The peaceful atmosphere, calm seas and palm-fringed dark-sand beaches of north Bali have been attracting young adventurous travellers since the 1970s. Nowadays, not so many visitors come this far north, but if you are bold enough to venture away from the island’s busy tourist areas and congested roads, you will discover another world.
Kalibukbuk is the liveliest of a long string of coastal villages collectively known as Lovina, and Villa Rawarawa is excellent base for exploring Bali’s north coast. Resting in the shadow of Bali’s central volcanic mountain range, which isolates it from the south, the climate is dryer and less humid here. Lovina Bay presents a pretty, black volcanic sand beach fringed by coconut palms against a backdrop of forested hills and distant mountains; the sea is calm and free of strong currents and waves, making it great for swimming, while the reef offers some good snorkelling. Here, you will see the fishermen bring their boats right up to the shore to unload their catch, selling to vendors and restaurants. Lovina is famous for the spotted, spinner, and bottlenose dolphins that gather and play in large schools in the bay. Within five minutes’ walk from the villa is a dolphin statue beside the beach, dedicated to the beautiful creatures that have been drawing visitors here for many years. A memorable activity is to go on an early morning dolphin-watching excursion in a traditional, outrigger ‘jukung’ fishing boat.
The district is famous for its artistic heritage and dance tradition. The style of the gold and silver work, together with the weaving, pottery and instrument-making is very distinctive and unique. For hundreds of years this was the part of Bali that was most open to foreign influence, as Chinese and Muslim traders brought their products, religion and culture through the port of Singaraja. The incredible variety of the countryside makes this historical area diverse, interesting and delightful. There are numerous restaurants within walking distance of the villa, and there is plenty to see and do along the north coast, where you will see vineyards heavy with bunches of grapes and dramatic windswept coastal temples. In addition to snorkelling and dolphin-watching, you can go scuba diving and horse-riding, or you might like to be part of a turtle conservation programme and release a baby turtle into the sea. Additionally, you can visit a Theravada Buddhist temple, or soak in the healing sulphuric waters of Air Panas Banjar, a natural hot spring where the water gushes out from the mouths of carved serpents into three pools. If you want to go a bit further afield, you can arrange to go trekking through the massive and spectacular West Bali National Park.