East of Denpasar City off the southeast coast of Bali, the snorkeling in Nusa Penida Island is well-known for manta ray encounters. In addition to the manta rays, keep an eye out for eagle rays, turtles, sharks and mola mola. The two best Nusa Penida snorkeling dives are Manta Bay and Manta Point, but keep in mind both are known for their strong currents.
The Manta Bay snorkeling dive site is located on the southwest end of Nusa Penida Island off the sheer limestone cliffs. Also known as Telega Sakti, this boat-accessed snorkeling destination has waters from 0 to 25 feet deep. The exceptionally clear water is home to cruising manta rays (December and January) in search of plankton to feed upon. The sea floor is covered with both table coral and leather coral formations.
The Manta Point snorkeling dive site is located on the center of the southern shore of Nusa Penida Island off the sheer limeston cliffs. Also known as Batu Lumbung, this boat-accessed snorkeling destination has waters from 10 to 50 feet deep. It is home to a manta ray cleaning station where they may even line-up waiting to be cleaned by the plentiful butterflyfish and cleaning wrasses
The other well-known snorkeling spot is Crystal Bay. You’ll need to take a snorkel boat out to see the famous mola mola fish found there.
The best time of year for snorkeling off Bali is during the dry season from April to October for high water visibility. The water temperature on the north shore of Bali is much warmer than on the south shore; there can be up to a 20F degree temperature difference. If you happen to arrive from July to October, there is a cold water upwelling from the deep ocean that carries the large mola mola (ocean sunfish) towards the surface to the delight of snorkelers. The mola molas are heading to the reef cleaning stations around Nusa Penida.
To reach the snorkeling dive sites on Bali by air, you will want to fly into Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK) located on the northwest side of Jakarta. Then use the domestic air flights to Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) located south of Denpasar on the southern tip of Bali. Occasionally, there are non-stop flights from Hong Kong directly into Bali. Once on Bali, the best mode of transportation is by taxi such as the Bluebird Taxi service. Upon arrival, there is an entry fee to obtain a 30 day visa permit. In addition, a passport valid for six months after the projected departure date is required. Plus, upon depature, there is a departure tax of at least $25USD. To reach the snorkeling at Nusa Penida Island, head to Sanur Beach and buy a boat ticket from Mola Mola Express to Nusa Penida.
While the national language on Bali is Bahasa Indonesia, the English language is widely spoken. But, it is still important to try using some of the local language to develop goodwill. With that said, there isn’t much English spoken on the island of Nusa Penida.
Overall, Nusa Penida Island is the 9th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 12 snorkeling dives in Bali.