Posted by Cila Warncke
Originally published in DJ Magazine Ibiza Edition 2008
1. Look both ways
Traffic runs on the right-hand side of the road here. Whether on foot or in a hire car an unexpected encounter with a fast-moving moto will ruin your holiday.
2. Take the bus
Everything else in Ibiza is “mañana, mañana” but the buses arrive and depart with Prussian regularity. You can zip between Ibiza Town and San An or Santa Eularia in 20 minutes, for a mere €1.65 (compared to €20 in a taxi) or hop on the Disco Bus to Amnesia or Privilege for €2.10, saving yourself the cost of a vodka limon.
3. Go to Underground
The tagline on its website reads “not for everyone” but that’s precisely why you should spend at least one night partying at this converted 200-year-old farmhouse. It’s a second home for the island regulars so the best place to pick up gossip or news about the coolest villa parties.
4. Go to a local café
Spanked your MasterCard buying shots at Pacha? Seek out the Ibicenco equivalent of a greasy spoon and enjoy a three-course meal with a drink for under a tenner. Also, Spanish laborers are partial to a beer or chupito with their breakfast so workerman’s cafés are an ideal place for a sneaky post-club bevy.
5. Have a drink at Teatro Pereyra
The drink prices are daunting (watch out for the €50 bottles of wine) but you have to visit this red-velvet venue at the end of Vara De Rey at least once for its live music and retro ambiance.
6. Hire a chef…
You’re in a villa full of hungry people more adept at frying their brains than frying eggs. Why not pool your resources and call for help? Catering companies like Le Grande Bouffe will whip up dinner, or provide a fabulous beachside picnic – for less money and hassle than doing it yourself.
7. Try vino payes from the source
There are polished local wines on offer in restaurants and shops but for an authentic taste of the island visit a vineyard like Can Pep (Sant Llorenc) or Can Rich (San An) and ask for a slug of vino payes – the Ibicenco vintner’s version of homebrew. Quality varies wildly by year and ‘yard but it’s better than the €2 bilge at Spar.
8. Talk to bar staff
They’re more than just drink dispensers, you know. If you’re looking for a great underground party go chat to Dave and Duze at Lo Cura or make friends with Steve or Sophie at Delano. Curious about island history? Miguel at Marino is a walking encyclopedia of local lore.
9. Take a barbeque to Sant Llorenc
Don’t spend your whole holiday living on ham & cheese baguettes – get out of town and up to the tiny village of Sant Llorenc to its municipal park/barbeque spot. There are picnic tables, individual bbq pits and even firewood.
10. Make sure you have your EHIC card
Hopefully you won’t need it but be sure to get your European Health Insurance Card before you fly. It entitles you to free emergency medical treatment (and Spain’s top-notch state health service puts the NHS to shame, so you’ll be in good hands).
11. Embrace Eroski
With its red white and blue logo Eroski looks more like a petrol station than a grocery store but it’ll save your budget. They do freshly baked bread, inexpensive booze, nice produce and their own-brand toiletries will bail you out if you forgot the wash bag.
12. Dance to cheese on the Sunset Terrace
Now the Space terrace is just another box with a roof and windows go catch the last remaining vestiges of the open-air vibe on the sunset terrace. Tom Novy, a resident for going on 15 years, will play the most appalling cheese imaginable and but somehow the extra dose of sunshine makes it bearable.
13. Get invited to a villa party
You haven’t lived till you’ve gotten off your head at a stranger’s country house… and with the strict opening hours laws in effect this season villa parties will be the only way to go. To snare an invite strike up conversations with the regulars at the bars in the old town.
14. Wear fancy dress
Embrace the un-coolness of wonky glasses, comedy wigs and outrageous charity shop castoffs. Look like a plum? Who cares! It’s Ibiza. Put on your weirdest clobber and take to the dancefloor with pride.
15. Get a tattoo
Perhaps it’s something to do with the general air of live-and-let-live liberalism, but Ibiza has more tattoos per capita than most prisons and great tattoo artists as well. For a permanent reminder of your perfect island summer visit Sandra at Tiki Tattoo who creates one-of-a-kind Tahitian tribal designs, or head to Inkadelic in the Mercado Viejo where Luca specialises in gorgeous script.
16. Hang out at Ocean Drive
The DJ hotel of choice, Ocean Drive at the end of Marina Botafoc is the perfect place to gatecrash debauched after-hours parties. Every weekend its full of the We Love… line-up and Pacha regulars so get down to the bar, blend in, and see where the night takes you.
17. Have a pizza at Punto.It
It’s approximately the size of a phone box but this pizzeria on the main drag in Figueretes dishes up the most delicious, authentic Neapolitan pizzas imaginable. Can’t be bothered to leave your apartment? They deliver too, just call +34 971 39 30 67.
18. Stock up on Saturday
Ibiza shuts down on Sundays so get in plenty of water, booze, loo roll and Rizla the day before. There’s nothing worse than rolling home after a heavy night to find your apartment fridge empty apart from jar of mayonnaise and a half-drunk tin of San Miguel.
19. Experience the ice cannon at Amnesia
You haven’t lived until you’ve stood in the pulsating centre of the main room at Amnesia, blinded by the lights and suddenly felt the temperature drop from 35 degrees to zero as the ice cannon belch out a blast of dry ice. It’s the best rush on the island, even stone-cold sober.
20. Get a massage on the beach
It’ll help shift the toxins and lactic acid produced by a heavy night’s raving and give you the energy boost you need to enjoy the next party.
21. Hire a mountain bike
Cheat traffic by hiring at bike. It’s the best way to get to Salinas or Es Cavallet during the height of the season, and if you fancy getting away from it all head inland towards Sant Llorenc or Sant Mateu for a relaxing ride in the countryside.
22. Get in the swim
There’s no call to learn open water swimming in England but it’d be a crime not to take advantage of Ibiza’s the crystalline shallows. Brush up on your skills and confidence with an hour or two of personalized coaching from Ibiza Swim.
23. Drink hierbas
Make like one of the locals and finish off your meal with a chupito (shot) of hierbas, the traditional Ibicenco licquer. It tastes a like a sweeter, milder Sambucca and is strangely, addictively refreshing.
24. Learn enough Spanish to order a cab
Radio taxi dispatchers in Ibiza are known for their zero-tolerance, especially at the height of the season. Speaking English will get you nowhere so remember this phrase: “Quiero un taxi desde (where you are) a (where you want to go), por favor.” It’s your only hope.
25. Go diving at Punta Galera
This rocky stretch of coastline at the end of San An bay is a fantastic place for diving. And the lack of a sand beach means it’s never crowded, even in mid-summer.
26. Eat fruit from the tree
We’re not suggesting climbing any fences to steal oranges (tempting though it might be if you’re down to your last 10 euros) but if you happen upon a fruit tree in the campo there is nothing more delicious than a freshly picked, sun-warmed fig or Clementine.
27. Share a taxi with a random
Shed your British inhibitions about talking in queues and find out who else is headed your way. It saves time, money, the environment and is good karma to boot.
28. Wine spritzers
Mixing good wine with fizzy water feels wrong somehow, but after a couple of stonking hangovers you’ll begin to see why Ibicencos regularly dilute their vino with a dash of agua con gas. It stops you drinking too quickly and – most importantly – keeps dehydration from sneaking up and wrecking havoc with your head.
29. Know the police
There are three police forces in Ibiza: local, national and the Guardia Civil. The local police are in charge of safety and public order, not drugs or violent crime. So remember who’s who, mind your manners around all of them and, if you’re unlucky enough to be involved in an incident, remember you’ll need to report it to the Guardia – not the local police.
30. Count on the chemist — 24/7
You can get almost anything over the counter in Spanish chemists for aches, pains, itches or ailments, including contraception and antibiotics. Be aware some medications are expensive without a prescription, though. Chemists operate a 24-hour rota system so there’s always one open.
31. In case of emergency…
There are two numbers you need to know: 112 – the standard Spanish emergency number — and +34 971 301 818 which connects you to the British Consulate, which can help with lost passports, legal issues and financial crisis (email: BritishConsulate.Ibiza@fco.gov.uk)
32. Buy a memory stick for your camera
Half the fun of coming to Ibiza is being able to taunt your friends back home with endless Facebook albums of your wild nights and sun-soaked days. Don’t spoil the fun for yourself by running out of memory space on day five.
33. Get a Spanish SIM card
They are about five euros each and mean you can receive calls from home for free and if everyone in your group gets one you’ll save a mint on those “I’m on the terrace mate, where are you?” texts.
34. Embrace locutorios
These cheap and cheerful internet cafés are the best place to pop in and check your email, or make a phone call. They also sell snacks, beer and cold drinks – which comes in handy at odd hours or on Sundays when the ordinary shops are shut.
35. Go to a market (but not Es Canar)
The “hippie market” at Es Canar makes Southend look like St Tropez. Avoid it at all costs. For an authentic market experience head to the Saturday morning car boot sale at the Hippodrome in Sant Jordi or to chic boho hangout Las Dalhias.
36. Buy at least one piece of “island clothing” (i.e., trashy, sexy, outrageous)
As far as high street shopping goes Ibiza is a bit of a wasteland so snap up some fabulous piece of Eurotrash gear instead. Diaphanous floral button-down shirt, lads? Feather-trimmed crop top with strategic cutouts, girls? Why not? With a fresh tan, and after a few days on the rave diet, you’ll look great in anything.
37. Arrive at a restaurant by boat
Be a VIP for a day and cast anchor off-shore from one of Ibiza’s super-chic beachfront restaurants. Ex Xarcu (34 971 187867) in Porroig is tops for luxury seafood, or idle off Cala Jondal and have your meal ferried out to you from Café Tropicana.
38. Check out the record stores
Vinyl outposts in a digital world, Ibiza’s record shops are among the best in the world. Satisfy your music cravings at 40-year-old institution Delta Discos for a Balearic-style mix, Industria (run by Inigo and Pepe from La Communidad) for hot underground electronica and techno or M15 for the latest compilation CDs (all in Ibiza Town).
39. Forget Atlantis
Honestly, unless you have a mate who knows exactly where it is the search for this mythical beach is about as fruitless as that for its namesake lost city. You have 80 other amazing beaches to choose from so don’t fritter away your sunshine time trying to find this one.
40. Have a drink at L’Elephant
A total style-magnet, L’Elephant boasts one of the coolest roof terraces on the island. Enjoy a sweeping view of the island as you sip a pre-Amnesia cocktail amidst its chic, minimal furnishings.
41. Jump into a pool with your clothes on
…because you can.
42. Have a close call/get thrown out of somewhere
Today’s catastrophe is tomorrow’s legendary tale. Just ask my mate who is still dining out on the time he got thrown out of Privilege for jumping in the pool, wandered wallet-less into a nearby cow pasture and was next seen slumped over on the back of a random’s scooter, fast asleep, after hitching a ride back to his hotel.
43. BYO to Amnesia
No, you can’t take your own drink in the club but you can do as the local kids do and loiter in the footbridge over the new motorway guzzling rum & coke before actually making your way into the club.
44. Have a tacky night in San An
It’s horrible, leery and full of 18-year-olds from Dagenham or Brum throwing up on each other and flashing their knickers. Er, what’s not to love? Rock on down to San An, get pissed on the cheap and enjoy the inevitable sense of superiority.
45. Take the water taxi to El Divino
Have a couple of drinks at Rock Bar then hop on the boat plying across the marina and arrive at El Divino in style, even if you only stay for a drink on the waterfront terrace.
46. Enjoy the view in the main room at Pacha
For sheer style Pacha is still the club to beat, and they have entertainment to match. Find a spot in the main room and admire the sexy moves and jaw-dropping physiques of their dancers.
47. Start a rumour
Wild rumours are to Ibiza what punch-ups are to Glaswegian pubs: an essential part of the ambiance. Tell your mates you’ve heard that Erick Morillo is going to have a secret all-drag theme party at Burger King, or that they’re going to open the roof at Privilege so Tiesto can sky-dive into the pool on opening night, and see how long it takes to whip around the island.
48. Play spot the DJ – whoever tots up the most wins
They are bloody everywhere, those DJs. Make a game of it (two points for a Space resident, three for anyone sporting a techno ‘tache, etc) and at the end of the week buy the winner a novelty tee-shirt.
49. Be careful with your valuables
It’s tempting to think that nothing bad can ever happen in Ibiza. This, unfortunately, isn’t true. If you don’t want to spend three hours baking in the Guardia Civil shack while some surly Spanish cop remains totally indifferent to the traumatic loss of your camera/money/passport keep your stuff close. You wouldn’t leave your bag on the floor in a bar in London, don’t in Ibiza.
50. Come back…
The worst thing about Ibiza is leaving. Ease the airport blues by planning your return journey ASAP. Whether it’s a “no luggage” two-day jaunt or a week during the off-season you’ll feel better for being able to say, “I’ll be back soon!”