I am a woman who loves chasing a good waterfall and I have been lucky to see some incredible ones around the world. Which is why I was excited that we headed to waterfall hotspot, Lovinia !
When Sean and I headed up to Lovina with his mom, we were going full holiday mode, taking two weeks off of work too. We rented a kick-ass villa for 2 nights that came with some help, a beautiful pool and prime location to the beach at the cool price of affordable! You should check Villa Maryadi if you are heading up North. This isn’t an ad, I just really loved them and was a perfect place to get some sun. Best yet, it was calm enough that Sean and I felt comfortable renting scooters and spent the most perfect day visiting waterfalls and ending beachside for a sunset.
So a lot of people come to Lovina for two reasons… Dolphin tours and or on a day trip to see waterfalls. It is often a one night if that and not sure why. Yes, the beaches aren’t as blue as the south but it was a beach with incredible sunsets and let me tell you, it was nice to see locals actually enjoying the beach and not just tourists. I loved that every evening between 5-7 the waters were full of children and families enjoying the warm water and tame waves. We ended up in Lovina because it was a different part of the country and we had heard good things from fellow travelers. After a great drive up, where we had two enjoyable stops including stopping at Jatiluwih Rice Terrace. Jatiluwih turned out to be a highlight of our Bali holiday. You can see why here. After a beautiful but long drive, we arrived at our Villa and wow. It was gorgeous.
You come for the beautiful pool area and you stay for the beds and Mary. Mary was a housekeeper who did our laundry, cut up fruit and cleaned up the house. You could pay to get some meals cooked but you know how Sean and I are… We love to cook. Plus we enjoyed a few meals at the Spice Beach Club. I know I talked about it before but if you come here, stay here. It is also massive with 4 bedrooms including two bungalows. All rooms come with their own bathrooms, fans, and AC. We also rented our scooters from them. It was a bit pricey but for two days, was fine. Plus they came with great helmets making me feel that more confident chasing waterfalls.
Renting A Scooter in Lovina
Remember that unless you have a motorcycle license if you get in an accident your travel insurance won’t cover it. Also, you do need an IDL to drive a scooter. That being said, if you don’t that doesn’t mean you can’t. So weigh the risks and decide for yourself. We did it in Lovina as we just wanted to be able to pop to Papitos and to the beach bar down the road plus do a little bit of waterfall chasing. Lovina was a great place to drive compared to Bali as the roads are MUCH bigger, better paved and lots of traffic lights which can be a con sometimes too :P. We enjoyed driving here but please be careful if you do. It’s better to hire a drive then to drive uncomfortably.
Waterfalls: Which Ones We Went To And Why
Getting up super early as we wanted to beat out the day trippers we quickly stopped at Papitos (one of the better grocery chains in Bali) and bought a few items for breakfast to take with us. So here is the thing about this area. There are A LOT of waterfalls including the famous Sekumpul Waterfalls but I didn’t want to drive too long on the scooter plus many of them require guides and it got to be a little overwhelming so we instead saw these two which I recommend if you are staying in Lovina and want to visit some waterfalls on your own. I would say you need to be fairly comfortable on a scooter as there are some steep points and curves. Sean and I both had our own scooter cause I like to drive and so does he. We went to Gitgit and Jembong Waterfall.
We got there early, paid IDR 5K to park our scooters and paid an addition 10K for entrance. There were a few shops open and be warned children will try and sell you things. They will follow you but just smile and keep going. I can imagine as it gets later in the day its a bit more overwhelming but when we went it was still early. There are stairs which some of them are steep but aren’t too challenging for most fitness levels. Albeit might take some longer than others (but what else is new?).
The best part of a waterfall is when you can hear it but can’t see it and then BAM there it is. Let me tell you, I loved it. We were just in front of a big tour group so we had the waterfall to ourselves for ten minutes or so. If you can, get there before 8 AM. We got there around 8:15 and when we left 45 minutes later it was getting more crowded.
The best part after getting soaked from the spray, we air dried on the platform and ate our $4 breakfast of chicken croissant sandwich, pastries, and boxed juice as we just looked at the waterfall. It was exactly what I wanted and was perfect.
So I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this one and to be honest the tourist price is a bit high for what it was but the drive to here was one of the most memorable aspects. It was ten minutes of beauty. So much so that we had to stop and admire the view not greatly captured in the picture below.
There was something about blue cloud skies, green rice fields and the ocean in the background that was just utterly stunning. So much so, it almost caused a slight crash as I turned the corner and instantly stopped. Luckily Sean wasn’t tailing me… This waterfall is manmade and is actually very popular with the locals. There is a cool swimming hole that I can imagine gets pretty crowded during high season and or weekends.
Dolphin Watching in Lovina
I have a lot of feelings about this and we did, in fact, do it. It left me feeling gross and I’ll be doing a full post about Animal tourism in general and the ethics behind it and how I feel about it. We arranged this with the villa we were staying at so on our last day in Lovina we woke up very early and headed to the beach.
We were the only people around and then I started noticing other boats leaving at different parts of the beach. It was then I suddenly started feeling uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure why I was so surprised. I knew this was a big tourist attraction and I had been apprehensive but I still did it and I regret it. The captain of our boat luckily wasn’t one of those who “chased” in fact, he and I had a long discussion on how this impacts the dolphins and when I asked him “Do the dolphins like this” he quick said “No.”
The Impact of Dolphin Watching in Lovina
I later learned that many of these captains say otherwise but our captain had previously worked a few years before with researchers. They were doing an impact study. He understood that this was not the way to go about it but it was money and he had kids to support. It’s why he made sure to keep some distance when many others would speed up and try to get very close to the dolphins. I appreciated the hard place he was in and I appreciated that he was honest with me.
What we ended up doing is asking him to head out a bit more to the sunrise and we just watched it come up before heading back to shore. I won’t lie it was beautiful to see dolphins jumping but not at the cost of how I saw it. I’m not proud of it but it happened and I have educated myself since. I also know that sometimes going with your gut is the way to go. So what I would recommend instead? Hire a boat and go watch the sunrise away from those dolphin watching boats.
Who knows maybe you will see a pod of dolphins all on their own and not being chased by a bunch of tourist boats.
As many of you know Sean and I didn’t have the best time living in Bali but boy oh boy did we love having a vacation there and it will always be a special place for us. It is where Sean proposed after all. If you are looking for a laid-back place then Lovina might just be the place for you!