balinese temple with an interesting “car shrine”.

Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida Island

How to get to Nusa Penida

The only way to get to Nusa Penida is by boat, as there are no airports on the small island. From Bali, you can get a fast ferry from Sanur.

Ten fast ferry operators make the trip several times a day. It takes about 30 minutes and costs US$10-15 for a one-way ticket. The earliest boats leave at 07:30 am and the latest returns leave at 16:30 pm. I like to stay in Sanur the night before and take the first boat over to make the most out of the day.

On Nusa Penida, you can get off at Toya Pakeh, Buyuk Habor, or Banjar Nyuh. Toya Pakeh is the closest to Crystal Bay. It is about 30 minutes by taxi or rent a scooter from Toya Pakeh to Crystal Bay. These are the only two ways to get around the island.

If you aren't planning to stay on Nusa Penida Island and just want to spend the day, your best option is probably to book a day tour from Bali, which includes boat transfers.

I always use 12Go, which gives you all the boat options, prices and departure times in one hit.

Powered by 12Go system

Read my detailed guide on all the different options on how to get to Nusa Penida here.

Day Tours from Bali to Nusa Penida

Dozens of tour companies offer day trips from Bali to Nusa Penida. You can book a group Nusa Penida tour, which will take in some of the best beaches and snorkeling spots around the island, including Crystal Bay.

In addition to Crystal Bay Beach, which will be your last stop to enjoy the sunset, popular Nusa Penida tour stops include Angel's Billabong, Pasih Ugg Beach, Kelingking Beach, Diamond Beach, Thousand Island Viewpoint, Nusa Penida Treehouse, and Teletubbies Hill.

Here are some recommended day tours to Nusa Penida:

You can also book a private Nusa Penida tour, in which case you can tell the captain where you would like to stop.

Where to stay in Nusa Penida Close to Crystal Bay

Got some additional days and looking for the best area to stay in Nusa Penida?

Read my full guide to where to stay in Nusa Penida, where I've listed all the different areas on the island.

Below you'll find my top four accommodation option (from luxury to budget) near Crystal Bay, which provide easy access to breathtaking beaches and turquoise waters, ensuring an unforgettable stay on the island.

($$$) Atalaya Villas Nusa Penida (my top choice!)

These lovely villas are located just over 1 km from Crystal Bay Beach on a hill with absolutely spectacular views over the surrounding forests of palm trees and out to sea. I love how the villas are decorated with items by local artists, and there is an infinity swimming pool, a beautiful garden, and your breakfast is served on the terrace.

Check availability & best rates

($$) Mahaloka Valley (great villas with exceptional staff)

These individual villas are located in the lush greenery with a short walk to Crystal Bay Beach. What I love about this hotel at Crystal Bay Nusa Penida is that it offers a lively environment with a popular bar and restaurant serving local dishes.

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($$) Penida Bay Village (really cute bungalows!)

This collection of villas is set around an outdoor swimming pool and a lovely green garden. It is located just a few hundred meters from Crystal Bay Beach. They often have events in the evening set around the outdoor fireplace.

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($) The Tinsi (affordable 1-bedroom villas with relaxed atmosphere)

The Tinsi is located just a few steps from Crystal Bay Beach. The one-bedroom villas are simple but clean and comfortable and you also get access to the hotel's Wi-Fi and outdoor pool.

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The Ultimate Guide to Crystal Bay Nusa Penida – Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is Nusa Penida worth visiting?

Yes! Many people arrive at popular Bali destinations looking for a rustic island getaway, only to find that extreme tourism has changed the island. But Nusa Penida is just a short boat ride from Bali and still retains that lovely Indonesian island atmosphere.

☀️ What is the best time to visit Nusa Penida?

It is best to visit Nusa Penida during the dry season between April and October. Not only are you less likely to have your day rained out, but the seas are calmer and, therefore, better for the fast boat crossing as well as calmer waters for snorkeling and diving.

📅 How many days do you need in Nusa Penida?

You only need one day to visit Crystal Bay, though you will need to stay overnight if you want to see the sunset. But if you want to explore all of Nusa Penida, including the beautiful beaches and temples of the east coast, give yourself two to three days.

❓ Is Bali or Nusa Penida or Nusa Lembongan better?

All three islands offer a very different experience. Bali is undoubtedly a tourism hotspot with the best hotels, bars, yoga retreats, surf schools and diving tours. It makes a great base to visit the nearby islands. Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan offer a more rustic experience. Staying in Nusa Lembongan will offer more hotels, restaurants and some great surfing spots while not feeling crowded and Nusa Penida is ideal for getting away from it all.

The Ultimate Guide to Crystal Bay Nusa Penida – Final Words

If you are looking for a quiet and beautiful beach to enjoy nearby Bali, jump on a fast ferry over to Nusa Penida and make your way to Crystal Bay Beach. As the name implies, the sand is soft, the water is crystal blue, and the diving is excellent. There are lovely beach bars, and the sunset is one of the best in the world.

Spend a day relaxing on Crystal Bay Beach, or book two to three days on Nusa Penida and discover the entire island.

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