Historically, Canggu was on the outskirts of Kuta, only accessible via a ballsy dirtbike road through soft sand. Now? You’d be chastised for speeding down the beach – instead, traveling to Canggu means a leisurely jaunt through rice fields. As access has increased over the past few years, Canggu has become one of the more popular stomping grounds for a global community of expats, digital nomads, hipsters and surfers. From soft peeling lines for longboarders and beginners to shallow barreling beach breaks, Canggu has everything you’re looking for – even readily available kombucha.
What kind of wave is Pererenan?
Tucked between Echo beach and Seseh beach is Pererenan, an exposed beach and reef break with dependable surf. The wave offers rights and lefts in a mellow, scenic setting. Pererenan is amidst a traditional Balinese community that has deep ties to spiritual practices – so you won’t see too many people, disrespect, or foreign buildings. Waves are exposed, which means that they can be fast and challenging. This wave is best surfed at mid to high tide to avoid any reef-related injuries. Be aware of sea urchins.
What kind of wave is Canggu River Mouth?
Canggu River Mouth is one of the more famous waves in Bali. A hollow right that breaks in barreling and open shouldered sections, Canggu can be a great spot to catch your local pro surfer. While it’s not necessarily known as a territorial spot, you will probably be paddle battling through a few mean mugs every few sets. It’s easy to access from the river mouth but you’ll need to get deep into position on the peak if you want a set wave. There’s typically less of a crowd here, but you’ll need to earn your spot.
What kind of wave is The Sandbar?
The Sandbar is a peaky A-frame breaking left and right. Situated adjacent to Echo Beach Left, The Sandbar is considered an advanced to expert wave on its day. It quickly turns over into a heavy thick-lipped barrel. This is one of three high-performance waves that break along Echo Beach. It’s considered the best performance wave in Bali for practising airs because of the perfect ramps that form from the wedgy peaks and sandy bottom.
What kind of wave is Echo Beach Left?
Echo Beach Left breaks hard and often heavy over a shallow reef with a good swell. It has a tendency to jack up as the wave hits the reef and is known to barrel. This certainly isn’t for the inexperienced surfer. On its day you will find surfers slotting in for a quick but nuggety barrel. On a higher tide when it’s not barrelling Echo Beach Left gives you a grunty wall to rip some turns and a lip to smack. This wave is a real favourite for natural footers on their backhand and goofy footers on their forehand.
What kind of wave is Batu Bolong?
On the other side of the channel from Old Man’s is Batu Bolong, a reef break that is loved by loggers. It’s also visited by surf schools because of the long, slow and forgiving rides. On bigger days, this wave offers a gentle wall to carve – for beginners and experts. Our recommendation? Dawn patrol to avoid the crowds.
What kind of wave is Old Man’s?
Old Man’s is a classic reef break that with a peeling long and fat wave. It’s gentle and predictable, which is why beginners and longboards love it. As one of the mellower waves in Canggu, you can expect a crowd. There are board rentals and surf lessons on the beach. Be warned, Old Man’s is a great wave for a dancing logger, but there are flying foamies a’plenty. On a bigger swell, this wave is dreamy for beginners to advanced surfers.
Pererenan: Reef break.
Canggu: River mouth reef break.
The Sandbar: Sandbank.
Echo Beach Left: Reef break.
Batu Bolong: Reef break.
Old Man’s: Reef break.
Pererenan: Intermediate – Experienced.
Canggu: Intermediate – Experienced.
The Sandbar: Intermediate – Experienced.
Echo Beach Left: Intermediate – Experienced.
Batu Bolong: Beginner upwards.
Old Man’s: Beginner upwards.
Pererenan: Left and right.
The Sandbar: Left and right.
Echo Beach Left: Left.
Batu Bolong: Left.
Old Man’s: Left and right.
The Sandbar: Sand.
Echo Beach Left: Reef.
Batu Bolong: Deep reef.
Old Man’s: Deep reef.
Pererenan: Not necessary.
Canggu: Personal preference.
The Sandbar: Not necessary.
Echo Beach Left: Personal preference.
Batu Bolong: Not necessary.
Old Man’s: Not necessary.
Pererenan: Shortboard or fish.
The Sandbar: Shortboard.
Echo Beach Left: Shortboard.
Batu Bolong: Longboard or fish.
Old Man’s: Longboard or fish.
Pererenan: Expect crowds.
The Sandbar: Crowded.
Echo Beach left: Crowded.
Batu Bolong: Crowded.
Old Man’s: Ultra-crowded.
Pererenan: Exposed reef end section on the left.
Canggu: Tends to break shallow over the reef and easy to hit the uneven bottom if you don’t make the drop.
The Sandbar: Shallow hollow beach break with a heavy lip.
Echo Beach left: Exposed, uneven, sharp reef and a tight take-off zone that is always crowded.
Batu Bolong: Rouge beginner boards.
Old Man’s: Rouge beginner boards and longboards.
The Sandbar: Southwest.
Echo Beach Left: South.
Batu Bolong: Southwest.
Old Man’s: South.
The Sandbar: North.
Echo Beach Left: North.
Batu Bolong: North.
Old Man’s: North.
Pererenan: High tide.
Canggu: High tide.
The Sandbar: Low tide.
Echo Beach Left: Mid tide.
Batu Bolong: Low tide.
Old Man’s: Mid tide.
Pererenan: Building tide.
Canggu: Building tide.
The Sandbar: Lowering tide.
Echo Beach Left: Building tide.
Batu Bolong: Dead low tide.
Old Man’s: Building tide.
The Sandbar: Very consistent.
Echo Beach Left: Inconsistent.
Batu Bolong: Consistent.
Old Man’s: Very consistent.
Pererenan: Year round.
Canggu: Year round.
The Sandbar: Year round.
Echo Beach Left: Year round.
Batu Bolong: Year round.
Old Man’s: Year round.
Canggu: Competitive lineup.
The Sandbar: Ultra-competitive lineup.
Echo Beach Left: Always a lot of hassling and very difficult to get a wave when its good.
Batu Bolong: Mellow and fun crowd.
Old Man’s: Mellow but full on with a lot of inexperienced surfers and surf schools.
Canggu: The River Mouth.
The Sandbar: Echo Beach.
Echo Beach Left: Echo Beach.
Batu Bolong: None.
Old Man’s: None.
If you’re planning on surfing The Sandbar or the reefs at Echo Beach Left or Canggu, use the channels to keep yourself from getting washed up on the inside. As you’re paddling, keep your eye out for boils on lower tides. This typically indicates rocks under the water that can easily ding your board or fins. At Old Man’s you can paddle out anywhere – through the breakers on small days or out through the channel to the right if the swell is up.
There’s a reason that surf camps flock to Canggu: predictable waves, a variety of spots, and easy access. Canggu is an excellent place to test out surfing – either by yourself or through a surf camp. We recommend staying around the Echo Beach and Batu Bolong area when the swell is mellow. Respect locals and try to stay in your lane.
If you’re looking for a holistic experience, we recommend taking surf lessons or booking into a surf camp. Many beginners aren’t taught the appropriate etiquette in the lineup, which is crucial when you’re in a respected surf destination like Bali. You’ll also want to make sure your pop ups and wave positioning are correct. Choose from classic surf camps like LaPoint or local camps like Wave House Bali.
Canggu, not unlike some of the other beaches in the area and is characterised by a long stretch of beautiful black sand. At dusk, you will find plenty of people soaking in the sunset and bintangs at the various beach bars spread along the Echo Beach and Batu Bolong Beach right down to Berawa. During high season, expect a crowded beach and some trash. Pictured above is The Sandbar on Batu Bolong Beach in the heart of Canggu.
With waves on tap, tropical weather, cheap housing, and high quality of life, Canggu is a hub for the new type of traveller – a digital nomad. Digital nomads, people who can work from anywhere with just a laptop, make up a big part of Canggu’s expat community. From web developers to designers to writers, the digital nomad scene is booming. A majority of this new wave of workers come to Bali to surf, practice yoga, and enjoy a slower pace of life – all while making a steady income that goes a long way.
You’ll find dedicated workspaces tailored for those eager to make some coin and then catch a sunset surf before a few bintangs. If you’re eager to catch up on some work or have the next great idea for a startup, we recommend heading to Dojo Bali Coworking or Outpost Canggu.
Due to its growing popularity in recent years, there is a wide range of accommodations for surfers visiting Bali. Canggu surf accommodations range from luxurious surf lodges overlooking the ocean to more simplistic surf hostels. Check out our recommendations below for some ideas on where to stay in Canggu. where to stay in Canggu.
The Canggu Beach Hostel is your typical gorgeous, cheap, and fun hostel located a short jaunt from some of Canggu’s best breaks. Many report they plan to stay for a night or two and are sucked in for upwards of a month. While the accommodations aren’t terribly expensive, this might be the only thing you’ll find for a cheap price as food, yoga, and surf instruction/board rental tends to run a bit steep. You can find cheaper food at local hideaways in town and I’d recommend bringing your own board in tow anyway. There are however plenty of fun activities you can get involved in and a ping pong table and pool table. Great for the young and energetic.
Premier Surf Camp Canggu is surprisingly a bit of a distance away from the surf. With cheap scooters for rent (a must have for anywhere in Indo) Premier Surf Camp Canggu can promise you a clean and comfortable place to stay for singles, couples, and families. The food on sight gets some notoriety from local billboards but receives mixed reviews. You’ll no doubt love the pool, traditional Balinese architecture, and surf guiding services. They can also offer you reduced weekly and monthly accommodation rates if you plan on staying in Canggu for a while.
For a step up in surfside accommodation and privacy, it’s worth taking a look at Pondok Nyoman Bagus. A short skip from the beach nestled in on the north side of Pererenan’s river mouth, you’ll be enjoying an ocean view from the infinity pool while sipping a fruity cocktail. Characterised by peace, quiet and great food, Pondok Nyoman Bagus is definitely worth some research. Great for couples and families, this Canggu surf accommodation provides a stay away from the shenanigans you’re sure to find in local surf hostels.
Kima surf is one of the more well-known surf guiding and accommodation companies in Bali. It’s Canggu Surf resort location provides free bikes for touring Canggu’s general area, a wide variety of boards to choose from, professional surf instruction, and private villas. It’s a great place to meet fellow travellers, get some expert tips on where and how to surf or enjoy a great meal. One of the many things that set Kima Surf apart from other Canggu surf camps, lodges and hotels is the surf video analysis and surf theory courses. This is a sure fire way to improve your technique and ensure you’re up for the world-class breaks on offer in Canggu.
A short walk from the beach, Frii Hotel in Canggu offers rooftop ocean views and a boutique surf hotel experience. Enjoy your early morning surf check from the rooftop bar or take a moment to relax poolside while munching healthy food. Ranked a bit higher on the luxuriousness scale than some of the other Canggu surf accommodations on this list, Frii hotel is great for the couple looking for seclusion, or the family looking for a quiet place to stay. Another added treat is the free shuttle to and from Seminyak if you want to mix things up.
Set on beautiful grounds with stunning Balinese art and architecture throughout. The Tugu Hotel provides a peaceful and serene ambience beside the ocean in Canggu to help you escape the hustle and bustle on the outside. While it is well out of most surfers accommodation budget it can be a nice place to spend a couple of days if you want to splurge out and relax in the comforts of a top hotel and it’s fantastic staff. From its hundreds of raving reviews on Tripadvisor, it is difficult to find a disappointed traveller.
Not unlike the wide variety of accommodations to choose from, the food in Canggu ranges from your local street food grinds to hipsterific five star cuisine. There are many good restaurants and cafes along Jalan Batu Bolong and plenty of places to find legitimately good coffee. Some favourites for food are:
Pretty Poison combines partying and skating with a Californian style pool skate bowl and backyard inspired bar. The crowds usually kick in at around 10pm and is located on the Canggu one way. Head down to watch some serious skating, sink a few Bintangs, and soak in the atmosphere.
Old Man’s for sunsets, beers, and pub food on the beach. Happy hour is 5-6pm every day. Right at 5pm, expect a flood of patrons rolling up to the bar to take advantage of the 2 for 1 hour as the sun heads to the horizon.
The Lawn Canggu offers a great place to party, great food and drinks, and an amazing pool. A quick look through their online photo gallery is sure to give you an idea of the type of crowd that the Lawn tends to pull. A great place for singles and your average surf traveller, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Taman Segara Madu Olympic Size 50m Pool is a great place for families, kids, and an afternoon by the pool, or it is the best spot for your swim training while in Bali with its 50m Olympic size swimming pool. If it’s flat, you’re sure to have a great afternoon jumping in the pool and sipping a few drinks.
Surfboard Rentals and Lessons
Many of the accommodations or surf hotels on this list offer surfboard rentals and lessons in-house. If you’re looking for something outside your general hostel, the best place to rent a surfboard is in the beach parking lot at the end of Jalan Batu Bolong in front of Old Man’s. There is a local setup here that has many different boards to hire and friendly locals to give a surfing lesson.
Located about a half an hour drive north of Kuta, Canggu is about half-way between Seminyak and Tanah Lot. The region is well known for pristine rice fields, black sand beaches, and world class surf breaks.
It’s easy to stroll around the neighbouring Canggu community by foot. If you’re looking to roam farther than your local corner store or surf spot, consider hiring a scooter, moped, or dirt bike for greater access to the surrounding Canggu area.
Parking fees in the Canggu area are consistent from parking area to parking area. Payment will cover you for the entire day even if you come and go. Be aware that during high season, scooter theft is possible.
Oldman’s parking is 2.000Rp per scooter and 5.000Rp per car.
Canggu (Batu Mejan) parking is 2.000Rp per scooter and 5.000Rp per car.
Central Canggu in front of Deus (Banjar Adat) parking is 2.000Rp per scooter and 5.000Rp per car.
Step 1. To get to the surf in Canggu from the airport drive 45 minutes north of Kuta along Jalan Sunset Road.
Step 2. Turn left at Kerobokan traffic lights onto Jalan Raya Canggu.
Step 3. To go to Old Man’s surf break drive for approximately 1km and turn left onto Jalan Batu Bolong. Stay on Batu Bolong until you reach the beach. Parking is 2.000Rp per scooter and 5.000Rp per car.
Step 4. To go to Echo Beach Left, The Sand Bar and Canggu surf breaks you have two options.
Step 4A. Stay on Jalan Raya Canggu and go past the turnoff to Jalan Batu Bolong and take the next left onto Jalan Batu Mejan. Keep going straight until you reach parking. Parking is 2.000Rp per scooter and 5.000Rp per car and is usually fairly busy.
Step 4B. Stay on Jalan Raya Canggu and go past the turnoff to Jalan Batu Mejan, about another kilometre up the road turn left onto Jalan Pantai Pererena. Then about 1.7km along Jalan Pantai Pererena you can take another left onto Jalan Munduk Kedungu and this road will take you to a car park situated right in front of Canggu.
Canggu Short-Cut Road: If travelling by scooter from the Kuta end of the island you can take a quicker route through Berawa then take the narrow shortcut road Jalan Echo Beach which is supposed to be a one way. However, some daring locals take this shortcut in their car both ways, managing to maneuver past each other with millimetres to spare. But be warned there has been a lot of vehicles go over the edge rolling into the rice paddies below. Just Google “shortcut road Canggu” and check out the images.