Lovina Beach, Bali

Far away from the crowds of the southern Bali beaches, on the north side of the island, is the relatively small and undeveloped Lovina beach. Unlike the immensely popular southwest facing beaches around Kuta, there's no pounding surf at Lovina. The sea is extremely calm all the time. Temperatures are also generally warmer than in the south, while the climate is drier.

Although the beach at Lovina is often described as 'black' sand, it's more a dark gray, exactly the color you'd expect from a beach made mostly of volcanic basalt, ground up by the forces of nature. The shore gently curves away from the modern Dolphin sculpture that marks the center of Lovina.

Lovina was well on its way to becoming the next big beach resort, with lots of developments planned, or even under way. But then the 2002 bombings put Bali's tourism business into a tailspin, and Lovina was so remote and unknown that it suffered the most.

Now, it almost seems like it may have been a blessing in disguise. Lovina has been 'saved' from the over-development that has plagued the southern beaches. You won't be harassed as you walk down the street by people offering transports, t-shirts, or anything else. Sure, there are guys around the beach selling seashells, beads, etc. but they are nothing compared to hoards of vendors that descend on you in Kuta.