On my recent road trip from Canggu to Lovina Beach, I really really had my heart set on getting up at sunrise to take part in a Lovina dolphin tour. How romantic would it be to great the rising sun underneath cotton candy skies and with playful dolphins racing past your boat? After doing a quick tour search I changed my mind completely. Here’s why you should think twice about booking a lovina beach dolphin tour, too.
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Disclaimer: I am no animal expert and this post reflects my personal opinion and research I did. To really make up your own mind, I encourage you to do your own research, talk to experts or even chip in down in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this too.
5 Reasons Against Lovina Dolphins Tours
- You can book a dolphin tour or just show up way before sunrise on Lovina Beach and go with a local fisherman out to sea. Especially during high season, they are waiting for curious tourists to join them on a dolphin tour. These fisherman, however, aren’t certified nor experts in animal tourism and proper behavior around wild animals.
- As a result, you will often see the motorized fishing boats racing towards a pod of dolphins at high speed and stopping pretty close to them. This is a stress factor for the wild animals. Imagine some thing racing toward you, coming super close and stalking you as you just want to get some food. Plus, motorized boats aren’t environmentally friendly. There are fumes and possible small fuel leakages, too.
- One thing that is typical for Lovina beach tours is quite a lot of boats at the same time doing the tours. As if that isn’t bad enough, they usually engage in “leapfrogging”, which means the boat speedily overtakes the dolphin pod so the dolphins catch up. This distracts the animals. Instead of speeding, boats should always slow down near wild marine wildlife.
- It is true that the dolphins won’t just change their ways because the throngs of tourists and their boats show up. But don’t interpret this as a sign of dolphins being ok with tourists intruding on their territory. The dolphins are migrating daily at sunrise to their feeding grounds. They can’t just go somewhere else to prove their point.
- When you interfere with wild dolphins, you can potentially mess up their routine. Dolphins are highly intelligent animals and have their own habits. Keeping them is important to their wellbeing and health.
Proper Behaviour Around Wild Dolphins
- Never swim with the dolphins. Don’t get out of the boat and into the water. Just observe and take in the moment.
- Don’t let the boat get too close. Watch from afar. Entering their habitat causes stress in the wild animals.
- When you approach the animals, come from the side and never head on or from the back. Do it slowly, too so the dolphins aren’t startled. Don’t cross their paths or go between dolphins either.
- When you go for a swim in the ocean later and put on sunscreen, make sure it’s biodegradable and biologically unharmful (like this one). Regular sunscreen isn’t and is harmful for marine wildlife and plants.
- If you fly your drone, also don’t get too close and do it very slowly. It’s best if you don’t do it at all. If you have a very noisy drone, please refrain from using it around the dolphins.
- When looking for certified dolphin tours around the world, check for certificates such as Dolphin SMART backed by NOAA. This way, you can enjoy noninvasive marine wildlife experiences and support responsible and ethical dolphin tourism.
If you do want to hop on a boat for some Lovina dolphin watching, encourage your guide to be very considerate. There are some that take care of not interfering too much with the wildlife. A photo isn’t worth it!
Should You Avoid Lovina Tours?
No! I am not saying you shouldn’t support local tour guides and tours. By all means, please support local tourism. Bali relies heavily on it and the Balinese are such lovely people and love showing off their beautiful island. But where you spend your money has power and you should invest wisely.
Generally speaking – and that goes for travels across the world –, avoid travel experiences that involve wild animals, especially if they aren’t carefully monitored and limited. Even if you go by yourself, be considerate and stay a passive observer from the distance.
Alternative Lovina Tours
There are plenty of Lovina Beach tours you can do instead. Here are a few to give you an idea:
- Northern Nature Private Tour – Visit authentic Balinee villages among lush tropical forests and rice plantations. Stop at gushing waterfalls and therapeutic hot springs. Enjoy the included local Balinese lunch. Transport as well as hotel pick up and drop off are fully organised.
- Lovina Beach and Bedugul – Visit the floating temple Ulun Danu at Lake Bedugul (here’s my review), sample strawberries at Candi Kuning fruit and flower market and take the an epic photo at the famous Bali Handara Gate.
Is Visiting Lovina Beach Worth It Without Seeing Dolphins?
Lovina Beach is great to catch wonderful sunrises and sunsets. Just don’t expect to see the sun directly above the ocean. As you can see from my photos though, the colours are just as amazing and getting up early is very much worth it. I saw the sun rise next to the mountains/volcanoes!
From Lovina, you can easily visit various Balinese waterfalls, as well, such as Singsing Waterfall. A detour to Banyumala Twin Waterfalls and Sekumpul Waterfall is totally worth it as well. Check out my blog posts to see for yourself and get tips on how to not accidentally pay too much entrance fee.
Have you ever been on a sunrise dolphin tour? What are your thoughts on it?
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