24 July 2013 to 1 August 2013 - Popping the Ibiza Cherry in 8 Nights


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Once upon a time in the year 2012 in a crazy town called Las Vegas, I met an English girl at a backpacker's hostel who told me all about this musical mecca called Ibiza. This is when the dream began. One year later I ventured forth from my home in Australia and had the most magical and musical time of my life. I travelled with my Belgian friend who I had met in New York the year before.

Like those who came here before me, I live for dance music of all shapes and forms. I don't discriminate against genres - if it moves me, I love it.

My friend was not particularly into dance before we came to Ibiza, but he was open-minded and up for some fun (of course, after Ibiza he is now a massive dance fan). I booked our hotel and almost all of our party tickets in advance via Spotlight, which I highly recommend as it made everything super easy. It also meant not having to worry about budgeting for clubbing nights while we were there.

Before I get into this virgin review, let me just say - if you love clubbing, love music, love life and have an open mind and open heart - go to Ibiza. I firmly believe that there is nothing even remotely like it anywhere else in the world.

Our Arrival on the Promised Land

It is four nights since I arrived in London from Australia. That glorious day I wake up at around 5.30am and travel by train to Belgium where I meet my friend who gives me a personal tour of the main sights of Brussels before our flight.

At about 8:00pm we arrive in Ibiza (surreal!) and the sun is still shining as we take a taxi to Hotel Puchet in San Antonio. We are starving so we walk to an awesome tapas restaurant that my friend had googled, which was located approximately in the middle of nowhere in a secluded part of San An.

Night One - Espuma (Foam Party!) - Amnesia

Upon our return to the hotel, we have a much needed disco nap (helped by the bottle of wine we downed at dinner time) and then drink San Miguel beer on the balcony of our room pretending to enjoy the not-so-beautiful view of other people's balconies. Then, with San Miguel in hand, we walk fifteen to twenty minutes to the bus station to find one of the famous disco busses. When we arrive at Amnesia it's around 2.30am to 3.00am and it's a breeze to get in with our tickets.

First off we find the Terrace where the 'La Troya' party is in full swing, so we get straight to the point and head right into the dance floor and get moving. The lasers are out of this world and there is so much happening all around with a sexy devil dancing up on stage and an evil-looking witch prancing around.

The music is high-energy, hard-hitting, tech-house. I love it and I can't wipe the smile off my face the whole time. The beats are so mad that we stay and dance our feet off before leaving to check out the main room.

The ice cannon in the main room shocks you the first time it blasts down over you with no warning. Those few seconds with the music pumping while the cold smoke wraps around you and blinds you are just blissful and it's impossible not to smile and laugh like a maniac.

Next minute, an electric violinist and an electric saxophone player appear on stage and start tearing the house down with their wicked playing. A moment later my friend is tapping me on the shoulder and turning me around, because the musicians are now standing right behind us! Somehow, I've ended up in the front row of a circle that has formed around them as they play along to the beat of the DJ, song after song! At that very moment I distinctly remember thinking to myself with glee - 'I'm in Ibiza! I'm really here!'. Just when I think things can't get any better, the ice cannon blasts down again and I scream like a kid. To add to the fun, a giant robot starts dancing around the dance floor, getting jiggly with random girls.

After non-stop dancing we go to rehydrate with an eleven euro teeny tiny bottle of water. It's almost 6:00am and I'm hanging out for the foam to start. We're already exhausted after a massive day and my friend wants to go, but there's no way in hell I'm leaving before the main event!

Luckily, five minutes later, the foam hype starts. At that stage we're situated on the step on the edge of the dance floor, looking out over the crowd. A row of bikini-clad girls parade onto the balcony above while "Hot Stuff" plays (it's time to embrace the cheesiness) and a Spanish dude in white pants with long hair starts to hype up the crowd. Instantly, my tiredness vanishes - I'm excited again! They play some cheesy favourites to wind us up like, "We will rock you", and the crowd does this Spanish chant that sounds like something you'd hear at a football game.

Finally, the countdown begins - Tres! Dos! Uno! Espumaaaaaaaaaa! The foam canons blast and so does….Gangnam style. Hey, like I said - embrace the cheesiness. We're here to have fun, not to be music snobs!

As the cannons erupt a hurricane of foam sprays out over the crowd. It's bubbly chaos. I'm absolutely buzzing now and so is every single person around me! I take a video of the foam shower on my phone for five seconds, then I tuck it away safely and say to my friend, "Shall we go in?!", and we get amongst it. Everyone is already so slimy so we easily slither through the packed crowd into the middle.

We can barely see a thing and start to instantly choke on the foam as it gets all in our eyes and mouth. But damn this is fun! Since we can't see and it's difficult to breathe, what do we do? We join in with everyone and start jumping up and down to the music and have the time of our lives!

It soon becomes apparent that the foam is actually lethal to eye balls - it stings like crazy. I wipe and wipe at my eyes but each time I wipe the foam away a new glob lands on me. After dancing blindly for a while, I decide to open my eyes to take a look around at the mayhem. What I see is hilarious - every single person around me, including the shirtless, gorgeous muscle hunks, are also relentlessly wiping away at their stinging eyes. Such a random sight!

After a few minutes the foam is already up to my waist - it's now a gigantic pool of bubbles. We retreat to the edge of the dance floor and find a spot where we can continue to dance in the foam without getting it in our eyes. As I dance on like a crazy woman, a man on the balcony gets my attention and offers me a pair of big goggles and throws them down to me - a very happy moment!

The music tonight was mainly bubblegum-poptastic tunes. I was psyched when they played 'Internet Friends' by Knife Party because I do love me some crazy dub step. The foam eventually subsides, but the music keeps pumping and those left on the dance floor (which is much less crowded now) are still dancing on - my kind of people. Soon afterwards, a dude on the balcony hoses the crowd off while everyone raises their hands begging to be sprayed, so we join in the fun!

I was still going strong, not even close to slowing down, but when it was nearly 7:00am, my friend couldn't make it any longer, so we left. In his defence though, when there is great music pumping loudly I pretty much have limitless energy and happiness! I'm yet to meet my match! When we get outside the sun is shining brightly and it is well and truly day time. It was a brand new day and we were no longer Ibiza virgins!

My friend decided to do business with one of the, shall we say, 'unofficial', taxi drivers. Bad idea! After agreeing to a fifteen euro trip we walk to his bomb of a car and hop in. Then he confirms - "Fifty. Five, zero. Right?". And we're outta there! Instead, we walk over the overpass to the bus stop and freeze our butts off in our wet clothes, not knowing which bus to take and trying but failing to communicate with the Spanish people at the bus stop. Eventually, we head back across the road and just take a regular taxi.

It's 8:00am and we're back at the hotel. We've already had the time of our lives and this is only the beginning! We have no idea how the rest of the week could possibly top this absolutely amazing experience. But we were but innocent little Ibiza virgins until that point, remember. Little did we know!

Day One - Getting familiar with San Antonio

After a few hours of sleep we are awoken by a million irritating loud noises - doors slamming, furniture scraping, suitcases rolling - shut uuuuup! Nevertheless, we don't retreat from our hotel room cave until around 2:00pm when we stroll under the hot Ibizan sun into the bustling San An Centre.

Along the boulevard we are bombarded by drug dealers - those black dudes carrying trays of fake Ray Ban sunglasses. "You want sunglasses?", they ask. We refuse politely. Then, unperturbed by our rejection, they ask, "You need some?"…"You want some weed?"…."How about some Charlie boy?"…etc. Being the Ibiza virgins that we are, it took us a while to realise the sunglasses were only ever a diversion!

By the way, I don't do drugs. I don't care if you do it, or your neighbour does it, or your dog does it. I don't judge and I say live and let live. Even though the dance world is also the drug world, for me personally it's all about the music. I feel that the good thing about Ibiza is that no one really cares if you're on on it or you're not. We're all just here to have fun and let loose, however we may choose to do it!

Anyway, after a massive burger and chips, washed down with Sangria, we meander back to the hotel because we need another disco nap. I had bought the cheaper early tickets to Ushuaia for 'Used and Abused' and we originally had to be there by 4:00pm. That was a massive rookie error - we never ever would have made it there on time, so we were lucky that the tickets we bought had automatically changed a few weeks beforehand to entry anytime for the same price. Before the trip I emailed Ibiza Spotlight when I noticed the change to the party start time and they happily and promptly confirmed that our tickets had become valid for anytime entry.


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Night Two / Part One - Used and Abused - Ushuaia

We were well into the evening by the time we got up and had some cheap and cheerful dinner near the hotel. This is when we learned to stay away from 'happy hour cocktails' at restaurants in San An. They were pre-mix and tasted like sickly sweet, cheap shampoo. And they were warm. It would have been more enjoyable to drink warm mud.

We figured we'd take a bus to Playa Den Bossa. This was disastrous! Somehow, we ended up in Ibiza Town with no idea where to go. Around and around we walked like lost sheep and eventually decided we should just take a taxi, but it was impossible to find one that was available. It got later and later and my friend wanted to give up on getting to Ushuaia. But that was absolutely not an option for me - I was looking forward to Loco Dice too much! Eventually and miraculously we find a taxi and arrive at Ushuaia at 11:00pm with just one hour of partying to spare! I was so happy to get there - better late than bloody never!

As we approach the entrance I can hear that Loco's set is at its peak already - it is banging, deep, glorious techno. As we walk inside the music gets louder with each step and I get pins and needles shooting through my body - it sounds divine.

We head straight for the front section and get into it. It's pretty tight but there's just enough room to be able to dance a bit. Everyone around me is right into it, hands up in the air. Being surrounded by like-minded people enjoying the music feels great. I just love the way the crowd is so up for it. When the techno beat drops, the crowd cheers and whistles. It's a cheer that tells you that the people around you feel the same way you do.

Later, we check out the pool area where there is much more room to move properly and the atmosphere is still super energetic. Back here it's an escape from the cool crowd up the front - it's an escape within an escape!

That night I really discovered how very in love with techno I am. As the music plays you don't have time to think about anything negative - in life, or even just in that very moment. You just feel the energy and the positivity and you are no longer in the real world.

Time has flown and Loco Dice ends the party with a bang. Best hour of dancing to techno ever. Ever. When the music stopped, I felt elated that I had experienced it, even if only for one divine hour - an hour that I'll never forget.

We exit and after downing a Heineken from a supermarket nearby we board the disco bus to return to Amnesia - it's time for Cream!

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Night Two / Part Two - Amnesia - Cream

I decided to go to Cream to experience the notorious mayhem for myself. Plus, a little bit of mainstream electro house is always fun! By the time we got there it must have already been around 1.30am to 2.00am and it was dangerously full!

There is a queue to get inside this time, even with our Spotlight tickets, but it doesn't take too long. I was cut when I saw on the set list posted out the front that Hardwell was not playing tonight as advertised! Devastation! We had to make do with Calvin Harris. I do think Calvin is great (especially as a producer), but I've already seen him so many times at festivals in Australia. Even so, tonight was really something special!

Amnesia is swarming with crazy, sweaty, amped-up punters. It is like an ant colony inside, except that there is music playing…and we are humans. I think that if I shoved myself into a dish washer and closed the door, I probably would have had more room to dance. It would have been more comfortable in the dishwasher too. Back in Australia, we have these little things called laws and regulations, which ensure that people don't get crushed and killed in over-crowded nightclubs like this! But something tells me we're not in Australia anymore, Toto!

We start to inch our way into the Terrace - it is excruciatingly slow, hot, and tight. It's a different world to yesterday. Hot, sweaty bodies are crushing us as we try in vain to move along. It's unbearable, but it's also hard to be unhappy when the music is so damn good! As we crawl along, we come across this raised ledge. There's a tiny bit of space so I instantly jump up without even thinking and my friend follows me up. I look out at the crowd and it takes my breath away. Once we're up there's no going down - I genuinely believe I would have drowned in the crowd if I didn't find this ledge to stand on! Well, we're semi-safe now, so I start to dance to the best of my ability in this confined space! DJ Burns is playing crunchy, energetic beats and I'm loving it.

It's not easy to maintain this spot, but I fight for it for hours! I get knocked around and pulled down a few times - the crowd is vicious and ruthless! The notion of Peace, Love, Unity, Respect is totally lost on these aggressive people!

What I didn't realise when we landed here was that the raised ledge we are on is the pathway to the bar. My friend has an absolute bitch of a time as people try and barge right through him to get to the bar all night. He uses a tiny bolt screwed into the floor to brace himself on with his shoe the entire time as rude people shove into him. He has no choice other than to shove back! It's dog eat dog at Cream!

Soon, it's Calvin Harris time! There are so many hands waving in the air like thousands of giant, hyperactive worms in the colourful light. I watch the smoke from the ice cannon hurtle down and across the crowd like this giant white smoke monster and it manages to just reach us and give us some slight refreshment now and then!

Calvin's set is full of the typical hits, but still delightful! I was hanging out for 'Reload' and he delivered it in style! The crowd went wild for the poppy hits, like Florence and the Machine stuff and other Calvin classics. Usually I don't even like the song, 'Sweet Nothing', but in this setting it is impossible not to get into it and love it along with the crowd.

I see some crazy stuff from my vantage point up here. A couple down below are having major arguments - so loud I can hear them yell and swear at each other over the music! The chick goes from severely abusive to flopping around like a rag doll, barely conscious. It's not a pretty sight.

Eventually I give in to the realisation that I absolutely must drink water and I can't hold it off for any longer. I give up my prized position to squeeze and shove my way to the bar behind me. I order another horrendously expensive tiny water and decide that I do not have the heart or the energy to shove my way back yet - I'm safe here…until I get pinned to the bar and am nearly crushed!

Next minute a preppy looking young couple are having a massive fight right in front of my face (what's wrong with these people?!). Totally oblivious to my close proximity, the guy says to the girl, "I love you so much. You're breaking my heart right now", and the girl responds by shoving him in the chest and calling him an asshole. Although it's mildly entertaining, I decide to ditch the live Jerry Springer episode in front of me and return to my friend.

Our plan for tonight had been to take rest breaks to ensure that we lasted all night long. What we hadn't anticipated was just how literally impossible it would be to move around the club. So when my friend tells me at only 4.30am that he's ready to go, I graciously accept. We fight our way against the crowd out of the Terrace and past the main room. Paul Van Dyk sounds great and I had wanted to see him, but I'm not too worried because I planned to see him at the Nature One festival in Germany a few days after this Ibiza trip (and I did!). As soon as we reach a corridor we sit down against the wall, because I desperately need a rest before we walk to the taxi.

As we leave they stamp us on our wrists - this whole time pass outs were allowed and lots of people are resting outside. Oh damn! I don't want to leave anymore! It feels wrong to be leaving the club while it's still dark outside - it's not the Ibiza way! Even so, I feel happy that we made it this far. Many other people are leaving too, choosing life over being crushed to death - fair choice!

Our taxi driver lady is quite possibly the coolest taxi driver I've ever had. She's old but she's pretty damn with it. She asks us how our night was and says, "It's too crowded right?", "But the music was amazing right?". Then she goes on to say how it's bad because you can't even dance properly and says, "But it's still great that you experienced it, right? ". She has summed up the night absolutely perfectly.

Since she can't understand my Australian accent or my friend's Flemish accent, instead she asks us if we like the song on the radio, then she cranks it up and sings along for the rest of the ride to the hotel!

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Day Two - More San An

We must have woken up the next 'morning' at around 2:00pm. After a coffee at one of the beachside bars my friend returns to the hotel to do some pool side reading and I get more acquainted with San Antonio, exploring the market stalls and buying unnecessary souvenirs, like those rubber bracelets that say, "Dance or Die in Ibiza".

That evening we head to the sunset strip. The tunes pumping out of Mambo Cafe as we walk past make me feel excited - it's that deep house feel that gets me. I never used to like down tempo deep house much, but Ibiza has changed me! This is quality stuff and it soothes the soul.

We manage to miss the actual sunset by the time we reach the rocky beach. Hey, we're on holiday - we don't have a schedule! Afterwards, just around the corner and perched on the cliff we find a dandy little restaurant to have a long, relaxing dinner and a few giant beers in preparation for the night ahead.
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Night Three - Part One - West End Strip

Our next mission is to locate the lively pocket of energy that is the West End Strip. When we arrive the bars are still fairly quiet but the street is littered with all sorts of randomness, including gangs of wasted kids being happily led by their organised party leaders.

We welcome an invitation by one of the reps outside a bar called 'Corner'. We have no idea where to go anyway, so no doubt we are her typical target audience - we are fresh meat! After giving us her spiel and offering us free shots, she literally escorts us to the bar (so we can't escape) and introduces us to an incredibly friendly bar tender. These people work in Ibiza for a reason - they have the charisma to convince you to enter a completely deserted bar and proceed to make you feel comfortable and happy once inside!

We order two beers and two tequilas, which altogether costs much less than one drink costs at a club. This gives us four free mini shots, which were probably just sugar and water and food dye, but whatever - it was free! Plus, the bartender gives me free bottles of water for the rest of the night so he's basically my best friend.

We sit down at the empty bar and drink all of our shots and chat to the bartender - it's not like he has anything else to do in this empty place! Then we decide to sit outside and people watch. By the time I go back inside to replenish my drinks the dance floor finally has some participants - it seems the rep chick has recruited successfully!

The next time I go inside the whole place is suddenly packed! I hadn't even noticed people entering. As I push through the crowd a hot young lad grabs my attention and offers me some pink vodka out of the bottle. When a hot random in Ibiza offers you vodka, you accept, so I tilt my head back and he pours it in. I then carry on my merry way to find the toilets.

When I return, my next mission is to reach the bar to get another beer. I'm concentrating very hard on where I'm going and I don't even notice the dude with the pink vodka who has found me again. He immediately offers me some more of his vodka and, of course, I again accept! We get briefly acquainted, then I head back out to my friend who is now surrounded by drunk British kids.

The West End Strip has now truly come to life. But it's time to hit the club - the real reason we're in Ibiza. We rehydrate at a grocery store which is filled with drunk kids like us and march on in the direction of Es Paradis.

We are so close to entering the club when a sneaky rep convinces us to to go the Es Paradis bar next door for two-for-one pre-drinks. Damn him! I was in no state to refuse! He does the usual escort to the bar and I go for the old classic - vodka red bulls. God bless Ibiza's free-pouring bar tenders. With a vodka to red bull ratio of one to one, it's potent stuff. It must have been around 2:00am-ish at that time and the bar is basically deserted except for a few schmucks like us who got dragged in.

Night Three - Part Two - Fiesta Del Agua (Water Party!) - Es Paradis

Es Paradis feels grandiose with its white pillars and spaciousness. A few levels of steps circle a dance floor below. I lost my friend at one point and scanned the crowd for him, but my attention span was too short so I ended up just dancing solo for ages until I eventually spotted him down below!

The music at Es Paradis tonight is a fun mix of mainly house. I loved that it was just some unknown DJ playing unknown tunes for the party people and music lovers. My only gripe was that at times the tunes were a little bit too 90s hip-hop for my liking. Nothing against 90s hip hop, but it's not really what I came here for! A recurring theme for the night was the crowd randomly starting a repetitive chorus of, "Whoomp! There it is!", which was fun!

As I make another pit stop at the bar I'm becoming impatient for the water to start. I make this known to the random standing next to me, so he kindly makes some enquiries for me and we find out it's due at about 5.00am - in fifteen minutes. It's always fun to bond in bar queues.

You could feel the excitement building as we waited for the water to start. We are dancing away and then the moment comes - the water is turned on! It comes streaming from various places around the stairs, showering all of the happy dancers. It's the perfect excuse to wear a bikini in a night club! The guy who I met at the bar randomly sees me in the crowd and we celebrate the arrival of the water with some cheering and general obvious exclamations like, "The water is on! Yeah!". Down below the middle of the dance floor quickly becomes a pool, literally. It's waist deep and the dancing has become swimming!

A guy dressed in nice jeans and a fancy, button up collared shirt starts a conversation with me by stating that he's way over-dressed for this party and that he "didn't get the memo". I tell him it's an easy fix - take your shirt off! He's not convinced. We go to the bar where he gets us Sambucca shots. He chats to my friend and so I entertain myself by dancing around the bar area by myself. I'm vaguely aware that I'm getting a few amused looks, but I don't care! I came here to dance my heart out like nobody's watching, so that's what I'll do!

We head back towards the dance pool. I jump in for a swim and am joined by the button-up-shirt-dude's friend, while the others stay on dry(ish) land. We swim around while those around us start up a bomb diving competition.

At around 6.30am the music winds down, the lights come on and they kick us out. We begin the stumble back to the hotel - literally - I almost fell over my feet at least three times. We detour via the beach, which we have to ourselves, and take a dip in the water. It is so calm and peaceful, in complete contrast to the busy day time when it's usually littered with tourists.

As we pass a billboard on the street I see people changing the posters in preparation for tonight's club nights. A new day is dawning, so it must be bed time! We sleep like babies.

Day Three - Beach Side Dramas and Ibiza Town

When we arise from hibernation this afternoon, my friend decides to lay by the pool again and I head to the beach for some sun baking . I choose a spot on the sand near a cafe that has some music playing and I envy the group of hotties nearby with drinks in their hands. When I overheat and feel too much like a pig on the spit, I retreat to the boulevard where there appears to be some commotion involving a policeman on a bike and two young British girls sitting on a bench. It sounds interesting, so I deliberately sit on the bench next to them hidden from view by a shrub. The young girls are giving the policeman grief. He wants their IDs, but they insist that they do not have them. The policeman is trying to keep it low key, but the girls are so very loud and attracting a lot of attention, nattering on and on, "Are you taking us with you? This is so embarrassing!". I enjoy watching the reactions of the passers by, who make comments like, "Busted!" and "They gotcha!".

Then, a police car slowly drives up onto the boulevard. On and on the girls go with the, "This so embarrassing". Yet, when the police car arrives I hear one of the girls ask them, "Can you take a picture of us?". This was quality live comedy. Finally, they enter the car - "This is so embarrassing!" - and are driven off and my entertainment is done for the afternoon.

Tonight, we plan to do some sight seeing in Ibiza Town since we are headed to Pacha. All I really knew was that we should go to Dalt Villa and that there would be a pretty view (understatement!). Fortunately, our taxi driver doubled as a tour guide and gave us the option of being dropped off at the top of the castle so we can walk down, or stop at the bottom and wind our way up. On his recommendation, we choose to start at the top - who needs a Lonely Planet guide?!

On our arrival we are hit with the view of the endless Mediterranean, while planes fly by overhead. It's completely peaceful and there are only a handful of people up here. We are a world away from the clubs right now.

After winding our way down we reach another look out where there are many more people. We soak it all in at a leisurely pace and then enter Ibiza Town and find a nice place to eat. The narrow, winding streets of the markets are so inviting and the people here are oh-so-pretty with their designer clothing and upper class vibe. Gone are the converse-shoe-wearing/shirtless/bikini-clad crowd that I've become accustomed to in San Antonio.

We come across cobblestoned streets by the water where many luxurious boats are moored. Note to self - get rich, buy a boat and drink champagne on it in Ibiza with a group of beautiful people, because it looks fun.

Our next stop is a bar by the main footpath where we drink Spanish beer, eating tapas and watching the impromptu miniature club parades passing by. It's around midnight now and this corner of Ibiza Town seems to be slowing down so we walk in the general direction of Pacha keeping our eyes peeled for another watering hole to stop at on the way.

Just when I've given up hope of finding any more bars, one appears! In a flash, a charismatic employee from the bar has walked right up to us and is enticing us to have a drink. He offers us free shots with our drinks. Needless to say, he had me at 'tequila'. I drink my delicious Margherita and both my tequila and my friend's tequila (hey, he offered it!) while cars whizz past noisily.


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Night Four - Pure Pacha - Pacha

It's complicated to find our way around Pacha, being the newbies that we are. Doors separate each area and stairs lead this way and that. I feel like a mouse in a maze with loud music.

When we enter the first room, there is *gasp* hip hop playing, so we get the hell out of there and escape to the main room where as per usual the dance floor is beckoning. We situate ourselves right near the front, close enough to score a free CD from the DJ when he throws them out to the crowd.

Pure Pacha was awesome, but after today's sight seeing; three nights; and four parties straight, I was not on my best form. However, as always, the feel of the beat washes my woes away. The music consists of mainly standard electro house hits, but it was mixed flawlessly!

So much was going on in here - the now very familiar ice cannon, confetti bombs and bursts of streamers. To top it all off, glamorous, dolled-up women dressed in sequin body suits with gigantic, shiny sequin-head-dresses came and join Martin Solveig in the DJ booth; stood on podiums around the dance floor; and at times hung from the ceiling!

It's so squishy up the front here with all these enthusiastic kiddies jumping around. I'm small so I get knocked around big time - pretty sure half of my phantom bruises came from that night (the other half from Cream!).

Disappointingly, contrary to the set times posted up near the toilets, Laidback Luke does not appear. Oh well, Mr Solvieg was awesome anyway and played an extended set. I was very happy when the oh-so-familiar, "If I lose Myself Tonight", was given a spin. Despite being trampled on all night, my spirits are still high and I sing along at the top of my lungs! The familiar sound of "Animals" by Martin Garrix also gets the crowd pumped, as always.

Random fact - Pacha has a 'no shirts off' policy. I even noticed while on the dance floor that one boy had his buttons undone on his shirt and a bouncer made him do them up immediately! Oh, what a shame.

After a long time on this cramped dance floor we take a breather to explore the club some more. We find the terrace roof top which is a sweet little spot to rest our weary feet and recharge while sitting on really comfy chairs.

Back inside we stumble across a balcony overlooking the DJ and the crowd down below. Then we go back down and this time we find a space where we can actually move freely and I feel happy again - music plus dance floor space equals happy me, every time. I'm back into the spirit of things and back in form. I guess I must be an Ibiza natural since my energy kicks in the later it gets. But since my friend is more human than me, at around 6.30am he has reached his limit for the night.

We exit via the rooftop (after going in circles throughout the maze for awhile) and the familiar sight of the bright sun at the end of a clubbing session greets us. The taxi driver rips us off by a few euros charging the airport tariff, but we do not have the energy to argue with him. And that's a wrap on Pacha!

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Day Four - Hotel Chill Outs

The next afternoon my friend is still fast asleep while I grab some breakfast solo. The cheeky little Spanish waiter who usually serves us breakfast each afternoon laughs at me as soon as he sees me - that can't be a good thing! Nothing too noteworthy happened that day - night time was always our priority!

Night Five - Part One - Playa Den Bossa and Bora Bora

We try to leave the hotel at around 6.30pm but the hotel can't get us a taxi and the guy at reception says it's because Avicii is playing at Ushuaia tonight. Trying to hail one proves fruitless, so we have to make the walk into the centre to the taxi rank where there is a very long line up.

Upon our arrival at Playa Den Bossa we prioritise eating first and opt for pizza and beer! Then, finally we head in the direction of Bora Bora. As we walk, I notice in the distance a bar that is named, "Top 40 Disco Pub". I joke to my friend that I would not be caught dead in a pub with a name like that. Top 40? Pub? In Ibiza? No thanks!

Before long a young, good-looking, charismatic guy from a bar steps in front of us - here we go again! When he asks our plans I make the mistake of informing him we're going to Bora Bora. He proceeds to tell us why we should go to this bar instead - cheaper drinks - blah, blah, blah. Like all the others, he's very charming and we get into a conversation about how we missed out on Tomorrowland tickets. Small talk done, he offers us two-for-one beers plus free tequilas. He asks us if we like tequila. Oh please - let's just sit down already. I don't stand a chance of refusing.

This place has a shit view of fences and vacant lots. However, we have beer and tequila, so who cares? Soon, I have the sudden realisation that we are actually sitting in the "Top 40 Disco Pub"! How could I have let this happen?! Oh yeah, the free tequila, that's how.

Numerous beverages later, we finally reach Bora Bora. It's like a hot sauna filled with happy dancers and house music blasting. It's a fairly small room and everyone is full of energy. We immediately join the dance floor (smiling is infectious - it's so happy in here!) and within minutes we are dripping with sweat.

It's soon time for a drink break to cool down and save some energy for Space. Outside there's a fence separating us from the beach, so we can hear the waves but not see them - sad face! A few planes fly overhead and they feel so close that it gives you a thrill. After some more drinks and another grocery store stopover (those things are a God-send), we head for outer Space. My friend must have been so sick of me saying, "I am SO excited about Space", because I couldn't stop parroting it all day long and I basically kept it up right until we reached the entrance to the club.
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Night Five - Part Two - We Love… - Space

Space is a world of it's own. When we enter, the Discoteca is playing some minimal, trippy-sounding techno. It's too down tempo for my liking, but the people around me seem to be enjoying it. The trademark gigantic, yellow, glowing smiley faces hang from the ceiling - love, love, love! The lasers in the Discoteca are intensely trippy, whether or not you are mind altered! I definitely notice a more druggy vibe here, but it's no problem.

Not long after we enter, we are approached by an enthusiastic, smily guy asking us oh-so-politely if we would like some "ecstasy or MDMA", or are we good? I tell him that we're good and he oh-so-politely and happily tells us that's fine and to have a great night. He's just your friendly neighbourhood dealer. I guess they must really keep tabs of who has just arrived because that was quick!

We relocate to the Terraza where there was more upbeat techno playing. When I notice that the DJ is singing I realise it is Miss Kittin! I was thrilled because I wanted to catch some of her set but hadn't bothered to consult set times because tonight my aim was to make sure we danced in every room!

Room number three was the Sunset Terrace. The music playing when we arrived sounded kind of hip-hop-ish. But we gave it a shot and took our rightful spots on the dance floor. When the instantly recognisable sound of the old school hip hop song, 'Jump', started playing, I was not thrilled - I've had enough of dancing to this stuff at high school discos back in the day.

But then it happened - mixed in with the unmistakable melody of 'Jump', I hear the sweet sounds of the dub step wobble! My attitude changes in half a second - Dub step makes me ridiculously happy! It was such a fresh, funky version of the song and this was not your regular aggressive, chunky dub step, but it was light, carefree dub step and drum n bass. It felt like the music was specifically designed for me and my personality. Later on we find the set lists outside the toilets to discover that this DJ I had fallen in love with is Featurecast.

We stay and dance at the Sunset Terrace for ages, then for our fourth stop we reach the rooftop area where a DJ is spinning some sleepy tunes, so I grab a beer while we chill out. By this stage we are ready for room five but we find out that it's closed and I'm gutted!

Instead, we dance here and there and then eventually return to the Terraza where it is now going crazy. The deep, dirty, beautiful techno of Umek is playing - the music connects with my soul. It's so full in here now that we're pretty much dancing in the entrance to the room. I dance tirelessly, on and on, never wanting it to end.

Later on we decide to check out the main room again to find that it's mostly empty already. Derrick May is playing - the music was cool but too slow for me. It's very hard to believe that this was the full room we first entered at the start of the night. The tiny crowd cheers enthusiastically as Derrick winds down. Meanwhile, there are cleaners already walking around with their vacuum cleaners - killjoy!

We head back to the energy of the Terraza. The speakers are still streaming out my beloved techno and it seems to be even more packed now - this is where the party is at for the wee hours of the morning! We go inside and find this small pocket of space to dance - miracle! Oh wait, not so miraculous - there is broken glass all over the floor. Yet, we continue to dance, our shoes crunching away on the glass.

I have so so so so so much energy dancing along to this music. I'm not slowing down at all. I'm living in the moment, loving the music and loving life. I can see that my friend is deflating and at around 6.30am he tells me he has officially run out of energy. Meanwhile, I am fully charged and buzzing from the music. But alas, we exit to greet the morning sky once again.

Before we leave we go for a quick walk to the beach across the road. The beach is completely deserted and the water is untouched and peaceful. Once we step foot off the beach it finally hits me that this fabulous night is over. My energy plummets and is replaced by instantaneous and utter exhaustion.

Talk about Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.


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Day Five - The Best Monday Ever

In real life and in the regular world, I hate Mondays. In Ibiza, I love Mondays, because Monday means A State of Trance at Privilege! I've been looking forward to this Monday since many, many Mondays ago.

After a cruisy day of playing pool and laying by the poolside, we walk to the centre of San Antonio for dinner. After eating way more than necessary at a grill restaurant and washing it down with a few beers we head to the taxi stand to begin another momentous night of clubbing.
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Night Six - A State of Trance - Privilege

I booked 'A State of Trance' tickets way before the line ups came out because I was so excited to see the one and only - Armin Van Buuren. Devastatingly, there were only two Monday nights during the season that he didn't play at Privilege and this was one of them. The trance Gods must have been angry at me! But, in compensation for missing out on Armin, we were treated to a night of some of the best trance DJs in the world.

When we arrive at Privilege (which appears to be situated in some kind of secluded farm land! I was worried the taxi driver was taking us to get murdered for a moment there) we go with the flow and enter through this gigantic, white, orb-like structure. We must have arrived at around 1.30am and it was already full of people - I would actually recommend coming earlier.

The trusty set times were posted up near the toilets again. The front section seemed full so we went towards the back. W&W were playing, spinning up some awesome mainstream hits and partying on. I enjoy the sing along to Zedd's, "Clarity" - always a feel good moment. Fun fact - I actually saw W&W again the next week at 'Nature One' in Germany.

The only glitch with being further away from the stage was that the music seemed to not be quite as loud as it should have been. However, the plus side was that standing from afar we could see the whole laser show unfold over the entire club which was an amazing experience. Plus, it was a hive of activity back here so I didn't want to leave!

Right above us there was a balancing beam and a guy on a bicycle riding across it. A bunch of scantily clad dancers in red, sequin swimsuits (four chicks and one dude - totally unfair!) pose on a podium in front of us. Meanwhile, another army of red swim suits join W&W up on stage and dance in unison.

We are also standing in front of a large bath-tub sized, "martini glass" of water - one of the red swimsuit ladies jumps in, displaying her acrobatic abilities. The red swimsuit brigade then surround us on podiums all around - left, right, and up on the level above us. They're everywhere and it feels like we're in the middle of a circus!

The 2.30am to 3.45am slot is the man I had been waiting for - Dash Berlin! I am excited to see him again after I saw him in all his cheesy glory earlier in the year at a (much smaller!) club in my home town. Dash starts his set with some heavy, hard-hitting trance. Even in such a big room his presence is huge as he pumps his arms in the air in his true Dash signature style - super energetic, super positive and super happy.

For me, his spin of his version of Christina Parri's "Jar of Hearts" was a highlight. But my favourite part of his set is when he plays that song that goes, "This is not Miami. This is not LA. This is not Jakarta etc.", and then he finally builds up to, "This. Is. Ibiza. Ibiza. Ibiza", with the words up on the big screen behind him. I don't care how cheesy it sounds, it was a great moment!

He plays his classics and ballads that his fans are waiting for, like, "Man on the Run" and "Waiting". While the crowd sings along to the "Whoah-OH! Whooooah-oh!…", the streamers stream down like spaghetti from the sky. He also throws in a bit of Above and Beyond with "Sun and Moon". In the middle of the room, these big, rectangle screens appear from the ceiling and four acrobats are hanging and writhing around with water streaming over them.

After Dash's set I am completely energised. My friend needs a micro rest though, so we take the opportunity to explore and venture upstairs. We take a seat up in the empty seating area and I hear the start of the official 'A State of Trance' voice over introduction for Markus Schulz. I can't sit still so I go up to the rail to look out over at the crowd below. The dancers on the little grand stand behind me look like they are having so much fun that when my friend comes over we join them dancing on the grand stand for a a few minutes before heading back down.

Markus has the 3.45am to 5.00am slot - prime time! The first song blows my mind and the melody catches my heart in an instant. This song is perfect in this moment right now. It's his own New World Punx song, "Romper", mixed insanely. When that powerful melody first hit the speakers, it almost felt like the party had only just begun at that very moment and everything else until that point had just been a warm up.

Markus Schulz is sensational and has me in the palm of his hand for the entire set. When he plays his own, song, "Nothing Without Me", with the beautiful lyrics splashed across the screen, I feel connected. When the set finishes I'm glowing.

But it ain't over yet! Next up Orjan Nilsen is here to wrap it up. We move to the very front section this time and get right into it, loving Orjan's stuff. He plays, 'Sunrise' - Aston Shuffle vs Tommy Trash, and thanks to him, this has become one of my favourite tracks of the year. It's great up the front being rained on by the confetti and ice cannons.

I love the mix of trance fans here. Old, young, fashionable, regular, not-so-fashionable, cool, nerdy, guys, girls - trance is so uniting! There's none of the aggression and pretentiousness that was present at Cream.

At the end of Orjan's sweet set at around 6.30am, the lights turn on - it is over. We inch out with the crowd and the great thing is that no one is pushing or shoving - told you trance people are cool!

The whole production throughout the night was amazing, with the greatest variety of lasers, lights and colours that I've ever seen in my life, not to mention the confetti bombs, streamers, ice cannons, fire twirlers and the aforementioned acrobatics and lady swimming in a giant bowl!

To simply call this a club night would be doing it an injustice. This is an Ibiza dance experience. "A State of Trance" really does sum up the night perfectly.

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Day Six - Pukka Up Boat Party

After our usual afternoon breakfast it's not long before we need to get to the Pukka Up Bar for the boat party. We thought we'd find the bar easily. Wrong. When we ask for directions at the Pukka Up souvenir shop they firstly tell us they don't know where the bar is (what the?!) then they direct us to the Ithaca bar where there's a massive line up of people buying tickets. I thought it was the correct bar as there was Pukka Up signage everywhere. It's not until I've had to enquire with three different staff (and they all tell me the wrong thing - that I have to line up even though I have a Spotlight ticket) that the last one finally tells me, "You need to go to the Pukka Up bar, babe", and gives me vague directions. I'm ready to punch someone. So is my friend. Actually, I think we're ready to punch on with each other. My Ibiza spirit has waned momentarily.

Hallelujah, eventually we arrive at the actual Pukka Up Bar and we have ages to spare - there was no way we were ever going to miss the boat like we feared. The DJ announces that drinks are two-for-one at the bar for another few minutes, so we get some beers into us. Mainstream, poppy dance is playing and Avicii's, "Wake Me Up" feels right for this time of the day and lifts my spirits again.

Soon we hit the seven seas and the DJs get the party started with some day time party tracks. It's a blend of pop-dance, classic dance hits (like Daft Punk's 'One more time') and mainstream stuff in general. They played some 'Example' as well, which got me on their good side.

As we danced the boat would suddenly rock and the whole dance floor would just lurch to the side with the drunk people crashing down. It took a bit of concentration not to fall!

Meanwhile, girls pose provocatively over the heads of two guys who are passed out on the chairs. One of the guys wakes up, realises what is happening and knocks the chick's camera out of her hands - it is intense! They go back to sleep and then later on they get champagne sprayed on them by accident and one of them flips out, yelling and screaming. The other one manages to sleep through the commotion until security wakes him up!

Later on we go to the downstairs area, which is pretty empty aside from a few super duper drunk people having a great time and jumping from seat to seat. All is dandy until one dude (one of the sleeping guys from before) suddenly vomits his guts out. That's our cue to leave. Luckily the boat is just pulling up back in San An!

We have the genius idea of grabbing some Burger King before we get the bus to Amnesia, as do half of the people on the boat, but it was totally worth the wait in line.

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Night Seven - Together - Amnesia

When we arrive at Amnesia via the busses organised by the Pukka Up people, it is so early that it is not even children's bed time yet (not even midnight!). We join the disorganised conglomeration of people that is supposed to be a queue. While we wait in the queue we spend our time chatting to the high randoms around us about Tomorrowland; trying not to choke on passive smoke inhalation; and dodging random vomiters.

At this extra early hour there is so much room inside - it's so weird. The first DJ in the main room was listed on the set times as the "Pukka Up DJ" - shame I didn't get her name because her music was wicked. After some dancing, I decide to finally brave the Ibiza club alcohol prices and order a vodka red bull, closely followed by a good old beer.

We venture to the terrace and have another dance - fun party tunes but not my favourite stuff. I was very happy when they played Breach's "Jack", though - classic summer party hit of 2013! My friend spots the set times on the wall. Excellent! Now we know that Feed Me starts at 1.30am in the main room, followed by Nero from 3.00am to 4.30am. I'm due for another drink, then we head back to the main room with plenty of time to spare before 'Feed Me'.

We situate ourselves right near the front towards the edge of the dance floor. The main room is full of people now, but it is not packed like a sardine tin. Effectively, this means that there is a wicked atmosphere without it being uncomfortably crowded - perfect! Just perfect! It's exactly the way a clubbing night should be. I'm ridiculously excited when 'Feed Me' starts. He warms us up with some less bass-heavy sounds and gradually builds into the heavy, beautiful wub-wub-wub that I love so much.

Tonight, unlike most of the other nights, I keep the drinks flowing the whole time, as I believe that dub step is best enjoyed with zero inhibition! When the dub step bass drops, I feel like I'm home. The night gets better and better…and better. The set gets dubbier and dubbier, which makes me happier and happier. It moves me the way only dub step can and I dance all over the place like a gleeful maniac.

The build up for Nero is electric and the crowd sounds as happy as I feel when they start their set. Boy oh boy do Nero deliver. This is the fourth time I've seen them and definitely one of the best. They shower us with plenty of Nero classics seamlessly and flawlessly. Every time they drop the big ones, like 'Promises' or 'Innocence', it feels so damn good.

At one point during my vigorous dancing I almost crash into a guy holding two drinks - with these prices, thank goodness they didn't spill. Largely due to my level of alcohol intake, I give him a passionate, heartfelt, repetitive apology (he forgave me).

When Nero's set wraps up at 4.30am I am buzzed. Next up, we head towards the terrace to take a peek at Afrojack. It sounds insanely good, but it's way too full to enter. Mindful of making sure we go all out tomorrow night for our last night on the island, I make the call and we have an early night. After all, we already got what we came for and more!

Day Seven - Our Last Ibizan Sunset

Last day in Ibiza. But it's not over 'til it's over! Today I do lots of walking and last minute shopping in San Antonio and grab myself some touristy club singlets. I manage to squeeze in a tiny bit of disco napping, but not nearly enough.

This evening we return to the sunset strip so that we can actually view the sun set from the strip this time after our first epic fail. When the very last slither of sun disappears behind the horizon, the crowd cheers and claps and a couple of people blow horns. We are all celebrating the beginning of the Ibizan evening, when the magic really begins.

When we return to the centre we buy tickets for tonight's DC-10 'Paradise' party (the only tickets we didn't buy from Spotlight). Then we have dinner and a lovely night time stroll along the beach back to the hotel, intercepted by the usual sunglasses dealers. We're going to miss their annoying drug offers when we leave this place.

Back at the hotel we sit on the balcony and polish off a few beers in preparation for our very last night.


Night Eight - Paradise - DC-10

It's a long taxi ride to DC-10 and as we reach the club, right by the airport, the taxi driver who has been quiet for most of the trip, suddenly says, "DC-10 is a crazy place. I don't like it here. It's too crazy". I instantly feel excited!

I'm pleased to find out that we are able to skip the fairly big queue with the ticket we just bought a few hours ago. We get inside and….Holy. Shit. It's rammed full of bodies. The raw music permeates through my entire body. I swear the bass is pumping so forcefully that it interrupts my heart beat and resets the pace for me - this is cool.

This place is so different. It instantly feels rougher. The music is dirty techno - it's awesome. We get straight to it and join the dancers who are already lost in the beat. I can't get over how packed it is in such a small room - we arrived reasonably early too. It must have been around 1.30am.

There are two rooms in DC-10. Both seemed to be roughly the same size. When you pass between the rooms, the beats from both sides are vibrating through your body like a loud beat match gone horribly wrong. I was looking forward to hearing Loco Dice properly this time after missing most of his set at Ushuaia. After we switched rooms, my friend notices a sign saying it was Loco - he could see him, but since I'm not the tallest I couldn't see a thing. Didn't matter - I only needed to hear!

Due to the intense heat inside (worst place yet!) we eventually need to take a break. We head outside to find that it is also completely crowded. Plus, three quarters of everyone out here is sitting down on the ground! This is brilliant - it's so seldom you get a legitimate excuse to sit on the ground at a club!

We get some drinks at the bar and as we're pondering where to sit down we are approached by a very happy, hippy-ish looking guy who incredibly enthusiastically offers us drugs. He's even more happy than the dealer dude from Space. He has the same kind of spiel - are we interested in any pills? Charlie? Or are we right? His pupils are like saucers. When I politely refuse, he gives us the most enthusiastically polite response, "That's fine! Have a great night! Hope you have a fantastic night!". These guys are so damn friendly - walking, talking advertisements for their products!

It's apparent very quickly that this is a drug haven - much, much more so than any other club in Ibiza that we've been to, or so it seems. People around us freely roll and light up joints. My friend even spotted some guys snorting some stuff out in the open with no qualms. I feel particularly goody-two-shoes around this crowd.

Tonight we spend a bit of time sitting on the ground drinking and having fun talking shit. Although I would have loved to dance all night long for our last party, I feet content sitting and soaking in the atmosphere. Eight straight nights takes its toll by the end. It had been a massive day and a massive week - I was wrecked!

After awhile, we opt for some quality dancing time to go out with a bang. Pretty soon I'm back in the swing of things and I've found my second wind, loving the techno. Whenever the bass drops unexpectedly, the crowd cheers and whistles appreciatively. It's electric, yet chilled at the same time - such is the techno life. Tonight again confirms how much I love me some techno.

After awhile the unthinkable happens - I'm so literally exhausted that I actually feel like I could fall asleep on the dance floor. I'm having fun and the music is great, but I'm spent. However, this is the last night and I refuse to leave! I go to the bathroom to splash water on my face and I almost walk into the men's bathroom because I'm so out of it. Luckily the cleaner basically tackles me to stop me!

We dance for the rest of the night and stay right until the music stops, the lights turn on and the crowd is kicked out at about 6.30am. We join the long taxi line filled with smokers and I try not to die from secondary smoke inhalation. For the record, the people in this line are a bunch of the rudest, roughest f***ers I've come across in Ibiza so far, with people blatantly pushing in.

I can't believe it's officially over. I feel sad already. I don't want to leave.

Day Eight - The Last Day - Sadness

We get about two hours sleep, then check out and eat our final breakfast at the hotel. My Ibiza dream, which became reality, is over.

The taxi ride to the airport reminds me how much more of Ibiza there is to see. I can't shake the feeling that next time I need to stay for longer and see more of the beaches and do even more clubbing. Here I was thinking I would get Ibiza 'out of my system' - how naive of me!

Sure, any holiday ending is sad. But this isn't the end of a holiday, it's the end of a dream come true. I have no doubt that I will return in the not too distant future to live out some more real-life dreams and discover more Ibizan magic. Come and join me!

The End!

P.S. One last random thing that I'd like to note: I love that Ibiza is purely about the music and that the island knows no age limits (except maybe at the West End Strip, but even there all you need is a good attitude and you'll be fine!). I'm 28 (but I blend in easily with a younger crowd, or so I've been told many a time!) and my friend is 31. We're definitely not "old", but we're not exactly beginner partiers either. I thought I'd have to get Ibiza done before I was 30, but I was so wrong! I will be back as many times as possible!

P.P.S. If you made it this far, thank you for reading and I hope you felt the magic with me. I'd love to know if anyone actually did read this, so please feel free to comment or make suggestions for my future trips!
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I think you have summed Ibiza up for alot of us with that great review! Reading through I think i've covered pretty much everything you did and i'm now buzzing for this year! Flights were booked this morning for Cocoon closing party! Bosh!


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Really enjoyed this review. Very excited for 28th June now. Disco pub was my local 2-4-1 drinking hole when I stayed at Jet in 2012. A bit of a dive but had some very funny moments in there.


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Really enjoyed this review. Very excited for 28th June now. Disco pub was my local 2-4-1 drinking hole when I stayed at Jet in 2012. A bit of a dive but had some very funny moments in there.
Would you recommend staying at Jet? I really wanted to stay there for my first time in Ibiza but couldn't convince my friend to! P.s. Good old Disco pub…I'll totally be back there one day!


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Would you recommend staying at Jet? I really wanted to stay there for my first time in Ibiza but couldn't convince my friend to! P.s. Good old Disco pub…I'll totally be back there one day!
Yeah I would recommend it, our balcony looked onto the road which leads to Bora Bora. Seem some funny states at all times of the day, in fact I was one of states on more than one occasion.


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Brilliant review- covered alot of emotions most of us experienced when we landed in the same spots!

I could even try another trance night after your review!


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awesome review, brings back all the memories, hopefully i can remember as much as you to leave my next review after my visit this year in a few weeks!


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Belated thank you for the messages everyone! I haven't been on here in awhile - too depressing knowing I would be nowhere near Ibiza this season! Hope you all had a blast....and I'm super envious and may or may not hate you all ;-)