Nusa Penida: Manta ray tour and beaches

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. The island isn’t that big and I liked the chilled vibe. There isn’t much going on on the island. I found it quite quiet actually. As I stayed longer than most part of the people at the hostel, I was able to see the major attractions of the island like Kelingking Beach or Diamond Beach. Besides that, I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour. I met a girl at the hostel and she was doing it so I decided to join.

 

Manta Ray tour in Nusa Penida

The hostel sells tickets and I found it not that expensive having in mind I would be able to swim with Manta Rays. That would be magical and no price could match such an encounter. The people that joined this tour the previous days had seen Manta Rays, turtles, and even dolphins so it was exciting the idea that I could see them too. At the hostel, they borrowed a Gopro so we could shoot underwater and then keep the memories of this experience. It was a good plus cause I had nothing to shoot underwater besides that plastic bag for phones that I wasn’t willing to take with me. It would take away from the experience because I would be worrying about filming instead of appreciating the moment.

This tour lasted all morning, from early morning till noon. Lunch was not included. Doing this type of tour is always risky. You may see the Manta Rays or you may not. It depends on the day and your luck. Fingers crossed, we hoped to see at least one.
Our hosts took us by motorbike to the pier where we hopped on the boat along a group of people. It wasn’t a huge group. It was just fine. It didn’t take that long to reach Manta Bay where the Mantas are more frequently seen.
Our group wasn’t big so I thought it would be good to swim with the sea giants, but I couldn’t be more wrong. At the same time on the same spot are many more boats!!! There are so many people in the water OMG, I don’t think you realize haha. I don’t recommend this tour, sorry. There were so many people in the same spot attempting to see Manta Rays that all I could see were legs kicking in the water and flippers. What a disaster!

How does this tour in Nusa Penida work?

Apparently, all the tourists come here at the same time of the day, because that’s the part of the day with the highest chances of seeing the animals swimming around. Some guides are with us in the water and others stay on the boat to try to spot the animals in the water. Once someone shouts out loud they have seen a Manta, the frenzy starts. Madness!! Everybody starts swimming at once to the same area kicking each other, an absolute mess in the water. You gotta be lucky to see the animal. Visibility is not the best, the currents are strong and the water is very cold. We swam and swam from side to side hoping the Manta would pass by nearby otherwise with so many legs on the way it would be impossible to have a glimpse of the animal anyway. We are all excited trying to see mantas so I don’t blame the others in the water for being there doing the same as me.
I was lucky, fortunately. All of a sudden, everybody starts shouting and pointing, and as I look down under the water I see the majestic creature sliding just below me. WOW is bigger than I thought the animals were. I couldn’t see it all within my vision range. It was too close. But it was freaking awesome to have a glimpse of its black body passing by. That was exciting, but not that amazing as I didn’t really see the animal fully.
It is tiring to swim from side to side frenetically every time an animal is seen. Luckily I decided to take the life jacket with me. Others were too tired already and went back to the boat. The life jacket was crucial to keep me in the water for longer.

Almost giving up, the unexpected happened. I was swimming near the rocks, there were only 3 more people around me, and everyone was kinda spread already. And all of a sudden there it is, a Manta Ray, no legs on the way, no one else between me and the giant. I saw it fully, majestic, swimming past me. WOOOOO that was so freaking powerful!! I saw it perfectly! We were so damn lucky! No one else was there and we could, the few of us, enjoy the magic scene much better. I tried to swim fast after it, but the sea was too rough in that spot. I ended up swallowing way too much water that made me feel sick for hours after the tour, but it was so worth haha. If I hadn’t had that sight I wouldn’t have been in such ecstasy to allow myself to swallow half ocean lol so one led to another and in the end, I was happier that I did what I came there for. So, for me, it ended up being worth it. But this tour is a bad experience to see Manta Rays. If you want to see these animals, honestly I would advise you to try another way even though it might be more expensive.
I was euphoric with this so the tour was already worth it for me haha, but there were more things on the schedule including snorkeling in the best spot I have ever snorkeled I can say.

Gamat Bay

Next, we headed to Gamat Bay, a beach where I actually had been the day before but had no idea it had such a wonderful coral reef hiding in the water.

Walking to Gamat Bay

The day before the tour I walked from my Hostel to Gamat Bay. Yes, it was quite a walk, about 1h and the last part of the trail is literally through the bush. Part of the trail is marked on “Maps.me” so I thought the beach must be accessible by foot. But closer, there is no more trail. We walked following our instinct basically. It should be in this direction, we thought. We walked among crops and fields with gorgeous views of Mount Agung in Bali. WOW I had no idea the volcanic formation was so clearly seen from Nusa Penida. Amazing. We followed our instinct until we finally saw a bay. We were kinda lost for a bit I confess haha and the girl with me was kinda nervous I noticed haha. She must have thought I was nuts haha- yes it was my idea to do this, she just came along- anyway, we made it and she didn’t regret it. She wanted to give up when we were lost and couldn’t find any trail… Notice that this is not a marked trail or popular route. If you attempt to do it just follow your instinct and you will be fine.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

So, the first time I was at Gamat Bay, I reached it by foot through an adventurous hike. It was already late and the beach didn’t look that amazing. The water colors were not truly revealed as the sun was too low. While part of this tour on the boat, we recognized the bay and told others we had walked there. People were surprised but there was another guy that had walked there too haha how funny. I thought no one was doing this.

Best snorkeling in Nusa Penida

So Gamat Bay has the most beautiful snorkel I have done. We did snorkeling during high tide which was the best because visibility was 99%. The clearest waters where I ever snorkeled! So many colors! So many fish, so much life WOW absolutely stunning. I loved it. I could spend all day doing that. So, I came back to this beach a 3rd time haha.
I walked to Gamat Bay again, this time on my own. I was able to see its true colors and I stayed till low tide to snorkel as I knew what was hiding under the water. I have never been to a beach like this one. The coral stretches almost to shore. Live ones!! It made the walk to the water extremely slippery. It was weird to walk on them. Aren’t we killing them? But there isn’t another way to reach the water… and everybody is doing it… I’m not sure. They are above the water too, don’t they die? So above water was this colorful patchwork sort of mat made of corals what a sight! Never seen anything like it. I was absolutely stoked. So many shapes, patterns, colors, stunning!!!
But, snorkeling during low tide wasn’t as good as high tide. It was still very good but the visibility wasn’t perfect as I have experienced before during the Manta Ray tour. Anyway, it is still more than worth it. Gamat Bay was definitely the place where I spent most time while in Nusa Penida. Also, it was one of the nearest beaches to my hostel within a possible walk away. I didn’t feel like renting a motorbike every single day so Gamat Bay was an “easy option”.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

Seeing turtles

But, to finish this tour, we headed to another spot to see turtles in Nusa Penida. I saw the turtles too. They were down there at the bottom, very far, but I saw them. I have swam with turtles before and I was feeling so sick from all the water I swallowed and freezing cold that I didn’t try much to swim near the turtles. There were 3 of them I think, but I couldn’t handle being in the water any longer. I was shivering. I must have been in really bad shape to say “f* the turtles” and go back to the boat haha. The only thing we missed seeing was the dolphins.

Sunset Beach

There is an easier Nusa Penida beach to access by foot and I also walked there and spent a day almost on my own. I walked from Hostel Bukit Sangcure to Sunset Beach next to Manet’s Beach. It is still quite a walk but very pleasant. The shade of blue of the water is beautiful here. Bali blue is very different from the shades of blue beaches I have been used to seeing. It’s a deeper blue. Very beautiful one. I enjoyed my walk along this part of the island as there is almost no one here. I saw some locals and it was pretty much it.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

This was also the beach I have ever seen with the most beautiful dead corals lying on the sand. There are so many big chunks of dead corals here. The biggest I’ve seen. Paradise for me haha even though they are too big for me to bring along. But I still love to admire them. Once the tide got lower I saw where they were all coming from. There is this huge area of corals by the beach revealed during low tide. So much life hiding here. I spent my time wandering among them and discovering new life forms I had never seen before, including a type of slug looking very alien-like. Was awesome to roam around here. When the tide is low, it isn’t possible to swim here, but during high tide, the sea is very calm, with no waves and perfect temperature. My type of paradise. I enjoyed my time in this part of the island quite a lot and ended up staying for a beautiful sunset. These were the only places in Nusa Penida that I had visited without needing to rent a motorbike, the other days I went further and the motorbike was needed.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

I stayed in Nusa Penida for quite a few days. I also decided to do the Manta Ray tour and snorkeling tour.

You can check more Nusa Penida beaches I have visited like Kelingking or Diamond Beach in previous articles.

Buy boat tickets to Nusa Penida HERE!

Apply for an Indonesian visa HERE!

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