The island. The myth. The legend.
Ibiza was one of my long-shot bucket list destinations. You know, one of those places you’d love to get to, but realistically, it probably won’t happen. I remember opening up an issue of Travel + Leisure that featured a picture of the most amazing emerald body of water and if you squinted really hard, you could see a tiny person floating in the center. I think I even snapped a pic and posted it to Instagram with a caption like, “I can only hope to go here one day.” To my surprise, the article made Ibiza seem charming and slow-paced. It inspired this thirty-something to make Ibiza a reality despite the party reputation of the island.
Don’t get me wrong. We love us some EDM and our absolute favorite cult film, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, is all about a DJ in Ibiza. However, I wanted a well-rounded trip that incorporated history, club life and plenty of beach and sea time. When I lined up a couple of presentations at yet another international conference in Porto, Portugal, Spain was the natural destination to tack on to the business trip. But as it worked out, I wasn’t going to have enough time to give the mainland of Spain the attention it deserved. Visiting the island of Ibiza would be a great add-on and the picture perfect place for me and my husband to celebrate our ten year anniversary.
Because, let’s face it, we aren’t getting any younger.
After lots of research, (see how I plan trips here) I decided to stay in the area known as Paseo Maritimo. This gave us a lazy, resort vibe during the day; think couples looking to let their hair down and families with well-behaved children. We also lucked out with the perfect view of old town and our accommodations were walking distance to Pacha, where we would get our legendary club experience.
Our home for the week was the Hotel Roca Mar, a family run hotel perched atop a small rolling hill with the marina to the front and the beaches of Cala Talamanca behind. The hotel offers clean, white rooms with fun neon lighting and roomy, tiled showers. We had a small balcony, with enough room for both of us to sit and take in the views of the unbelievable skies over the main town of Ibiza. They were happy to provide towels for the beach and easily arranged a rental car for us for a few days. Each morning began with one of the best breakfast spreads I’ve had and made-to-order espresso beverages on their airy outdoor patio. We checked in on social media and caught up on the news while watching the skippers getting their yachts ready for the day’s adventures.
|Top of Old Town|
Our first expedition consisted of walking to Old Town Ibiza (sometimes spelled Eivissa) also known as Dalt Vila. Life definitely slows down once you enter the medieval fort walls. It’s a place where old meets new. The town square of Placa de la Vila is white-washed with royal blue trim and vibrant pink bougainvillea climbing the walls. Shops and eateries line the narrow corridors. I bought our daughter the most perfect white crochet and linen maxi dress at a little dress shop run by a man from Cuba. There’s a cathedral from the 1500s and apartments with locals and visitors coming and going. Just outside the walls you can find souvenir shops and restaurants overflowing with olives, Estrella beer and Paella. Most evenings, a flea market pops up (after a proper siesta, of course) and a lively nightlife begins to stir.
|View from our balcony|
|Celebrating 10 years|
The beach of Cala Talamanca is one of those places where you can spend all day and all evening. We pretty much did just that on more than one occasion. A long winding boardwalk divides the perfectly sandy beaches from a wide variety of places to have lunch (go with the pizza!) while digging your toes into the sand. The water at this particular beach was equally welcoming for wading, swimming or paddle boarding, for which lessons and rentals are available. I could have literally sat there all day with a pitcher of sangria and watched the late afternoon sun turn the water into a sparkly blanket.
|World Famous sunset at sea, near San Antonio|
While planning the trip, and just by chance, I was put in touch with a friend’s sister who had traveled to Ibiza often while studying and working abroad. She usually stayed with a friend on his catamaran, from which he chartered days at sea for eager travelers. The smartest move we made on this trip was booking a half day on the catamaran. We drove out to the other side of the island, to the Cala Bassa Beach Club, had lunch and then were met by Captain Jose and his beautiful vessel. Let me tell you- there is no more intoxicating feeling than laying on the net of the front of a catamaran as you cruise through the Mediterranean waters in the afternoon sun. We stopped at picturesque rock formations, jumped into the crystal waters and jammed out with some Euro tunes. There’s a reason there are not many pictures of our cruise. It’s one of those periods of time that you get lost in the moment and soak in every second, wishing it could last forever. Jose is one of those rare individuals that is so kind and so genuine that you get the impression that there are hundreds of people around the world who hold him in their hearts as an essential part of their beloved travel memories. To end the day, Jose guided the boat to the area off the coast of San Antonio for one of the most famous places in the world to watch the sunset. If you can’t witness the end of the day from the sea, Cafe Mambo is also a common gathering spot to watch the magic with a crowd.
After dinner and a much needed nap, we ventured back out into the hot night air and danced with the beautiful people at Club Pacha, one of the most popular clubs in Ibiza AKA the clubbing capitol of the world. Pacha has a different theme every night, often featuring any number of the most famous DJs in the world on rotation throughout the week, including David Guetta and Steve Aoki.
|Bambuddha for dining under the stars|
The next day, we left the fog of the club life behind and drove up the coast to the sleepy beach town of Cala Llonga to see some of the spots from the film, It’s All Gone Pete Tong. For those of you familiar with the movie, we did not drink scotch (neat) all day, but we did locate that restaurant. For the rest of you- go watch it. Now. I picked up some great souvenirs here. A leather flower ring, a small colorful Buddha to add to my worldly collection. One more gorgeous dress for the girl. We had fresh mozzarella and tomato salads and pizza with a sea of blue fringe umbrellas laid out before us.
The perfect cure to one mean hangover.
Ibiza was so much more than I had in my mind. A little bit of everything all wrapped up into one tiny, perfect pinpoint on the Mediterranean Ocean. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful place to spend the week with my partner in life and I could actually see us returning with our daughter for a once in a lifetime family getaway. And you by no means need a pill to have the time of your life here.