If Ibiza is an island tailor-made for hedonistic heroics, then the resort of San Antonio is surely its pumping heart. Let us take you on a tour of the nucleus of Europe’s most renowned party island…
San Antonio neighbourhoods
While not for the fainthearted, the West End,with its cluster of Irish pubs and theme bars teeming with young, up-for-it Brits, is the place to go for a night of excess with prices closer aligned to UK wallets than most of the white island. Akwa has its Baywatch barmaids and Delilah’s is a popular place to watch big screen footie.
San Antonio Bay has a more relaxed vibe, with an attractive promenade, quieter beaches and waterfront eateries like Playa Pinet and Jamaican bar Reggae Beach, which hosts a cool runnings Sunday barbeque.
On the Sunset Strip, Café Del Mar -the spiritual home of ‘chill-out’ – is a surprisingly low-key spot to toast the day’s slow slide into night and nowadays vies for trade with a clutch of buzzier bars on the strip, like dining-friendly Savannah, Pacha-endorsed Mambo and the poolside Kanya that pack out early with pre-clubbing crowds.
In terms of clubs, San Antonio is generally more of a lively warm-up place than a key destination in its own right, but it is home to both Gatecrasher (previously known as Eden) and Es Paradis, while the likes of Amnesia, Space and Pacha are no more than a twenty minute cab ride away. Also worth a mention is newcomer Ocean Beach Club, which opened in 2012 bringing some of the hottest outdoor pool parties from the likes of Hed Kandi and Ibiza Spray, a decadent champagne spray affair.
If you’ve not had your fill of clubbing by night, you must experience an Ibiza boat party, a daytime phenomenon which has really taken off in recent years. Most of the island’s best high tide knees-ups depart from San An, including the Pukka Up Boat Party, which sets sail three times a week with everyone from Radio One’s Scott Mills to Skrillex on board, and Ibiza Rocks the Boat, with guest appearances from the likes of Labrinth and Example.
San Antonio’s main beach is S’Arenal, a busy half kilometre long stretch that presents a wide array of adrenaline-charged watersports, including jet skiing, kite surfing, banana boat rides, scuba diving and even parascending. If you want to let loose and have a splash, this is where to come.
Whether you’re craving tapas, Chinese, pizza, Tex Mex, meat feasts or sushi you’ll have little troubling finding it in San Antonio, with dozens of options and most of the bigger terrace bars taking trouble to assemble appetizing plates to fuel long nights ahead.
At the finer end of the fork we’d flag up Cala Gracioneta, serving up authentic Ibicean cuisine in a tiny cove setting with live gypsy music, and Villa Mercedes, an affordable culinary oasis offering refined seafood and Mexican treats.
When the time comes for that essential morning-after full English, you can’t go far wrong at Fatso’s Café on the Strip, or for those on a health kick, detox with zingy salads and smoothies at Rita’s Cantina near the Ferry Port.