Lovina is a relatively new name coined in the 1950s by the late king of Buleleng (Buleleng Regency) Anak Agung Panji Tisna, who had a good eye for future tourism-based developments. It started with a small lodge built on his own land and named Lovina. After going through some hard times starting up, the local community finally accepted the presence of Lovina. Today, the name Lovina is used for the stretch of seven traditional villages, which all slightly merge into one over ten kilometres 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".
If traveling along the main coast road from Singaraja, you turn towards the Lovina coast at the only set of traffic lights on the entire north road. Impressive Balinese gates frame the entrances to the two roads where most of the restaurants and hotels are. Western style minimarts and ATMs are located on the busy main road. Lovina offers very reasonably priced accommodation from no star home stays to about three star resorts with pools. Posh private villas are tucked away all along the coast too. Food is cheaper than Ubud or the south coast by about a third.
The whole stretch of coastline in the north is fringed by 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. From a distance, the water does not look too clean due to the colour of the sand but it is in fact almost always crystal clear.
Diving, snorkelling fishing dolphin watching, diving on coral reefs 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. Lovina is ideal for family groups with young children or older adventurers who want to kick back and quickly become part of the community. It can get a little crowded in July and August, but outside that peak season, this is a quiet part of the island.
Lovina also has a large number of tourist stalls which are limited to the area of beach between the dolphin statue and the main restaurant road. The stall holders are not as aggressive as those in other parts of Bali. Open air bars often provide loud, live music in which patrons can participate and it's not unusual to see foreigners jamming with locals. Many foreigners have made this locality home and the place gets busy at sundown when both locals and foreigners come down to the beach for 'happy hour' and a good meal. There is a nightly game of beach volleyball happening in the car park in front of the main bars too.
You will be offered dolphin sighting trips every other minute. These leave the main beaches each morning at dawn, and have mixed reviews as the boats tend to outnumber the dolphins. It can still be an enjoyable ride, and if you do find a lot of dolphins it is of course very worthwhile. The boats are numbered by this organization for easy recognition. Two boats are especially good choices: 'Beautiful Fish' is a speedboat, which dolphins tend to like and to play in the waves it creates. Popeye (boat number 1, since the drivers' father set up the organization) provides very good trips.
At dawn, there are at least twenty boats looking for dolphins and when found, chasing them like a hide-and-seek for adults. Some boat drivers look around for an own group of dolphins, averting from the 'crowds'. The Popeye boat takes his time and waits patiently until it can follow the dolphins gently for as long as possible.