Great overall experience! Communication via WhatsApp went smooth. Speed boat / ferry transfer is with the publicly accessible operators, but the local guides take care of all the ticketing etc. Our boat to Nusa Penida was 3 + 3 seats per row, return boat was bigger, 4 + 4 seats per row. The local snorkeling boat was great because it was much smaller, 12 pax total, 2 seats per row. Covered with an awning for sun protection, we got water bottles and towels, felt well looked after. guides were chill, but looked out for everyone, gave good head's up as to what to expect (minor currents in some of the spots) we did not see manta's unfortunately - bear in mind these are wild animals and a sighting is on the animals terms so it cannot be guaranteed. Spectacular hard coral, lots of soft coral & reef fish in the other spots. Very healthy compared to Great Barrier Reef, no visible bleaching, no plastic in the water. Bit of boat traffic from other tours in some of the spots, so the occasional whiff of diesel did occur. If anything we would have wanted to spend more time in some of the spots, usually we stayed for 10-20 mins in each spot. It allows them to show you 4 spots though, and seeing the variety and different settings was great. amenities at the snorkeling tour operator's beach shop was sufficient but pretty basic. fresh water showers, some options to buy snacks and drinks, the usual. not a lot of privacy for the showers, but enough space and everyone felt comfortable, I think there were separate change rooms. friendly vibe overall!
Island exploration was good fun, but also a bit adventurous / exhausting because the roads on Nusa Penida are very basic, much smaller than on Bali. Our brilliant driver (Agus Done Baru) had GREAT English, and it was a genuine pleasure to hang out with him. We had the car to ourselves, and Agus showed us around the main photogenic spots, took really good pictures of my wife and I and gave some good insight into the island life! Cool to see how Nusa Penida is different to Bali, much more arid, types of crops they grow etc. Loved plunging into the Angel Billabong, what a special place! You do see aa fair bit of other travelers around these locations though, as everyone is headed to the same famous spots. We're usually a bit sensitive about that kind of set up, but it didn't phase us that. day. Bring the right mindset! Restaurant for lunch was pretty basic, so I can imagine that's where the disappointment of some other reviews came from. We still enjoyed it, and got some Bintang radlers for a couple of extra IRDs to sweeten the deal. Agus also got us a slightly earlier ferry back! A day filled with great impressions, seeing Bali's neighbor island from both land and sea was a special experience, and the personal insights from our guide made a difference. Would recommend!