Ibiza Island Tour highlights

by Alison Cummings

May 2009
[ Ibiza, Spain travel photos ]

Portinatx: Luc, the sea, and lighthouse.

Alison: Given the size of the island, there really is no excuse not to take and Ibiza Island Tour. And there are about five options. Our Island Tour ¬†left at 8 a.m., and returned at 6 p.m. Cost is reasonable at $45 Cdn a person. Just don’t get suckered by the promise of some pit-cooked meal of regional meat savouries. What you will likely get, as we did, is a paper plate of baked chicken and a potato with your choice of soda or tap beer served up at one of the requisite tourist stops. Lemon meringue pie extra.

Luc: Ya, and sitting on plastic chairs around a round wooden picnic table in 30 degree sun in a courtyard that is 10m x 10m with a so “amazing view on a rose garden.” Some English entrepreneur really drink too much tea. Avoid. In Portugal, for 150$, we did hired a professional tour guide with her Mercedes to drive us from Porto to Lisboa with several stops, one of them at a farm (with meal and local wine). Try this formula in Ibiza. Good trick, ask the hotel’s concierge.

Alison: But food is really less than secondary to the chance to experience the island backroads and hear about what makes and breaks its key industries of tourism and agriculture. Our trip featured 5 stops: Las Salinas, Sant Josep, Portinatx, Sant Antoni and Santa Eulalia. Each are unique in landscape and personality.

Las Salinas
Alison: Outside of Ibiza Town/Eivessa, the first site of interest was Las Salinas, both a resort town and home to salt mines. We got a look at the large, open flat salt beds and walked up an abandoned rail leading to an old mine. Most interesting was hearing the guide explain the process of how salt is made.

If you crave a beach but want more solitude, this is the best choice. The environment is relaxed, almost sleepy. A charming town. I really liked it. Our guide said it is a celebrity haven, mentioning some famous names that own villa vacation homes.

At one point on our way to Sant Josep, the guide pointed to a heavy mist settling over what she had hoped would have been a magical view of the Spanish mainland. Usually the fog isn’t so heavy, but given the region, really varies. No matter, it was still enchanting.

San Josep Church, Ibiza, Spain.

San Josep Church organ pipes.

Sant Josep
Alison: High on a hill. Stop was mainly to see the church, built in 1731. But I could not take it inside for long. Really musty, moldy smelling. Did not seem healthy to stay too long. Luc stayed on to take some photos, while I did some window shopping.

Luc: Glad you mentioned this, because I was gonna make this precision.

Alison: There is a gold trinket store nearby, but prices are high. Some attractive stores with a selection of crafts and home items, but was not really interested.

Sant Antoni
Alison: Have to admit, was sorely disappointed once we entered what is the second largest beach resort on the island. Tone was set by what could best be described as a distorted, wintergreen Life-Saver smack dab in the centre of town. Turns out there was even a contest (ouch!) to determine the best design. The monument, entitled Columbus’ Egg has a story. But sorry folks, we could not, would not, photograph it. Even after three opportunities, same conclusion: No way.

Begs the question: So who has his sperm?

Not such a bizarre question, given that in our relatively short vacation history, we have been to two other locations that boasted of having appropriated one or another of Columbus’ body parts, one particularly specific about having, well any how … Should this be a criteria for our next vacation? A unifying thread cross our future posts?

To continue in this smutty vein, we came across the most offensive holiday postcards I have ever seen. And some of the sleaziest sex toys. Not that we sought this stuff out. The postcards are right there in the sidewalk turnstyle, so effectively mixed in with the “normal” ones that you literally flinch when your hand inadvertently brushes one. Take a wrong turn in what appears to be standard min-mart and whooah! Ceiling to floor Halloween erotica.

Alison: The portion of the trip from Sant Antoni to Portinatx was beautiful. We went through the country region of Es Pla de Corona. Winding hilly roads with orchards of olive, apricot and almond trees. And a bird’s-eye view of some amazing villas. Much of the area is protected, with landowners restricted from further development. Preservationists are highly sensitive to protecting wildlife and forestry and putting in place measures that guard against soil erosion – a serious concern. At one time, the area’s youth could not make a living and were forced to leave to find work, some selling the family land.

Our guide pointed to the large vats near all the houses, confirming that they are used to collect rainwater, which is purified and used by the occupants. Additions were often made to accommodate two-to-three generation families under one roof. Restrictions now prevent such additions, the major renovations evident in some of the work done by wealthier homeowners coming prior to this law.

Portinatx S'Arenal Petit Beach, Ibiza, Spain,

Portinatx S'Arenal Petit Beach, Ibiza, Spain,

Alison: Next stop as North as you can go on the island. About 30 kilometers from Ibiza Town. Was not sure what to expect. Looked fairly consistent to what we had seen so far. Fishing boats in small, enclosed bay. Hilly town with small selection of tourist shops and cafes. There are three beaches in Portinaxt: S’Arenal Gros, S’Arenal Petit and Playa Porto Beach. The first two are very nice, but we were hoping the 10-minute walk to get to the cliffs at Playa Porto would bring something new and different. And it did. Really lovely. Scrubby landscape, rough rocky hills. Definitely happy to have worn tennis shoes to help in bounding from one rock to another – and to get traction. Not so easy posing for photos in shorts. Like sitting on coral, hence my pained expression.

Sent Luc off to an area two levels over to get a “perspective” photo. Then proceed to lose him. With his khaki shirt and shorts, he seemed to blend right in … plus the sun was right in my eyes. I resort to calling out to him, asking him to wave his arms. Finally, two skinny leggies in whites socks and deck shoes come into view.

Santa Eulalia
Alison: Slower paced than Ibiza Town or Sant Antoni, Santa Eulalia is charming. Great for families. Our stop was brief, affording a quick stroll down the main square and a peak at the boardwalk. Then it is back “home” to Hotel Garbi in Ibiza Town. All in all, a very good investment. Learned some interesting facts about Ibiza and saw the countryside first hand. Great guide who deserved more than she received from some of the participants who did not tip.

{ 1 comment }

1 Fabiana February 4, 2015 at 8:12 pm

I loved this. This is a great resource for me, I am planning a trip to Ibiza and you mentioned a couple of places I might be interested in.

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