If you love splashing around in clear turquoise waters and watching the orchestra of reef fishes, you don’t want to miss snorkeling Nusa Lembongan! The marine life around Bali is not only spectacular for scuba diving but also snorkeling – so make sure you explore the magnificent marine world on your next trip to Bali.
Nusa Lembongan and sister islands of Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida offer some of the most beautiful underwater sceneries around Bali, but there is much more to the Nusa trio. Read on to learn how you can create an epic snorkeling trip to Lembongan and the most memorable vacation in paradise.
How to get to Nusa Lembongan from Bali
Nusa Lembongan is located east of Bali’s mainland, about a 30-minute speedboat ride away.
There are two piers on the east coast of Bali where you can catch a fast boat to Lembongan island, one in Padang Bai and the other in Sanur. If you are located in south Bali (Uluwatu, Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Nusa Dua), Sanur would be the closest location, but if you are in Ubud or further north, Padang Bai would be the optimal choice.
One way ferry can cost about IDR 300,000 – 400,000 depending on the company. Read this post for more details on fast boats from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan.
Or, you can pay less for your tickets by purchasing online below:
If you are on a limited vacation schedule, there is a way to book a snorkeling tour from the main Bali island as a day trip. Read more in the next section below.
How to Snorkel Nusa Lembongan
There are a few different ways you can explore the beautiful underwater life around Nusa Lembongan.
1. Hire a private boat
This is the best option for seeing the best of Nusa Lembongan’s marine world. Depending on how long you want to hire the boat and the captain, you can expect to pay between IDR 500,000 – 800,000 for private boat hire.
I recommend this option because you have the most flexibility around scheduling the trip, selecting the snorkeling sites, and staying in the water for as long as you like.
In comparison, group tours tend to be strict on departure times and how much time you spend in the water.
When hiring a captain and a boat, make sure you confirm whether or not the snorkeling gear and lunch/beverages are included.
2. Snorkel from the shore on Nusa Lembongan
There are several beaches on the island, but the only beach worth snorkeling is Mushroom Bay.
Mushroom bay snorkeling offers sufficient marine life including butterfly fish, damselfish, anemone fish, and angelfish, as well as some colorful corals at as shallow as 5 meters.
At the south end of the bay, there is Nusa Islands Surf School where you can rent snorkel gear for IDR 50,000/hr.
3. Book Nusa Lembongan snorkeling tours
There are many day trip packages you can book from the mainland of Bali that includes pick-up and drop-off services at your hotel, and all logistics, food and snorkeling gear rental. This one-day Lembongan snorkeling trip is optimal for visitors who have a short stay in Bali.
The team at Lembongan Watersport will take you around to 3 best snorkeling sites based on the water conditions on the day of your trip, and do a great job looking after guests.
If you are looking for a wide range of water sport activities such as snorkeling, banana boat, water slides, jumping board, aquanaut, and scuba diving, Bali Hai Cruises offer an enjoyable day trip on a big boat where you can enjoy an entire day in the crystal waters of Lembongan. The buffet lunch on the boat is fantastic, and the Bali Hai team is top notch.
When to Go Snorkeling Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan snorkeling trips are possible year-round. However, December to March is generally the rainy season, which means the water can get choppier and murkier compared to the rest of the year.
If you are sensitive to seasickness, either avoid the wet season or come prepared with Dramamine!
Best Snorkeling Sites
The thing to know about snorkeling Nusa Lembongan is that since the Nusa islands – Penida, Ceningan, and Lembongan – are located close together, the tour operators will find best sites across the three islands no matter where you are based. So whether you book a snorkeling trip on Lembongan, Ceningan or Penida, you will likely go snorkel in the same sites.
And here are some of my all-time favorite snorkeling sites around Nusa!
Located across Nusa Ceningan along the northwest coast of Nusa Penida, Gamat Bay offers calm waters and crystal clear visibility where you can see an abundance of colorful fishes and corals. I love Gamat Bay for snorkeling because it is generally protected from surge and currents, and provides optimal snorkeling conditions.
Crystal Bay is a famous scuba diving site for mola-mola sightings (sorry, you cannot see the amazing molas from the surface) but is also a spectacular snorkeling site along the cliff sides and the beach.
You can see anything from angelfish, damselfish, clown fish, surgeonfish, to batfish and many more.
Due to the popularity of the site, there is constant boat traffic in this bay – so stay alert and be mindful of boats moving around you.
Manta Point & Manta Bay
Yes, you will see plastic and other trash in the waters around Manta Point. Sadly, this is the reality all around Bali, particularly during the wet season between December to March. The good news is, the governor of Bali banned single-use plastic in 2019 and communities are slowly learning the devastating impact of plastic and making changes.
The rubbish in the waters, however, does not seem to deter the manta rays from approaching the coastline of Nusa Penida at Manta Point or Manta Bay. Generally, manta rays can be seen year-round, but it’s best to avoid the wet season due to the surface conditions and poor visibility.
You should also note that while most operators will attempt a trip to Manta Point, they may redirect to another snorkeling spot if they cannot spot manta rays or deem the water conditions to be unsafe for the boat crew or the guests. In other words, manta sightings are never guaranteed.
This is my favorite dive and snorkeling location on Nusa Lembongan!
You can never get tired of the marine life in the shallow reefs along the western coast of Nusa Penida. The underwater colors of the corals and the marine species at Toyapakeh are simply stunning.
You can usually find light current along this site, which offers a gentle drift for a relaxing snorkeling experience.
Tips for Snorkeling Nusa Lembongan
1. Stay with your guide
Nusa islands are notorious for strong currents, so stay close to the guide and avoid getting too close to the cliff edges.
2. Wear a floating vest
You may be a strong swimmer, but wearing a floating vest will help you be more visible to the boat captains nearby. The waters around Nusa islands are congested with day trip transfers, local fishing boats, jet skis, and countless diving operators.
Having a floating device (and other surface markers) is wise when snorkeling around Nusa islands.
Other Things to Do on Nusa Lembongan
Despite the small size, the Nusa Lembongan island offers so much to do – I recommend that you schedule a minimum of 3 days to enjoy this enchanting paradise island.
1. View the Limestone Cliff Shoreline at Devil’s Tear
Located just 10 minutes from Mushroom Bay Lembongan on a scooter, Devils’ Tear is undoubtedly one of the most touristy spots on the island.
When you see the dramatic limestone cliffs and enormous waves crashing into the shoreline, you will understand why travelers flock to this stunning location day in and day out.
Despite the crowd that arrives by the masses, the Devil’s Tear shoreline is a large area so you can easily veer off, find a peaceful corner and enjoy the breathtaking panorama.
2. Go Beach Hopping
As a beach lover, I can tell you that Nusa Lembongan beaches are some of the most beautiful beaches in Bali with pristine white sand and turquoise waters. You should schedule at least a day to check out the beach scene on the island, as there are several beaches worth visiting!
Click on this post for a complete list of the 5 best beaches on Nusa Lembongan. You’re welcome.
3. Explore the Mangroves
At the north tip of the island, there is a mangrove forest that has become a popular spot for snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking due to the protected calm waters from surge and waves.
If you are an early riser, you can also head to the mangroves for the sunrise.
Lembongan island has some great surf breaks off of Jungut Batu Beach. Several surf shops along the beach make surfboards available for rent, for about IDR 50,000 – 70,000/hour.
The breaks are quite far from the shore, so you will need to hire a taxi boat to take you out and bring you back in, which costs another IDR 100,000 – 150,000. If you are new to surfing, you can sign up for beginner lesson packages.
5. Catch Epic Sunsets
I don’t know what it is about the sunsets on Nusa Lembongan, but the skies seem to light up in brighter orange, and the colors are more intense than the sunsets I have seen on the Bali mainland.
You can catch incredible sunsets from just about any part of the west coast on the island including Devil’s Tear, Jungutbatu beach, and Sandy Bay beach. Grab some Bintang and enjoy!
6. Discover Nusa Ceningan
As the smallest island of the Nusa trio, Ceningan is probably the least populated island, but it is quickly picking up traffic due to jaw-dropping viewpoints such as the Blue Lagoon.
Nusa Ceningan is easily accessible across the Yellow Bridge from Lembongan, and you won’t regret spending at least half a day to scope out the hot spots of Ceningan.
7. Diving Nusa Lembongan
As a scuba diver, I couldn’t end this post without adding diving as an activity option!
If you have ever wanted to learn to dive, there is no better Bali destination than Lembongan. I fell so in love with Nusa Lembongan diving that I ended up using up my entire 60-day visa there to become a Divemaster!
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself never wanting to leave this special island.
Where to Stay on Nusa Lembongan
With Nusa islands booming in tourism, there is no shortage of accommodations ranging from $10/night dormitory beds to $400/night private villas overlooking the cliffs into the blue horizon.
But you can save yourself the time and receive my top selection of affordable villas with private pools – sign up below to get this exclusive villa list!
I hope you enjoyed this guide to snorkeling Lembongan! If you have any tips to add or an experience you want to share, please leave a comment below.
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