The ultimate Ibiza travel guide for Ibiza lovers and newcomers!
We interviewed Rose Mary de Boer, journalist, author of 6 books and ex Ibiza local, about her latest book WHY IBIZA. She interviewed 34 colorful and free spirits from all over the world about their reasons for ever settling down in Ibiza and staying there.
The book is a collection of inspiring conversations with interesting Ibiza locals, each with their own outlook on life, but unanimous in their love for ibiza. Her book is full of special insider tips that as a tourist you hardly ever come across.... Many that even we didn't know existed!
Rose Mary first arrived on the island in the late 1970s, but WHY Ibiza?
“A good friend told me about Ibiza. An island full of nice people, music and you name it. It went in one ear and out the other with me. Later that year I was supposed to go to Majorca with a friend, the flight didn’t go on a certain date so still I thought, let’s go to Ibiza then.
Although I was not as hysterical as many people, that is not my nature, I was immediately sold. Everything was very different then. There were still really quiet and deserted beaches. The big beach clubs didn’t exist yet. There were very small tents where they sold sandwiches and you could get a Coke or a beer… that was it. But there was always music everywhere. Everywhere you could hear Bob Marley over the beach.
Do you have another funny anecdote, from those good old days?
“Well, I do have one, but it’s not very nice at all. One night I went to a nightclub, and I had new boots on. Suede boots to just over my knee, lovely, I wish I still had them. At some point I wanted to go home again. You just didn’t rent a car. That was incredibly expensive, it didn’t even occur to me! Suddenly I saw a guy walking who I always saw at Hotel Montesol so I asked for a ride towards town, that was fine. He was on a bike, I was on the back. I didn’t realize it in the dark, but he was riding in the opposite direction! At one point we were in a forest. It was crawling with pretty girls and he had to “kidnap” me, so to speak. I said hello, I’ll come home. It was 05:00 in the morning and I had no idea where I was. I looked rather feral and asked some farmers which way was downtown. Once I arrived, my feet were all swollen and full of blisters! The next day on the terrace I ran into the guy again, afterwards we laughed terribly about it. That was my adventure in Ibiza in the 80s!”
WHY this book?
“Because I lived in Ibiza for quite a long time and actually always had in the back of my mind the question “why does one come to Ibiza?” Because, of course, there are a lot of beautiful places in the world. Why does someone go there? What possesses someone to leave hearth and home and settle down there…. And to build a life in Ibiza? That has always been a lingering question”.
You write "Ibiza doesn't give in easily, you have to put in the effort." What do you mean by this?
“In the beginning I had to find my feet in Ibiza. Going on vacation is very different from living there. In Holland you are so spoiled, everything is very familiar. I myself returned to the Netherlands after many years. I have always greatly admired people who were able to leave everything behind and stay in Ibiza. That this was not always about roses is made clear in my book. It all seems so simple; sun, sea, beach. But there really is more to it than that. It is the hard core that stays there. And, of course, you have to be able to resist all the temptations. A friend of mine, she is also in the book, worked as a nanny and the young mother of 3 children went out every night. What the hell are you doing then!”
In your book, you interviewed locals asking "WHY Ibiza." But what makes Ibiza so special to you?
“What makes it special for me is the nature, the beach. But then again, you could go to Sardinia. There is a certain atmosphere that you don’t easily find anywhere. An atmosphere is hard to describe, it’s a feeling. In my book there are interviews with people who have lived there for years, who also reflect a certain feeling… and that feeling, that really is still a bit of the old Ibiza.
I am not talking about tourism. I found the winters, even though it is deserted and you have to stand firm in your shoes, wonderful. It sounds woolly but that is nonsense because I am not like that at all, but you are so at one with nature. Then I would drive across that island in an old jeep, to a local café with no expectations and then you might or might not meet someone you got talking to… and then you just have a fantastic afternoon! I can still experience that there. In Ibiza there are a lot of free spirits, people with a open mind. People who have just a slightly broader view of the world than someone who moves his household from Deventer to Ibiza, and continues to live the same life.”
Which story from the book really grabbed you?
“I think almost all the stories have something. The story of Jorge, an artist who works with washed-up plastic on Formentera, I liked that. Or that of Carolina, someone who still really lives like an old hippie without gas, light and electricity, and yet made a little palace of her own! I find that very special. Or the doctor who was going to make a trip around the world, but had to have his ship repaired and ended up in Ibiza and thought “that will be done in two weeks” but has ended up living on the island for 40 years. Now that’s the attraction of Ibiza. They are all nice, fascinating people with a good story. Like the story of Toni, the owner of a cocktail bar, he has roamed all over the world and ended up staying in Ibiza … and yes, why? You can read that in his story”.
Which story from the book really grabbed you?
I just read another review on Bol.com “Fantastic book! And what I love, I’ve read a lot of books about ibiza but the striking people you’ve interviewed and the actual insider tips really complete this book for me”.
After all these years in Ibiza, were there any new tips for you from the people you interviewed?
“A lot! That is also what makes the book so special. Of course I already know many things, especially the hot spots As well as local things. But I got so many new tips. Someone who told about an insane place to have a picnic, small local restaurants I had never heard of where you can eat the most delicious paella. Unique places to hike, kayak…. I was really surprised because I thought I knew it pretty well. I made a list myself from the book of things I had never heard of, let alone been to. Like a real tourist I went out, I loved it!”
One of Rose Mary's favorite spots is not really a secret spot, Talamanca Beach. But we also asked her for a real hidden gem for you....
“Highly recommended is Toni’s cocktail bar, Boodiou. For starters, you can eat insanely good food there. I’ve eaten everywhere from tapas to the most delicate dishes. When you order something at Toni you think ‘oh I’m getting that,’ but it looks totally different. Because it is prepared very differently. Whatever you order is maddeningly delicious. He also does not make average cocktails, they are all his own inventions. Everything he makes is a true flavor explosion. I talked to a lot of people, and no one had heard of it. It surprised me. It’s in town and I kept walking past it. You really have to know how to find it. I also love Japanese cuisine. There is a restaurant in the book where you are really still completely pampered. They are at a point where few tourists come, and the owner would like to keep that”.
How are the reactions to WHY IBIZA so far?
“Fantastic. It really is a gift book. I also get many comments from people who had nothing to do with Ibiza, are inspired by the book, and tell me they are definitely going that way! If I have brought that about, then I am very happy with that”.
So, have you never been to Ibiza and are curious to know what it’s really like on the so-called party island? Or do you come to Ibiza every year and want to completely rediscover the island? Then order the book WHY IBIZA with beautiful cover – it must be said – via www.whyibiza.nl.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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A villa. A villa is often cheaper per person than renting separate hotel rooms. In addition, you get much more value for your money. There is more space, more facilities (washing machine, bathrooms, a spacious garden, common areas, modern kitchens)…. As if you were in your own home! There is also more privacy and you can really enjoy yourself together. In our villas for large groups, there is enough space and privacy for everyone.
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If you love peace and quiet, the north is your place to be. Here mostly locals live and you can relax at your villa and visit some small-scale villages. If you like a little more action then the south and east of Ibiza are the best place for you. Here lies the bustling Ibiza town, the bigger clubs can be found here and there is plenty of choice of great restaurants. Remember, the island is not big. So even if you are in the north, with a car you can easily explore the island from wherever you are staying!