Located on the black sand beaches of Bali’s north coast, Lovina is a far cry from the bustling tourist centres in the south of this Indonesian island. It’s an area of comparative peace and quiet, next to a flat, calm sea. There’s one thing though that’s hard to escape. I’m constantly asked whether I want to book to go on a dolphin tour all along Lovina Beach. Online reviews were mixed, so I thought I’d head out on one myself to find out: is it worthwhile taking a Lovina dolphin tour?
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I set my alarm for an early start. The boats almost universally depart at 6am in the morning, prior to sunrise. (Although at least I had quite the sleep-in compared to day trippers from Kuta, who need to depart at 3am.) Heading out with our local fisherman in a traditional outrigger boat, we soon join a crowd of dozens of similar boats. But soon after we spot our first dolphins of the morning.
It’s hard to not at times feel sorry for the dolphins. There are so many boats around, jockeying for a good view of the small pod of dolphins. The pod numbers no more than five or six. Perhaps in reaction to the crowd of boats and their loud outboard motors, the dolphins don’t stay on the surface for more than 10-20 seconds. Then they head off underwater, no-one sure where they’ll next appear.
Everyone waits to spot a fin again on the surface, or someone else pointing them out. Later on the number of boats decreases to around 10, around 8am and just before we return to our hotel for breakfast. It feels more calm and chilled out, the boats more spread out.
Because it’s nature that you’re dealing with, the experience that you have is largely down to luck. There’s the possibility of seeing dozens of dolphins, plenty to go around. Or potentially you may spot none at all on bad days.
What’s more certain is that you’ll get to watch a beautiful sunrise from out on the water, unless the cloud cover is particularly heavy. As we walked to our boat a few flashes of lightning could be seen. But the cloud cover was slight enough that it merely resulted in the clouds being painted in beautiful shades of pink and orange, as our boat bobbed around in an area to itself, the orange ball of the sun rising above the horizon. Gradually the twinkling lights up in the hills above the coastline disappeared, the green forested slopes emerging from the dawn.
For me, the sunrise and the serenity of that moment out on the water was enough to justify the cost of the tour (generally 100,000 rupiah). The glimpses of the dolphins was merely a fun addition. Viewed like this, doing a Lovina dolphin tour is definitely a worthwhile trip.
Staying on the southern coast of Bali but want to see the dolphins in Lovina? Book a Lovina Beach Dolphin Tour through Viator, including pick-up and drop-off at your hotel and additional sightseeing on the return journey. Click here to check the latest prices and availability.
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