THE TRUTH ABOUT IBIZA: A firsthand experience
by: Anna Maria Cos Alcantara
Ibiza is infamously known as a party island. There are some people that have this notion that there’s crazy people all over the island that will end up stealing your belongings and putting drugs in your drinks. Days leading up to the trip, people warned me about the dangers that I might encounter on the island. It could have easily spoiled the trip for me, considering that my friend and I have been planning it for months to celebrate my bachelor’s degree and my friend’s masters degree. But being ridiculously positive millennials that we were that chose to not look at the preconceived notions of Ibiza, it made all the difference and somehow we got to debunk almost all of the myths about the island.
THE PARTY SCENE
Contrary to popular belief, there’s not just one big party in Ibiza every night. The island is actually made up of a lot of towns that has its own charm and its own respective unique party scene. My friend and I stayed in Ibiza Old Town, the town closest to the airport and is actually situated beside the Ibiza port. The scene in Old Town is more relax and laidback. It’s probably one of the quieter towns of Ibiza, and it’s only typically flocked by people during the day because the restaurants that serve the best tapas are on that side of the island. It is also the only town where you can find fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC, so party-goers typically use Ibiza Town as the jump-off point for dinner pre-game drinks.
Playa Den Bossa is a town that most likely gives Ibiza the reputation that it has now. Think of this town as the Bonifacio Global City of Ibiza, where all the five-star hotels and super-clubs are situated, where every night, an international DJ plays. My friend and I bought tickets to see one of our favorite DJs in Ushuaïa, the super-club that inspired the Philippines’ own Palace Pool Club, and the ticket was 50€ per person. We didn’t know what to expect from this specific night other than there would be a lot of people, but we were pleasantly surprised by how safe and polite everyone was. Quite honestly, I was surprised that the crowd inside didn’t get rowdy at all. Sure, there was security everywhere and there are bouncers every five meters, but the people really were just there to have fun and enjoy the music. You would think that something sketchy was bound to happen considering that there were hundreds of people inside the club with drinks being poured left and right as how people imagined the Ibiza nightlife would be, but it actually felt like a safe space to really just enjoy the music and the vibe of the club. After the show was over, everyone exited the club in an orderly fashion and again, we were impressed by the organization and efficiency of the club’s staff in ushering people out while simultaneously cleaning up after everyone’s trash.
Sant Antonio was the third and last town that we were able to visit during our stay. This town originally didn’t make the itinerary, but we decided to give it a shot as per suggestion by the kind lady that sold us the tickets to Ushuaïa at our hotel’s lobby. Sant Antonio is situated on the opposite side of the island, and it was a 20-minute, 2-euro bus ride away from Ibiza Town. Think of this town’s party scene as the likes of Makati’s Poblacion area, where the streets are lined with small clubs right next to each other, each having their own flair and theme. Some clubs played purely Spanish music, some mainstream pop music, and some playing purely hip-hop music. Some of these clubs have an entrance fee, while some do not. Drinks in this town however, are much cheaper compared to those in Playa Den Bossa where a bottle of beer can cost you as much as 10€. In Sant Antonio on the other hand, you can buy a bottle of beer for 2-3€ and a shot of tequila for the same price. My friend and I quite enjoyed this town much more than Playa Den Bossa, just because there’s a wider variety of music to enjoy unlike the pure EDM (Electronic Dance Music) that Playa offers.
Everyone knows that there’s all kinds of parties in Ibiza every night, but I wish that more people knew that there’s just as much that you can do on the island during the day. You can go island hopping, do water sports, visit the local museum, or even take a tour to see the old castle and cathedral in Ibiza Town, to name a few. There really is something for everybody in Ibiza. My friend and I however, really wanted to go to the beach. We asked the receptionist in our hotel for any suggestions, and she advised that we go to Formentera island. At that point, we never came across Formentera on the internet when we were planning the trip, so we were intrigued by the suggestion. She explained to us that we had to pay for a ferry ticket to get to the island, and from there we had to rent a bike in order to get to the sandbar. It sounded like a great plan and a great way to see more of Ibiza, so we bought our ferry tickets and went on our way.
The ferry ride only took about 15-20 minutes from Ibiza port to Formentera port. From the port, we rented bikes since we were told that the sandbar was on the other side of the island. There was also an option to rent a car or a motorcycle, but neither of us had an international license nor the budget for it. In a way, I guess it was a blessing in disguise because the bike track had the most beautiful view of the island that was almost too good to be true. After almost 30 minutes of biking with a couple of water breaks in between, we finally arrived at the sandbar. It was probably the most beautiful beach that I’ve ever seen in my life. The water was crystal clear, and the sand was the whitest I’ve ever seen. Yachts were also present in the horizon. There was a lot of people in the beach with their own umbrellas and towels, but there was plenty of room for everyone. I remember taking a dip in the water with my friend, talking about how ridiculously lucky and blessed we were to be able to visit places like that at such a young age. It was really surreal to be in such a beautiful place just to take a moment to detach from reality and relax.
THE REAL IBIZA EXPERIENCE
Four days didn’t feel like it was enough time to really explore the beauty of Ibiza. It’s easy to get carried away by the different kinds of nightlife that Ibiza has to offer, which led us to sleeping in and missing the breakfast, only to be fully ready to go out mid-afternoon, when it’s already too hot to go outside. My friend and I quickly realized that rest should have been part of the itinerary. There’s so much to do on the island that the tendency is to keep filling up your schedule, but I wish that we could’ve had more time so we could afford to slow down the pace of the trip. Nevertheless, our time spent there was more than enough to have a good grasp on what it’s really like in Ibiza.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no riot every night in the clubs and maybe we were just lucky and blessed, but the “party people” of Ibiza aren’t as crazy as everyone perceived them to be. Everyone is just there to have fun. The locals too, are very nice and accommodating that they too want to make sure that your Ibiza experience is catered to your preference. Whether you feel like splurging or finding a way to have fun but stay on a budget, there’s always something for you in Ibiza.
After my trip, I honestly couldn’t figure out why people had this crazy notion about Ibiza, but I’m glad — also probably incredibly lucky — that my friend and I only had good memories from the island. Ibiza is a great place to celebrate your youth. And while that island might not be everyone’s idea of fun, it definitely is much tamer than what everyone makes it out to be.