The third and final destination of my seaside city mini tour was Ibiiiiiiiza! (I always say it in my head like that, given the nature of the city.) Ibiza had been on my bucket list for a while, but for some reason, I didn't see it happening until way down the line. It was a bit surreal to actually be touching down on the little Spanish island of all things hedonistic.
I’m a sucker for island life and I live for checking off cities around the world that I've partied in -- here was the most appropriate place to indulge in both.
We made our way by bus to Giramundo Hostel after arriving to the Ibiza airport and went to go check in at the reception desk. We needed our passports in order to finalize our booking, but mine seemed to have disappeared from my purse. It wasn't in my carry on either. I ravaged through both bags multiple times, but couldn't find it anywhere.
[Cue near heart-attack]
When I realized I really didn't have it, I could only hope that it hadn't been stolen. I prayed it was left at the airport, where a flight attendant could have recovered it, rather than on the bus. Nervous out of my mind, I called the airline that we flew on. THANKFULLY, they told me they found it on the plane and that it would be there at the airline's desk for me. Venturing back out to the airport was a hassle, but certainly nowhere near as stressful as losing my passport altogether would have been. Phew. Relief isn't the word for what I felt when I made it to the Vueling's desk before it closed and had my precious passport back in my hands.
I loved the concept of our new place, Hostal Giramundo. Giramundo means "around the world;" the hostel drew emphasis on the combined spirit of many travelers from all walks of life, with each of its bedrooms themed after a different country. Ours was room Jamaica, a nicely sized 6-bed mixed dorm with a private bathroom and a terrace just outside our room. It was painted in a bright yellow hue with pops of red and green, decked in Bob Marley posters, and accented with little dreadhead trinkets -- I was totally here for all of its rasta.
I don’t know what most of the other rooms look like, but I’m pretty sure the Jamaican themed retreat is the exact room I would have chosen if given free pick. Not to mention the fact that my hairstyle of choice had been faux locs -- it didn’t take much for me to channel my inner Marley, and to know that every little thing was gonna be alright.
The hostel, covered in a vibrantly painted full-building mural, offered a welcoming, easygoing atmosphere. It was truly an around the world type of place; the guests there were as diverse as the rooms, and we met travelers from soo many different countries. I thought it was crazy that we ran into our Canadian friend Al, who I mentioned was also the very first person we met at our hostel in Barcelona! Neither party knew that the other was headed to the same exact place after leaving Sonar.
The roommates we had were the icing on the cake -- absolutely my favorites yet. Three of them were Malek, a fabulous soul from Boston traveling Europe before beginning med school; and David and Winnie, a guy+gal pair of friends on a 6 month long round the world stint from Perth, Australia. They were the type of people you meet and feel like you’ve known for years. We all became ‘besties’ within minutes and spent our couple of days together having the time of our lives. I can't put into words how easy it was fall into step, to feel at home, even though the visit was so short.
You’re expected to party each night non-stop in Ibiza. Shana and I came to the consensus, however, to go against the grain by chilling out for our first night in town and just hanging around the hostel. With the island’s hottest parties costing upwards of €30/$40 each, I didn’t mind saving a few coins and saving my energy for the full few days ahead.
By the next day, I was refueled and oh so ready for all shenanigans. First, I needed a pretty beach in my life. The day that we got there, it was a little on the cool side and a bit glum. The skies had cleared the next day though, answering my prayers for sunshine and perfect beach weather.
Our hostel was only a five minute walk away from Santa Eulalia Beach.
My heart melted as soon as the sparkling ocean came into view.
Lisbon and Barcelona’s beaches were okay, but they didn’t really have the clear, brilliant blue water that I live for. It was a different story in Ibiza. Its picturesque, subtle turquoise-blue waves reminded me of the Caribbean, where I first fell in love with beautiful beaches. My roomies and I spent the morning soaking up the sun, enjoying a delicious meal with an equally delicious ocean view, and revving up for the turn up that was to come.
It was a Wednesday, and the only place to be was at the gorgeous Ushuaïa Beach Hotel. The luxury resort had just kicked off their summer season of poolside parties a week before. Its newly launched Wednesday lineup called Departures featured Anthony Atalla, Alesso, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell. At the time, I admittedly was probably the only traveling soul on the island who had no idea who these DJs were or what the hype was all about. Then I learned that these guys are some of the biggest names in dance music (the two headliners Ingrosso and Axwell having come from ultra-popular Swedish House Mafia) and apparently, I would not be disappointed.
The bunch of us walked to Ushuaïa from Giramundo, which was about a 30 minute walk away. It was a really nice walk with a beautiful view along the beach, and it wasn’t too hot. We stopped at a bar along the way for a round of cocktails and shots to pregame before heading in.
We were thrilled when we got to Ushuaïa and saw how expansive the beach club was. It was an amazing open-air venue. The resort looked dreamy, the stage was fit for an all-out concert, and the area surrounding the pool -- aka the entire dance floor -- was huge.
I just remember wrapping ourselves in the crowd as it grew and letting the intoxicating energy take over. Enthralling electronic sounds boomed out of massive speakers as every DJ from the star studded lineup spun perfect mixes during their set. The crowd was on fire. Taking that and adding in all of the lights (it's fascinating how a rave just isn't a rave without proper technicolor light shows), all I could think was
"THIS IS THE BEST FREAKING PARTY EVER!!"
We were on the same side of the island as the airport, so all the Ibiza arrivals and 'Departures' soared above us, making the party's namesake clear in a cool way. There was something dope about looking up to the planes and seeing them so close just before they landed. I can only imagine how insane the party must have looked from above.
One thing I enjoy about partying overseas is that people aren't there just to stunt and/or look cute, but to actually let loose and have fun. There wasn't anyone around us who looked like they weren't having a good time. We lived it up from the time we got there around 5:00pm, when it was still bright outside, throughout dusk and after the sky transformed into a nighttime navy blue, until 10:00pm. My body wouldn't let me do anything except dance the day away, with Shana and our adopted Australian sister Winnie by my side for every minute. For lack of better words, we were lit!
Elsewhere in Ibiza:
Loved this art at a Thai-themed restaurant and art gallery we went to. Thailand has a permanent special place in my heart.
Soleado Baleares restaurant - last meal in ibiza
Ibiza will eat away your euros quick, fast, and in a hurry, but it's nearly impossible to say the memories wouldn't be worth it. It's an epic island with unforgettable clubs and chaotic nights spent dancing with strangers all over the world. It's a place every twenty something world traveler should experience at least once. The next time I go back, I want to see more of the island, and to be more financially stacked so I can splurge a little. I wasn't ready to return home at the end of my 12 days, but my wallet sure was. I know many more European adventures lay ahead of me... and hopefully soon!
Read the full story: My Graduation Escapade: Traveling Across the World with a Stranger; Budget Breakdown: What Two Weeks in Europe Cost Me; Checking in: Becoming Acquainted with Hostel Life (Yes! Lisbon); Charmed by Lisbon & Saint Anthony's Festival; Bar-Say-Lona Lovin' | Sónar Music Festival; Beaching, Biking, and Basking Barcelona.