My boyfriend and I had only two weeks in beautiful Bali, and we settled on Candidasa as a home base. We wanted to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and relax when we got to Indonesia, and had done a bit of research on Kuta; it just didn't seem like the right fit for us. We wanted peace and quiet, but in a convenient enough location that we wouldn't have to drive for an hour to get to a grocery store.
Scouring Airbnb for something that might meet our requirements was a bit of a process - big enough to comfortably host two people and their laptops, with a kitchen and bathroom - but we managed to score a fantastic villa in Candidasa, right on what was touted a beach, but turned out to be more of a breakwater.. More on that later. :)
The reasons why Candidasa was the perfect spot for us to explore the rest of the island are countless, but I've listed our top motivators:
- It's close to a lot of incredible beautiful culturally significant locations, including Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden and Pura Besakih.
- There are many delicious and affordable restaurants in the vicinity.
- You have easy access to snorkel and dive sites.
- There is a very laidback and almost sleepy quality to the region.
We haggled for and rented a scooter at about $5/week, which in itself was astonishing - the prices for most things were outrageously cheap, and the lady we rented from was really quite lovely.
One of the only drawbacks to the region is that it has recently undergone significant development with obvious detriment to the environment. Until the '70's, Candidasa was known as Teluk Kehen and was primarily a small fishing village, but then it found itself on the radar and very quickly became a beach destination for Bali. As the development of new hotels and resorts progressed, the reef was harvested for lime to produce enough cement for all of the construction, which resulted in the severe erosion of the beach - by the end of the 80's, Candidasa was essentially a beach destination minus the beach. Mining stopped shortly after, and the breakwaters that were installed have assisted with erosion and you can even find a few pockets of sand, but hopefully new developments in Bali will take a lesson from this sad occurrence.
We were lucky, the image found at the top of the post was the view from our patio; at low tide, there was a small bit of beach to explore. More interestingly was the small canal behind the building, which played host to a variety of beautiful birds and massive lizards!
The better half did a bit of research when we first stumbled on these massive lizards - some of them were over 3 feet (almost a meter!) in length. One might imagine that with their razor sharp teeth and imposing scales they would be the most menacing beasts in the region, but it turns out they're relatively benign - according to a quick google search, their diet consists primarily of carrion, frogs, crabs, snakes, rodents, and birds.
To my relief, my fantasies of a monitor crawling up on our patio and nibbling on my toes was virtually unfulfilled. In fact - we ended up spending a large amount of time every day peering over the wall into the canal and watching them swim up and down the channel with much determination.