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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nusa Penida. Bali. Indonesia

Nusa Penida is the largest of three islands off the south eastern coast of Bali, the others being Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. Totalling some 200 square kilometres, Nusa Penida is much larger than the better known Nusa Lembongan. However, tourist infrastructure is very limited here. It is though an island of stunning natural rugged beauty, and tourism-related development plans have been rumoured and mooted to no effect for many years now.

Due to a lack of natural fresh water, little is grown or produced on Nusa Penida, and even some basic foodstuffs come by boat from Bali. Visitors should therefore expect higher prices than in Bali, and not bank on any tourism-related luxury items being available for purchase here. Plan accordingly.

There are many quiet and secluded white sand beaches along the north coast of Nusa Penida. Other geographical highlights include limestone caves, spectacular high coastal cliffs in the south and east, and rugged hill tops in the high centre.

Nusa Penida is best known as a world class diving destination. There are more than 20 identified dive sites around the island, the most notable including Crystal Bay, Manta Point, Toyapakeh, Suana Bay and Malibu Point. The rich waters around the three islands support no less than 247 species of coral and 562 species of fish.

Many dive operators based in Bali and neighbouring Nusa Lembongan offer specific dive trips to Nusa Penida. Special attractions include fabulous Mola Mola (Oceanic Sunfish) in season and large Manta Rays year round. Mola Mola are migratory fish and most likely from July to October although sightings are reported all year round.

he best advice is to get out from one of the northern points in the same way as you came in. A boat to Nusa Lembongan and then onward to Bali or Lombok is recommended although ferries of a questionable standard direct to Bali are available. There is no onward direct service to Lombok or other points east.

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