Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave
Our first stop was unbelievable! The Pura Goa Giri Putri Cave is perched midway up the mountain, accessible by a steep winding staircase. Before being allowed up the staircase we had to rent a sarong for 50 cents. We dodged a few rogue monkeys before arriving into the middle of prayer. With no idea what he had walked in on we were blessed with some water to the forehead before crawling through a tiny crack in the ground. Over 100 other people joined us down, crawling through the crack.
Once inside, the roof opened up and we were inside a 300m long cave. More prayer was underway but no-one seemed to mind us looking around. I would have loved to yell out and hear the echo in this massive underground temple. Instead, we wandered around, enjoyed the smell of the incense and the eerie atmosphere before crawling out again.
Atuh Beach is a stunning white sand beach surrounded by the huge cliffs and remarkable rock formations. An arch sits directly out from the shore while several islets string off in the distance.
We explored the shore and the ocean before enjoying a fresh $2 coconut. Air Asia knew what they were doing when they provided these umbrellas to the resorts. I can’t imagine how many Instagram photos have inadvertently advertised the airline.
Traveler’s Tips: The roads leading from Ped to Atuh Beach are surprisingly well marked. The road does, however, get very rough, sandy and basically non-existent towards the end so be extra cautious when driving there. Once you get down to the beach, a man will ask for a Rp 5000 fee to enter. It’s possible to rent lounge chairs and buy coconuts, drinks and nasi goreng for just a few dollars from the few vendors on the beach. Tides are strange on Nusa Penida, so it’s best to know what the tides are going to be like when you visit Atuh Beach. At low tide the water pretty much disappears. So make sure you visit when the tide is on the higher side. Also, the beach bottom is rocky so tread lightly.
Crystal Bay is a popular spot for tour boats shuttling tourists around on snorkeling and diving trips. Despite being a renowned spot for spotting sea life, there are still very few people here.
When I traveled here in the off-season (during March) I had the beach virtually all to myself. During my most recent trip, in the high-season in August, there was a smattering of tourists lounging on the beach and snorkeling off shore. Not too bad. Crystal Bay is a pretty special beach, and a great place to slap on a mask and fins and explore the sea life.
Traveler’s Tips: The roads to Crystal Bay are very well marked and relatively smooth from Ped. While drinks do appear to be served at a beach shack, it might be best to bring your own food if you plan on staying here all day.
Broken Beach is a stunning natural formation on the coast of Nusa Penida. Despite its name it’s not actually a beach. It’s a natural bridge that makes for an unreal setting. I set out to find Broken Beach during my fist visit to Nusa Penida – and I failed miserably. Nusa Penida is big and the roads are confusing. Getting lost is inevitable. During my recent visit it took me forever to find Broken Beach and for a while I thought it was a lost cause, yet again.
Traveler’s Tips: The drive to Broken Beach from Ped will likely take two hours. There are two roads pointing to Broken Beach. One is very steep and shouldn’t be attempted if you’re not super comfortable riding a scooter. The other is incredibly bumpy but at least it’s not a full-on death trap. If you’re lost, and you will get lost, then just keep asking locals the way to either Billabong or Broken Beach, they’ll help you find your way. There is an entrance fee of Rp 5000 (I think).
Billabong is the stuff Instagram dreams are made of. It’s basically a little lagoon, set in the middle of the black and craggy volcanic rock. It’s located on a cliff right down the path from Broken Beach (see above). Nusa Penida’s massive waves crash into the cliff and splash water into the lagoon. It is possible to swim in the lagoon (something that’s super popular with the selfie crowd) but be warned that people have been swept out to sea by the powerful waves.
Traveler’s tips: Billabong is literally right down the pathway from Broken Beach, maybe a two-minute walk.