Lovina is a relatively new name coined in the 1950s by a local Buleleng Regency official with a good eye for future tourism-based development. It essentially consists of seven traditional villages, which all slightly merge into one on a ten kilometre stretch of the main road which hugs the north coast to the west of Singaraja: Temukus, Kalibukbuk, Anturan, Pemaron, Tukad Mungga, Banyualit and Kaliasem. Kalibukuk is the main hub of this area and is often thought of “Lovina town centre”. The whole stretch of coast here is fringed by quite narrow black sand beaches, which are accessed by a multitude of small lanes which run perpendicular to the east-west coast road. The beaches are generally safe for swimming, and the waters of Bali’s north coast, in direct contrast to the crashing surf of the south, are relatively calm. Diving, snorkelling and dolphin watching are the main activities, but perhaps above all else, this is an area in which to relax and take in a very slow, traditional pace of life. It can get a little crowded in July and August, but outside that peak season, this is a quiet part of the island.
Most visitors arrive in Lovina from the south in a self-drive hire car or with a car and driver. A journey from Kuta takes about 3 hrs and from Sanur slightly lesss. Ubud is a 2 hour car journey over the central highland range. Many visitors from the south choose though to break their journey at Bedugul or Kintamani.This is a good area for walking as the roads are relatively quiet and the beaches long and easily passable.
Renting a bicycle is popular and again, easy to find. Many hotels have their own. You should be aware though that away from the coast road, there are a lot of steep hills.
The easiest way to visit the surroundings of Lovina is by renting a motorbike. There are many roadside outlets and expect to pay between Rp 50,000 and 90,000 per day. The roads are quite good here and nothing like as crowded as in south Bali. Local bemos ply the north coast road between Singaraja and West Bali, stopping at all points on the Lovina stretch. You will need some patience and they can be very crowded indeed. As there is only one main road it is though hard to get lost.
Lovina’s black sand beaches are quite lovely and lend themselves well to exploration on foot at a leisurely pace. The sea is very calm here and is safe for swimming. The feeling on the beaches is one of laid-back tranquility with small, colourfully decorated traditional outriggers called perahu dotted along the shoreline. These are a reminder that you are in a traditional fishing community. There are a few hawkers, but nothing like as many as on the southern beaches, and this is as good a place as any in Bali to explore quiet beaches at your own pace. At the highest of tides the beaches can get a little difficult to traverse in places, so it is best to time your walks for a falling tide.
The small road that runs down to the beach-front from the main east-west coast route at Kalibukuk is called Jalan Bina Ria. At the beach end of this road is a rather wonderful dolphin statue. Apart from being a notable piece of kitsch, this is a reminder of the reason for the initial drive beind tourist development at Lovina (dolphins, obviously). Mini wooden and stone replicas of this statue are for sale widely in the area.
There are several dive operators based out of Lovina that operate daily dive and snorkeling trips to Menjangan Island, Tulamben and Amed, as well as dives from the local beaches. Be sensible and careful as some hotels and counters try to sell unlicensed diving trips that may look official on paper. Do not pay before you have seen the dive centre, and check that you will dive with certified divemasters/instructors.