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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 but growing fast.
Due to a lack of natural fresh water, little is grown or produced on Nusa Penida, and even some basic foodstuffs come in by boat. Visitors should therefore expect higher prices than in Bali, and not bank on any tourism-related luxury items being available for purchase here.
Nusa Penida has also become an unofficial bird sanctuary for endangered Balinese and Indonesian bird species, including the critically endangered Bali Starling (Leucopsarrothschildi). In 2004 the Friends of the National Park Foundation (FNPF) started an introduction program onto Nusa Penida of the near-extinct Bali Starling. Over 2 years from 2006, 64 birds were released into the wild. By the spring of 2009, 58 chicks had successfully hatched in the wild and in 2010 there were estimated to be over 100 birds. As with many similar release bird projects in the West Bali National Park that have failed because of poachers, this has been a bit more successful in preventing the Bali Starling from becoming extinct. The local Nusa Penida population actively protects the birds. In 2006 all villages unanimously passed a local regulation making it an offence to steal or threaten the life of the birds.
Map of Nusa Penida
There are public boats from from Sanur, Kusamba or Padang Bai in East Bali.
Renting a motorcycle is the most practical option, and this will cost you about Rp 60,000. Look for outlets in Toyopakeh and Sampalan (or more likely, they will find you!) You may be able to find a rental car but they are not common and not recommended as the roads to as good as every spot worth seeing are very rough and small.
Some visitors from Nusa Lembongan arrive with rented pushbikes – make sure you get permission to take the bike off Nusa Lembongan first. You should note that roads in Nusa Penida are rough, hilly away from the north coast, and in remote areas no more than stone-strewn tracks.
Local public transport is in small old bemos or on the back of a truck. These vehicles ply the north coast road with some regularity, but elsewhere on the island do not bank on anything.
Take note that it is recommended not to plan too much in one day, allthough the distances might not seem so big. For a less experienced scooter driver the conditions of the road allow an average of 25-35 km/h. Be sure to get your tank full before leaving into the hills. Fuel uses quickly in this rough conditions!