11 Best Things To Do In Nusa Ceningan

If you’re searching for that true laid-back island vibe, then you must visit Nusa Ceningan! Connected to the more popular Nusa Lembongan by a rickety yellow bridge, Nusa Ceningan is the ultimate destination to escape the crowds and explore the turquoise coastline.

We spent two weeks on the tiny island, dividing our time between kicking back at Secret Point Beach and ticking off all the awesome things to do in Nusa Ceningan. We didn’t know what to expect from our visit and were surprised to find such an eclectic range of experiences on the island, from cliff jumping to tasting the absolute best coffee in Bali!

While you won’t find much of a nightlife or streets lined with clothes, jewellery and trinkets, you will find adventure, secluded beaches and some seriously delicious smoothie bowls! If this sounds like your idea of fun, then continue reading to learn about our top 11 things to do in Nusa Ceningan.

Fishing boats in the channel between Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan

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11 Awesome Things To Do In Nusa Ceningan, Bali

Quick Tips For First-Time Visitors To Nusa Ceningan

  • Organise your boat and taxi through your accommodation – this is the easiest and often cheapest way to get seamless transport from your hotel or airport to your accommodation on Nusa Ceningan.
  • Bring cash – there are no ATMs in Nusa Ceningan and while you can generally pay by card at most establishments, you will incur a 3% card fee each time. There is an ATM at Mushroom Bay in Nusa Lembongan if you get stuck.
  • Stay on the southeast side of the island – the best place to base yourself is either along the banks of the channel between Ceningan and Lembongan or near Mahana Point at the southern tip. The north and west are fun to explore for a day trip but the road is rugged and it’s quite remote over there.
  • The road on the west side of the island is in poor condition – as we touched on above, this road is very rough and in bad shape. Be prepared for a very bumpy scooter ride!
  • Supplies are scarce – there are several small marts in Nusa Ceningan but it’s best to grab essentials before arriving on the island.

1. Surf At Mahana Point

Surfing at Mahana Point on Nusa Ceningan

Surfing is a major draw for visitors to Nusa Ceningan and it’s easy to understand why when you witness the powerful wave peeling off Mahana Point. On the best days, you’ll find yourself dropping into fast but smooth left-hand waves with a long wall, allowing you to carve the face for hundreds of metres.

But the best part about surfing at Mahana Point is the crowds, or in this case, lack thereof. For such a consistent break that proves to be the most advanced surf in both Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan, Mahana Point is rarely crowded. Throughout our 2 weeks staying at Secret Point Huts, I counted a maximum of 7 people in the water. And if you ask me, that is paradise.

Being positioned on the southwestern shores of the island, this break is open to the significant swells that roll into the south of Bali – which can create monster surf and powerful currents. The intimidating break is accentuated by the expansive reef along the coastline, creating a challenging environment to not only surf but also enter and exit the water. And for these reasons, Mahana Point is catered mostly to seasoned surfers rather than beginners.

Optimal conditions for surfing Mahana Point usually coincide with a rising tide, moderate swell, and northeasterly winds.

2. Leap out of your comfort zone with Nusa Ceningan’s Cliff Jumps

Blue Lagoon Cliff Jump backflip while visiting Nusa Ceningan

One of the most thrilling things to do on Nusa Ceningan is participating in the impressive cliff jumps along the southern coastline. There are two cliff jumps on Nusa Ceningan which, in my opinion, are among the best in Bali. While both offer a great time, each has its pros and cons.

Note: For both of these cliff jumps, the best time to attempt them is during high tide and calm swells.

Mahana Point Cliff Jump

Mahana Point Cliff Jump on Nusa Ceningan

Mahana Point Cliff Jump is the most accessible and popular cliff jump on Nusa Ceningan. Located at the Mahana Point Bar, you’ll find a 10 m platform built into the deck that sends you into the renowned surf break of Mahana Point. Additionally, there is a smaller 5 m jump for those who find the 10 m platform too intimidating.

The downside of Mahana Point Cliff Jump is the cost. You will have to pay 50,000 IDR for the 10 m jump and 25,000 IDR for the 5 m jump.

It goes without saying that this cliff jump is only suitable when the surf conditions are small and you can safely exit the water.

Blue Lagoon Cliff Jump

Jumping off Blue Lagoon Cliff Jump on Nusa Ceningan, Bali

My favourite – and unquestionably the more adventurous – cliff jump of the two is the Blue Lagoon Cliff Jump.

Located on the eastern point of Blue Lagoon, you’ll find several concrete platforms built into the rock that range from 4 m up to a whopping 13 m. The crystal clear water makes for the perfect dive site and the difficult access also means you’ll likely share this spot with no others.

Apart from the intimidating 13 m jump, the main risks occur when leaving the water at Blue Lagoon. Unlike Mahana Point Cliff Jump, there is no ladder for assistance. Instead, you have to climb up a small cliff, which can be tricky due to the swirling swell attempting to knock you off the rock slab. Timing the ocean swell is crucial to safely access the rock and quickly ascend to the cliff before the next wave hits.

Swimming in Blue Lagoon after jumping from the cliff jump
Waiting in front of the rock ledge for the swell to settle
Swimming in Blue Lagoon after jumping from the cliff jump
This was on a relatively calm day. Timing the exit was still a little tricky

I recommend attempting this only if you are with a group of people, have prior cliff-jumping experience, and are a strong swimmer. There is no other way out of the water at Blue Lagoon so be sure to check the exit and ensure you are comfortable with the task before jumping.

Note: There are new construction works on the point where the cliff jump is located. To access the Blue Lagoon Cliff Jump, you will need to walk directly through the construction site. While there was signage stating the area was off-limits, we chose to continue after talking to several locals who ensured it was ok.

3. Visit Secret Beach

Swimming at secret beach on Nusa Ceningan

If you’re after an adventure that encompasses stunning turquoise water and a rather interesting journey through the decaying roads of Nusa Ceningan’s hillside, then a visit to Secret Beach is in order.

The not-so-secret beach is a beautiful oasis on the eastern side of Nusa Ceningan, offering crystal-clear waters to swim or snorkel in and an abandoned resort on the far side of the beach to explore.

Secret Beach is a peaceful place to unwind behind a good book or spend some time snorkelling around the rocky coastline. Though much as the name suggests, Secret Beach isn’t so secret anymore and you’re not likely to enjoy the vistas all to yourself.

4. Take A Snorkelling Tour To See Manta Rays

Manta Ray swimming at Manta Bay on Nusa Penida
Nothing can describe how majestic these beautiful creatures are

During your stay in Nusa Ceningan, you’ll have the incredible opportunity to swim alongside one of the ocean’s most majestic creatures – the manta rays.

These magnificent ocean dwellers are commonly found off the coast of Nusa Penida in popular dive sites called Manta Bay and Manta Point – a short boat ride from Nusa Ceningan.

Snorkelling with manta rays is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and if you’re lucky enough to have a manta swim close by, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

We booked our boat with the Bali Activity Snorkelling using Get Your Guide. This tour comprised 3 snorkelling locations, including Manta Bay. While we had a great time with our tour, there are a couple of things to note about this experience.

  • Manta Bay is one of the most popular sites for snorkelling and diving so don’t expect to experience the manta ray all to yourself
  • During the wet season (when we visited) the rubbish build-up in Manta Bay was quite intense and really took away from the experience
  • While we had a great time with our guides, the fins and goggles we were provided with were rather weathered and while they still functioned, it was hard to find a pair without rips or tears in them
  • Due to the high number of tourists and everyone’s eagerness to see a manta ray, it seemed like most people were chasing them. This not only led to unfavourable snorkelling conditions at times but also didn’t feel right for the well-being of the manta rays.

While we had an incredible experience snorkelling with manta rays at Manta Bay and exploring the other dive sites around Penida, we were seriously taken back by some of the things we’ve listed above. While we still recommend you partake in this experience if the above hasn’t deterred you, I don’t think you’ll find us snorkelling out there again. 

Instead, we’ll be part of the scuba crew!

5. Watch Sunset From Shiroi Lookout

Watching sunset from Shiroi Lookout on Nusa Ceningan

There is no doubt that Bali produces incredibly stunning sunsets and Nusa Ceningan is no exception.

The best place to witness the phenomenal colours that line the skies is undoubtedly along the cliffs of Shiroi Lookout. This lookout can be found on the point behind Blue Lagoon via a short walk that is easily accessible to everyone.

Fishing boat passing Nusa Ceningan at sunset

Each time we visited, only a handful of people turned up to watch Mother Earth put on a mesmerising show. But even if Shiroi Lookout was busy, the large expanse of coastline makes it easy for you to find a good vantage point to sit back and relax.

6. Experience Coffee Like Never Before At The Nomad

Enjoying a coffee at The Nomad from a pottery cup
Manually making coffee at The Nomad on Nusa Ceningan

If you’re into coffee, you cannot miss The Nomad on your visit to Nusa Ceningan. The owner, Mochran, is an Algerian man who is extremely passionate about coffee and tea. He does an incredible job of teaching you his process, which doesn’t consist of any standard espresso machine I might add. 

He manually prepares every coffee with a specially designed, hand-made machine. And then, if you’re interested, he offers a tasting in four different cups – ceramic, crystal, glass, and porcelain. Due to the mineral properties of each vessel, you will find subtle hints of different flavours and bitterness, which blew my mind.

Beautiful courtyard at The Nomad
Beautiful courtyard at The Nomad

Our visit to The Nomad began as a lust for coffee, but quickly turned into a 3-hour stay with many laughs and friendly conversations about our cultural differences! 

I would go as far as saying this was one of our most memorable experiences in Bali, and that is mainly thanks to the polite and kind hospitality shown by Mochran.

7. Rent A Scooter And Explore The Island

Riding a scooter on Nusa Ceningan

While Nusa Ceningan is a small island that can easily be explored on foot, the heat can be unbearable – at least it was for us!

Renting a scooter gives you easy access to the wider expanse of the island and allows you to check out the best things to do on Nusa Ceningan with ease. There is also a lot less traffic on the island compared with Bali, making it a great place to ride a scooter if you are feeling a little nervous.

Here are some places we recommend visiting by a scooter:

  • Secret Beach
  • Three Island Bar
  • Shiroi Lookout
  • Mahana Point

The best way to rent a scooter is to organise it through your accommodation. It should cost no more than 80,000 IDR for 24 hours. You could most likely barter with a scooter rental company, but we found it easier to just go through our hotel.

Note: When venturing up the western road to Secret Beach or Three Island Bar, take it slow as the road is in poor condition and filled with plenty of ruts and rocks that can catch you by surprise.

8. Visit Blue Lagoon

Standing on the cliffs surrounding Blue Lagoon, one of the most popular things to do on Nusa Ceningan

If a 12 m cliff jump into the wild Indian Ocean doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, don’t worry, you’ll still get to experience the incredible colours that the Blue Lagoon is famous for.

Located just a short walk from Mahana Point or Secret Point Huts, Blue Lagoon is one of Nusa Ceningan’s most picturesque and popular spots. Unfortunately, you can’t get down to Blue Lagoon so swimming is off the cards. But with crystal clear turquoise water surrounded by impressive cliffs, you’ll be taken back by the beautiful half-moon shaped bay.

To find the Blue Lagoon, look for a small sign across the road from Secret Point Huts and follow the dirt track for roughly 50 m. Once you reach the edge, explore around the point and search for the perfect vantage point to admire this beautiful natural destination.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, head to Klyf Club nestled on the cliff around Blue Lagoon. It provides a fantastic vantage point, especially for sunset. While food is on the pricey side, you can expect a delicious meal. Dining also includes access to their infinity pool overlooking the Blue Lagoon.

9. Enjoy Nusa Ceningan’s Best Smoothie Bowl At Kuun Sunset

Smoothie Bowl at Kunn Sunset on Nusa Ceningan

During our 2-month stay in Bali, we fell head over heels for smoothie bowls and made it our mission to seek out the most delicious ones at each destination we visited. And while we didn’t have our hopes set high on Nusa Ceningan, when we found Kunn Sunset, we were in love!

Kunn Sunset is a peaceful Warung set on the banks of the channel with beautiful views out to the ocean. The charming beachside setting is enough of a reason to visit but what really made this place special was their deliciously loaded smoothie bowls.

They were among the best smoothie bowls we tasted in all of Bali and we highly recommend them if you are after a cold, refreshing meal that tastes like heaven.

10. Swim, Relax Or Snorkel On Secret Point Beach

Sunset over Secret Point Beach on Nusa Ceningan

If you’re looking to get away from the beach clubs and enjoy a more natural beach setting, Secret Point Beach is where you want to go.

The clear water is perfect for swimming and snorkelling during high tides and calm swells. And during lower tides, there is ample space to soak up the sun and relax with a good book.

You’ll find Secret Point Beach directly in front of Secret Point Huts. This is also a fantastic alternative for a sunset location with a sneaky beer from the bar above the beach. But just an FYI, we don’t recommend getting food from the Secret Point Huts restaurant.

Note: During the wet season, Secret Point Beach can accumulate a significant amount of rubbish which can take away from its charm. If you encounter this issue, We suggest heading to Secret Beach on the other side of the island.

11. Enjoy The Laid Back ‘Beach Clubs’ Lining The Channel

Sunset at Sea Breeze Beach Club
Sea Breeze

Nusa Ceningan doesn’t offer many tourist attractions, which is exactly why most people love it here. It is the definition of island life, truly a place to unwind and relax by the ocean.

This means that the most important thing you’ll be doing on Nusa Ceningan other than chilling is eating! While the Island has no shortage of ‘beach clubs’ (essentially relaxed beachside restaurants featuring a pool), these are our top picks. And spoiler alert, they all have pools that you can swim in for free!

  • Sea Breeze – This is the best of the best. From the quirky island-style decor to the friendly service and great food, you can’t miss this place!
  • Mista Ceningans – If you’ve never experienced classic Australian hospitality, this is the place to go. Sean, the owner, will greet you with an extremely warm welcome and the food is right up there with the best on the island.
  • My Beach Warung  Beach club meets Warung at My Beach. Offering a relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff, and delicious Indonesian cuisine, this is another perfect choice!

Final Thoughts

I’m sure by now you’ve realised that Nusa Ceningan is the ultimate place to visit for plenty of water time, indulging in good food and relaxing without the crowds. The best part is, if you’re feeling like a little more nightlife or shopping one day, you can easily wander over to Nusa Lembongan for a change of pace!

We thoroughly enjoyed our time on Nusa Ceningan, finding the quiet and slow pace exactly what we needed after a month on Bali’s main island! We hope that our list of the top things to do in Nusa Ceningan has helped you decide whether this is the right island for you as well.

Happy Exploring 🙂