Lovina stretches along 8km of black-sand beach, the largest resort in Bali outside the Kuta–Legian–Seminyak conurbation. While the peak season (June–Aug & Dec) is busy, Lovina is a whole lot sleepier than the southern resorts, although there’s some nightlife and activity centres on the beach, with snorkelling, diving and dolphin-watching as diversions. It’s also an ideal base for exploring the whole of the north coast and the volcanic areas inland.
Beginning 6km west of Singaraja, the resort encompasses six villages, from east to west: Pemaron, Tukad Mungga, Anturan, Kalibukbuk (including a side road, to the east of the centre, known as Banyualit), Kaliasem and Temukus.
Kalibukbuk is the centre of Lovina and full of accommodation, restaurants and tourist facilities. East of here, in Tukad mungga (where the beach is known as Pantai Happy), the small fishing village of Anturan and along the Banyualit side road Jalan Laviana, 1.5km from the centre, it tends to be quieter despite the development of losmen and restaurants. West of Kalibukbuk, restaurants and accommodation line the roadside in the villages of Kaliasem and Temukus. Road noise is the enemy here; only consider accommodation set far enough back to block the noise out.
Lovina is famous (or infamous) for dawn trips to see the dolphins that frolic off the coast; opinions are evenly split between those who think it’s grossly overrated and those who consider it one of the best things on Bali. It’s pretty much the luck of the draw: some days there is little to see while on others the dolphins cavort around and under the boats in a grand display. Book directly with the skippers on the beach or through your accommodation.
The skippers also know the best spots on the local reef for snorkelling, and dive operators will take snorkellers on dive trips further afield if they have space; this is more expensive but offers greater variety.
Situated between the main north-coast diving areas, Lovina is an ideal base for diving, with fun dives in the Lovina area and further afield at Pulau Menjangan, Tulamben and Amed all available, though you will have to drive for at least 1hr 30min to reach each of these sites. The local reef, perhaps unfairly, has a reputation as being uninteresting, though there’s an excellent range of fish, and tyres, an old car and a small boat have been placed on the reef to encourage coral growth.