What Ibiza Is Really Like

You’ve heard the Pitbull songs.

I’m talking about Ibiza, Spain.

Ibiza is a small island off the coast of Valencia that is known for its nightlife and crazy clubs.

I can attest to that.

I backpacked around Europe with my best friend in 2011 and we decided that Ibiza was a must see. Plus, we’d be there for my 20th birthday.


I should mention that backpacking can be very hard on you.  We tried to visit as many places as we could, in a very short time span.  “Doing” Rome and Prague in two days is not nearly long enough, and carrying around a heavy load on your back while trying to get help from non-English speakers can be, erm, tough. But, don’t get me wrong – I love travelling more than anything else.

So we eventually made it to Spain.  First we visited Barcelona, then Valencia, and from there we took a ferry to Ibiza. Before going you have to decide what side of the island you want to stay on, either San Antonio or Playa D’en Bossa. We didn’t know the difference and heard San Antonio was more of a party spot, so we decided to go there and stay at Hostel Roca.

When me and my friend Jasmine arrived, it was around 8 pm on a Friday –  peak drinking time.  It was a surreal experience. People in their late teens and mid twenties were about the only people we saw. There were no kids, and definitely no one over 30. Everyone looked… like a party animal. Basically every girl I saw looked like they were from a Ke$ha video, with a painted face and little to no clothing.  I remember seeing one girl wearing full leopard body paint with glittery angel wings. Everyone was drinking in the street, screaming and singing, and no one batted an eye – this was the norm here.

The island was beautiful, with beaches everywhere and leafy palm trees scattered about the roads.  Daytime in Ibiza is very serene, mostly people lounge around the beaches or eat hangover food in the shade and take advantage of siestas (afternoon naps). There was a main bus depot in the middle of San Antonio that took you all around the island so you could check out one of their many beaches.

A beach we went to.

We discovered that you had to buy nightclub tickets at stores in San Antonio before going or prices were jacked up at the door, and the cheapest tickets here were 60 EUR ($80 Canadian ish), and went up to 150 EUR. Ouch. I think I naively thought that we’d get deals for being “girls” but that wasn’t the case.

Hmm, it was going to be hard to be frugal in a place like this. Luckily my crappy credit card worked and we bought tickets to Pacha, the island’s most expensive, and arguably best club for that night.

So that night we bought some sangria, and headed to the bus depot where buses came to take people to all the nightclubs.  It turned out to be about a 30 minute ride.

Pacha was amazing, you could get lost in it, and we did.  I made a Russian friend named Kat, so me her and Jasmine stuck together and surprise surprise, drinks were 20 EUR! I had a looming nervousness that we were in over our heads, and were partying amongst all these rich people – when in reality we were the poorest of backpackers and I was quickly racking up credit card debt with $0 to my name, yikes.

The club really was unreal though, to this day it was my greatest party experience. There were multiple levels and rooms that played different types of music, and naked dancers were everywhere.  I was careful not to drink too much, because if I was the least bit out of it getting lost and not finding my way back to the hostel was frighteningly easy.

Me, Jasmine and Kat in Pacha.

Me, Jasmine and Kat in Pacha.

The next night we went to a foam party… in hind site, that was a mistake. We met our Russian friend at her hotel and all pre-gamed together before taking the bus to Amnesia, one of Ibiza’s most popular superclubs, with residents including Paul Van Dyk and Deadmau5.  Also, it was rumoured that MTV was filming there during that week. (I didn’t follow up.) We got there at about 12:30 and it seemed to take forever for the foam to start.  But boy, around 3 am, did it come.

At first, it wasn't that bad.

At first, it wasn’t that bad.

I almost died.

(This blog post is getting very negative, it really was a cool experience. Just never go to an Ibiza foam party, please.)

Soapy foam was shooting from every angle,  it stung my eyes so badly that I could hardly even open them.  My makeup was running down my face, it was getting hard to breathe and men would run by trying to rip my dress off.  I was falling everywhere; I felt terrible for girls with heels, and we literally were grappling at whatever we could for dear life. My friend was screaming trying to find me, it felt like we were choking. 

We eventually got outside, found a legitimate taxi, and 40 EUR later we were back home at Hostel Roca.

The deathly foam!
The deathly foam!

Ibiza was very cool, but maybe not the best for a backpacking stop.


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