Historically accessed via a ballsy dirtbike ride through the soft sand from Kuta, where you risked losing your bike in the sand, Canggu Bali offers waves for all abilities and interests. Today, speeding down the beach is frowned upon and arriving at Canggu means a leisurely jaunt through rice fields. As access increased over the past few years, Canggu has become one of the more popular stomping grounds for a global community of expats. From soft peeling lines for longboarders and beginners to shallow barreling beach breaks, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
What kind of wave is Canggu?
Canggu, or Prerenan, is one of the more famous waves in Bali. A long, 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. You’ll probably find less of a crowd but this spot is not recommended for beginners or the faint of heart.
What kind of wave is The Sandbar?
The Sand Bar is a peaky A-frame breaking left and right. Breaking adjacent to Echo Beach Left it is considered an advanced to expert surfing wave. It quickly turns over into a thick-lipped barrel and most times breaks heavier than Echo Beach Left. This is one of three high-performance waves that breaks along Echo Beach and is the best performance wave in Bali for practising airs because of its perfect ramps formed from the wedgy sandbank and its sand bottom.
What kind of wave is Echo Beach Left?
Echo Beach Left breaks hard and often heavy over a shallow reef when there is 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 your inexperienced surfer and is recommended for the experienced surfer.
On a higher tide when it’s not barrelling Echo Beach Left gives you a nice and grunty wall to rip some turns on and a lip that pushes back letting you smack it vertically as hard as you can throwing buckets of spray in the air. A real favourite for natural footers on their backhand and goofy footers on their forehand.
What kind of wave is Old Man’s?
Old Man’s is a reef break that is a long, fat wave with little power frequented by beginners and longboarders. It tends to be a softer wave than some of your other options in Canggu and can, as a result, be a little bit more crowded. Board rentals and options for surf lessons are close at hand. A long, peeling, wave that breaks left and right, this can be a great spot for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers.
Canggu: River Mouth Reef Break
The Sandbar: Sand Bank
Echo Beach Left: Reef Break
Old Man’s: Reef Break
The Sandbar: Intermediate-Experienced
Echo Beach Left: Intermediate-Experienced
Old Man’s: Beginner-Intermediate
The Sandbar: Right and Left
Echo Beach Left: Left
Old Man’s: Right and Left
Canggu: Reef and Sand
The Sandbar: Sand
Echo Beach Left: Reef
Old Man’s: Reef
Canggu: Personal preference
The Sandbar: Not necessary
Echo Beach Left: Personal preference
Old Man’s: Not necessary
The Sandbar: Shortboard
Echo Beach Left: Shortboard
Old Man’s: Longboard or Fish
The Sandbar: Crowded
Echo Beach Left: Crowded
Old Man’s: Very Crowded
Canggu: Tends to break shallow over the reef, easy to hit the 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
Old Man’s: Rouge beginner boards and longboards
The Sandbar: SW
Echo Beach Left: S
Old Man’s: S
The Sandbar: N
Echo Beach Left: N
Old Man’s: N
The Sandbar: Lowtide
Echo Beach Left: Midtide
Old Man’s: Midtide
Canggu: Building tide
The Sandbar: Lowering tide
Echo Beach Left: Building tide
Old Man’s: Building tide
The Sandbar: Consistent
Echo Beach Left: Inconsistent
Old Man’s: Consistent
The Sandbar: Year-round
Echo Beach Left: 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
Old Man’s: Mellow but full on with a lot of inexperienced surfers and surf schools
The Sandbar: Echo Beach
Echo Beach Left: Echo Beach
Old Man’s: Batu Bolong
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 your 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 where ever you, through the breakers on small days or out through the channel to the right if the swell is up.
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 beaches from Canggu right down to Berawa. Pictured above is The Sandbar Batu Bolong.
Due to it’s growing popularity in recent years, catering for surfers visiting Bali there is a wide variety of accommodations to choose from. Canggu surf accommodations range from luxurious surf lodges overlooking the ocean to more simplistic surf hostels. Check out our recommendations below for some great ideas on 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:
Betelnut for healthy breakfast and lunches.
Veda Café is a great organic spot.
Warung Bu Mi is a fantastic local restaurant that is very cheap and extremely popular.
Machinery Cafe Bali is an enclosed air-conditioned cafe with good coffee and premium wifi making it a favourite co-working space for those working remotely.
Pretty Poison combines partying and skating with a Californian style pool skate bowl and backyard inspired bar. The crowds usually kick in around 10 pm and is located on the Canggu one way, head on 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, bang on 5pm there is usually 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 will offer surfboard rentals and lessons but 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 hours 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 obviously world class surf breaks.
It’s easy to stroll around the neighbouring Canggu community by foot but 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.
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.