From megafauna to Eco Warriors – Nusa Penida has it all!

Amazing coral reefs, incredible megafauna, and fantastic sight seeing for any adventure seeker! Come explore stunning Nusa Penida, the magical world under the surface, and meet the inspiring Eco Warriors, who are fighting to keep our earth clean!


The island of Nusa Penida has become very popular during the past years. This is not only due to the stunning nature that hides around the coastline of the island, but also as a result of the extraordinary megafauna and beautiful coral gardens, that hides underneath the surface. When visiting Penida, we were lucky to meet Lauren; owner of Nomads Diving Bali, based in this beautiful island. We asked Lauren how her dream came true of opening her own dive shop on Nusa Penida:

I’ve been working in the recreational dive industry for over a decade and the opportunity came up at the end of 2017, to open my own shop with a long time friend from Canada. He came to visit me while working in Nusa Lembongan and we started talking – and 2 weeks later we were signing the land agreement and making building plans.”

When it came to choosing a place, Nusa Penida was a no brainer. I wanted a place, where I could wake up in the morning and go see Manta Rays. Plus the welcoming community and beautiful Balinese Hindu culture made this island feel like home instantly.”

We couldn’t agree more with Lauren. The island of Nusa Penida is truly mind blowing, and the local community were welcoming and kind to us. This is also what made us fall in love with Indonesia – the kindhearted and warm local people, who always know how to great and welcome tourists and expats like they were their own family.


A dive heaven

But it’s not only the vibrant and welcoming community, that makes Nusa Penida interesting. Especially when it comes to diving, Penida is a one-of-a-kind island:

We have a resident population of reef manta rays (manta alfredi) and seasonal sightings of the famous mola mola (mola alexandrine). It is a perfect location for divers looking for a bit of thrill and an amazing place to do dive courses, because of our often-challenging conditions. If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere! There is also so much reef left to explore with only a handful of dive centers heading out to the eastern dive sites (which are my personal favorites).”

What made us fall in love with Nomads Diving, was (other than the amazing staff and the beautiful dive shop), the fact that this dive shop does something extraordinary for the nature and for our future. Nomads diving is an Eco Dive Shop with a high focus on Responsible Tourism:

We are economic, environmental, and social responsible – as a small business in our community. This includes our partnership with conservation initiatives such as Indo Ocean Project. From the construction, we use locally sourced natural wood and bamboo, to limit the amount of concrete close the beach, which secretes carbon and other abiotic materials into the oceans.”

We have a strict environmental policy that all our guests at Nomads must sign before diving with us – including code of conduct and banning of single use plastic and oxybenzone sunscreen from the shop, which is harmful to our coral reefs.


Responsible Tourism

Lauren and her team are definitely what we would define as Eco Warriors. Their vision of saving the reefs and keeping our earth and the oceans clean, is very aligned with how we wish to create Responsible Tourism:

We make most of our own cleaning products out of natural materials, leaving our wetsuits smelling lemony fresh. We do not use baby shampoo or toothpaste as a mask cleaner, but an eco friendly cleaning project, which we purchase from Bali Buda. It actually works even better and we purchase in bulk, refilling our reusable spray bottles.”

All our lunches are provided in reusable takeaway containers and sourced locally. We also provide all our staff with reusable lunch bags, tote bags, and provide education on promoting a plastic free Penida. We don’t have accommodation, but we partner with local home stays to help promote local businesses.


Nomads Diving is also running a conservation and dive master project called Indo Ocean Project. This non-profit organization operates in 3 locations across Indonesia and offers a dive master and research diver training to ocean warriors from around the world.

I have been working as a marine biologist and dive instructor for the last decade – the ocean has been my life work and inspiration. I often say that the ocean has given me everything in my life, and it is time we give back. I do this through the conservation project, training and by inspiring future eco warriors through our standardized 8 week training program.

The project is a collaborative passion project led by incredibly inspirational and knowledgeable humans. The program has developed organically into what it is todayn and we currently have 3 locations and 9 ongoing projects from for scientific based data collection to community initiatives, such as our mangrove and plastic pollution programs.

You can read more about the different ongoing projects here.


Mangrove Project

Our mangrove project in Penida is lead by our community officer, Novie Bahri. It is an initiative that involves several stakeholders in the area. We currently have 5 nurseries located in dive shops across the island with a new nursery scheduled to be built at our local elementary school.

Using a simple formula, we can gain the approximate carbon footprint of a single diver and the amount of carbon a single mangrove will sequester to offer carbon negative dive trips! Thus our “Adopt a Mangrove” project was formed!

Dive shops sponsor the project by building a nursery and caring for the mangrove seedlings (propagules) for 3-5 months and then joining the Indo Ocean Project team to plant the mangroves in predetermined locations in all three islands; Lembongan, Ceningan, and Penida. The success of this project is thanks to our partners at Freedive Nusa, Ceningan Dive Resort, Reeflex Divers, and Scuba Junkie Penida.

Mangrove Project Nusa Penida

Mangroves are arguably the most diverse and important habitats on the planet. They are a nursery ground for most reef fish, creatures, and corals, and provide essential support to other near by marine ecosystems. They are also one of the best “Carbon Sinks!”. In essence, mangroves are natures answer to climate change and contribute towards to global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 1/5th of the world’s mangrove populations disappeared over the last decade. The primary threats are coastal development, their use as a rubbish dump, and overexploitation. Protecting these vital ecosystems has become more important than ever.

We also work together with Trash Hero Penida and Save The Plastic to run weekly beach clean ups and marine debris surveys together with the local community to draw attention to the single use plastic epidemic.


Join our Zero-Waste Journey

Lauren and her team is everything we wish to promote at Gili Travel Agency. Do you wish to be a responsible tourist and travel green?

Let us arrange your Zero-Waste journey around Indonesia in collaboration with our favorite green partners. You can also join our Zero-Waste Rinjani Trek by doing a sustainability volcano hike.