A Mediterranean Dream
Story and Photography by Tony Pupatello
Eivissa (Ibiza), Spain – The White Isle
We touched down shortly before midnight local time on a summer night. It was July of 2017. A “Lucifer” summer, as it was known for being one of the hottest on record. It was a Monday. Yet on any given day during high season, the island’s vibe moves from laid back chillness by day, followed by a robust social scene at night. The only question is what exactly you want out of this historic Balearic Island. Since the early 70’s, Ibiza has been notoriously known for being the “party island”. With a steady tourism boom in decades that followed, it produced some of the biggest and best parties on the planet. These days however, there is a changing tourist climate where Gen X, Y and Z’s, as well as families, couples and people of all ages can now enjoy the many developed parts of the island’s offerings, mainly the Town of Ibiza.
With the electronic music scene remaining strong here, new “go-to” activities have emerged for tourists that can now take advantage of water, land and culture all of which Ibiza has to offer. More recent decades have brought a diverse wave of tourists, allowing luxury yacht goers, chic islanders and backpacking globe trotters to all kind of co-exist. This new wave has broadened the musical landscape and in turn the entire island’s tune itself. In fact, according to booking.com, a recent data poll determined that 47% of all global travelers would happily swap their original destination for a lesser known but similar alternative. The same is said for other parts of Ibiza. You don’t have to come here to go clubbing. In fact, local and regional governments have not only cracked down on safety measures but have executed new agendas alongside the Balearic Regional Tourism Board to promote a more “family and luxury Mediterranean-chic escape”.
However, the grip from the past holds subtle, yet firm, as a getaway reason for much more of a party scene where the options of non-stop drinking in the micro-towns of San Rafael and San Antonio are still very much alive and well. This is where much younger folks tend to hit. Predominantly dedicated to budget backpackers, longer-term beach bums and club-bangers.
Our apartment flat rental was located right in the Ibiza, the convenient gateway to all the island has to offer. Despite walking around most of the town’s historical centre, renting a car or motor scooter is the best way in reaching the island’s many sandy white beach fronts. The next day was a quick car ride to the island’s northwest tip, where we hiked Calla Salada in the Es Pilar area. Then a long walk to Las Dalias Beach, where the crystal clear and clean blue water was our backdrop. Later we hit Playa del Bossa, the island’s main and largest beachfront. Massive in scale, beats play in the background with hotels, restaurants and chic pool sides neck and neck to each other. Packed with tourists, families, where all ages are welcome.
Spending a couple hours strolling through this old school market, you can find arts and crafts and apparel of all sorts. It’s a nice mixed collection of local food and apparel to explore.
For 40 EUR on a Tuesday night, you can attend the world’s largest discotheque. With nearly 10,000 patrons strong, it’s overwhelming once you enter this oxygen-filled mega club. A multi-level facility with several rooms and balconies overlooking the main room where a duet British/German DJ team was opening their first event. After providing your valid ticket at the door (which typically opens just after midnight) you are heavily vetted and searched twice by a security control sequence. The space seamed stadium-like and super grandiose in size. Unlike some crazy overseas parties in the past, I was bracing myself for unknown exposures and expectations. I must say, security cameras, control authorities, fully armed Federal soldiers, stand-by paramedics and undercover security details all roaming around and on guard all provide a sense of well-organized safety and legitimacy.
Well patrolled is an understatement. This club can also boost the biggest, safest party in the world too. This safe environment ensures no funny business goes on in these well-funded establishments. Party, drink, dance and have fun. And very spacious, you can easily move freely without feeling crammed. After roaming around a bit, I found my spot on the main dance floor. The floor gyrated and the acoustically flawless sound system of deep-heavy electronic house beats was emanating from center stage. I actually felt the powerfully loud, clear sound blast through my body on the dance floor, of which you can dance till the mid-morning hours or sometimes even later on!
A short 20min Ferry ride to the slow-paced tranquil island of Formentera, where a severe mo-tor scooter accident in the Es Pujols district sidelined me for most of the day. Nonetheless, we continued our supposedly tranquil days hitting various beach spots and quant chic towns here. It’s a must do, to escape the sometimes-crowded main island. Much older crowds, small town feeling and breathtaking scenery.
All in all, most definitely, a side of the island well worth experiencing!