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Crystal Bay is a popular beach and snorkeling destination located on the Indonesian island of Nusa Penida. Nestled on the western coast, the bay is known for its stunning crystal-clear waters, white sandy beach, and vibrant marine life. 

This particular snorkeling spot faces a very crowded beach, but this is also where the best area for viewing the hidden coral. 

Marine life is somewhat limited in Crystal Bay, but snorkelers will still spot surgeons, butterfly fish and a variety of other reef fish. 

 Crystal Bay is a tranquil and picturesque spot, making it a favorite among tourists seeking natural beauty and underwater adventures in Nusa Penida.

 

 

 

Leather coral at Crystal Bay
Leather coral at Crystal Bay.

How to get to the Crystal Bay snorkeling spot

Crystal Bay is a small beach located on Nusa Penida’s western coast. It is a popular stop for boat tours departing from Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembogan. You can also reach the location by road.

The beach gets very crowded because it is a regular stop for the tour operators taking tourists around the island. Thankfully, most of them will be around only for some selfies, few will venture to the sea. The tourists who do go into the sea usually don’t go further than ten yards from the shore. So although the area may be crowded, it is still a quiet spot to snorkel.

Crystal Bay has a rental place where you can get a mask, snorkel, fins and life jacket if needed.

Crystal Bay snorkeling map.
Crystal Bay snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Crystal Bay

You will enter the water from the beach free of access. It is best to have someone to watch over your belongings while you are out exploring. Watch out for potential sting rays when entering the water.

Crystal Bay snorkeling tips

The left side of the beach has no corals and not much to see, so we recommend sticking to the right side highlighted on the map. This is where the most corals are.

Coral patch at Crystal Bay
A coral patch at Crystal Bay.

As soon as you enter the water, the sand gives way and leaves room for a rocky bottom partially made of artificial blocks of concrete.  These block emerge on low tide.

The bottom of the ocean here is of little interest. If you exclude the occasional tangs and some soft corals, there is not much life in this area. The corals here have obviously been stepped on by visitors at the ↕3-5ft depth.

Surgeonfish at Crystal Bay
Surgeonfish from different species noted next to a concrete block.

The scenery changes when you venture further and the water gets deeper. About 21 yards away from the coast you will see the first hard corals. These corals gradually form more complex structures and a bit further out they have built a small reef (↕9-16ft). While there is no drop-off and no great variety, the contrast of the rocks covered by coral with the white sand bed is still beautiful.

The main corals that populate this area are the brain and the branched hard corals. Some butterflyfish populate the area but the marine life, on the side of the corals, remains limited.

Corals at Crystal Bay
Soft coral in Crystal Bay.

Snorkelers should be mindful of the currents when snorkeling in this area. The currents tend to be strong and can pull you towards the channel leading to the open sea.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Crystal Bay has a few beachfront restaurants. Several accommodations are available in the area.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth16 feet/5 meters
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersBoats, currents, stingrays
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyMany food stalls facing the beach

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.