Nusa Penida Diving

Nusa Penida allows divers to experience thrilling drift dives among otherworldy pelagics before resting in sheltered bays in search of macro critters. Within the 296 species of coral and 576 species of reef fish known to the area, oceanic sunfish, manta rays, frogfish, and devil scorpionfish all await below the surface.


Diving in Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida, only a short boat trip from Bali’s mainland, has rugged coastlines, incredible white sand beaches, and stunning fringing reefs. The reefs are home to a variety of marine life, both big and small, from the extraordinary oceanic sunfish and manta ray to scorpionfish and frogfish. Recently the underwater realm has been classified as a marine protected area with most dive sites offering 74% coral coverage below 10-metres.

While scuba diving in Nusa Penida, you’ll find that most sites provide fantastic drift dives while there’s the chance to dive steep walls in the Ceningan channel. Novice divers and underwater photographers can search sheltered bays for elusive macro life which are also the ideal place to host beginner dive courses. 

Nusa Penida diving is available from any of the dive resorts that line the coastline or you can visit via a daily trip from one of Bali’s mainland dive centres. If three hours under the surface isn’t quite enough for you, choose to stay on one of the visiting liveaboards where your whole trip is designated to scuba diving.

Best time to dive

Nusa Penida diving is best when the seas are calm, from November through to May. You can visit Nusa Penida all-year-round and dive among manta rays but currents may be affected by the monsoon season in January and February - which is when rainfall is at its peak.

To avoid crowds and enjoy quiet beaches, take a trip to Nusa Penida from November to March, where you may experience some rain but the diving conditions are still excellent. However, if you want to see mola mola, your best chance is from June to October, when upwellings from the deep invite the oceanic sunfish to bask in the cooler water.

Types of diving

Along the North coast of Nusa Penida, there are beautiful corals and sloping reefs at the likes of SD, Sental and Ped dive sites while the large plateaus in the south are perfect for manta rays. There are two Manta Point’s on Nusa Penida, where manta rays can be seen year-round gliding in the current while cleaner wrasse take care of their personal hygiene.

At Gamat Bay and Ceningan Wall, both located in the channel between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, you can find yourself in towering wall dives. Those in search of the small stuff can trawl along silty seabeds at Lembongan Bay or traverse Gamat Bay’s reef wall for crabs and shrimp. Adventure seekers should follow a sandy passage to the underwater Bat Cave for a unique dive experience lit only by the light filtering through the cavern’s open roof.

What to see

As well as the manta rays and oceanic sunfish which make an experience here unforgettable, Nusa Penida diving hosts a large variety of other pelagic life. Silver-tip sharks, bamboo sharks, wobbegong, grey reef sharks and nurse sharks can all be seen while baby eagle rays glide past in the blue. Looking past the 296 species of coral, you’ll find schools of giant trevally, barracuda and Napoleon wrasse while sea turtle cruise through the water.

In the protected waters of Nusa Penida and its sister islands, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Lembongan, there are known to be 576 species of reef fish, including five species that were previously unknown to science. Use eagle eyes to survey sheltered bays for frogfish, devil scorpionfish, sea snakes, moray eels as dragonets flash their multi-coloured bodies, reflecting the light from the sun. A night dive in calm dive sites may uncover even more weird and wonderful creatures who only dare to show their face under the light on the moon.

Best places to dive

If you’ve come to Nusa Penida to see manta rays, you won’t be disappointed at the Manta Point dive site. Here, you can watch in wonder as magnificent manta rays glide over cleaning stations in the shallow plateau. Resting on the sandy bottom, look out for blue-spotted rays and octopus hiding in huge limestone rocks as bamboo sharks, nurse sharks, and even baby eagle rays patrol the area.

Descend onto the impressive reef wall at Gamat Bay to search for the ‘small stuff’ in the many cracks and crevices. If you keep an eye out to the blue, often larger pelagics are seen including sharks, rays and a species everyone wants to tick off their dive bucket list - the oceanic sunfish. Gamat Bay is sheltered from strong currents offering divers the chance to root around in all corners of this site.

Along Nusa Penida’s north coast are the dive sites of SD, Ped and Sental. In more or less the same location, you can choose to dive any one of these sites which are all defined by a sloping wall that sinks into the dark blue depths of the ocean. Dependant on the strength of the current, you may descend into an extreme rock’n’roll drift dive or begin gliding at a very gentle pace where your vision will be filled with a festival of colour. Huge pufferfish and schools of red-tooth triggerfish dart past while looking into the blue, eagle rays, marble rays and mola mola all wait in the cool waters ready to be spotted.