‘You just have to do what feels best for you.’
Say ‘Ibiza’and most people think Eyeball Paul, boozy holidays, drugs, Pacha and boat parties. The White Island. Legendary as a hedonistic Mecca for electronic dance and the summer club scene, there’s plenty of fashion, tits, fashion-tits and wide-eyed pleasure seekers. But it’s not all Estrella, ecstasy and abandon. A surprisingly stunning UNESCO world heritage site, and a global hub of alternative therapies and healers, there’s much more to Ibiza’s magic than many think. So what’s the other side of the island?
Geographically, Ibiza’s part of the Andalusian mountains, and with twin Balearic island, Formentera, it’s one of the Pitiusas – or the pine covered islands. Crystal waters, stunning shorelines and rolling pine-covered hills, where nervous lizards scurry between gaps in pink, stone walls. Add Rustic fincas, awesome agriculture and beautiful weather, Ibiza is one of our all-time favourite escapes.
Pilates, yoga, cliff walks, rock climbing, boating, horseback riding, kickboxing, tai chi; Ibiza’s got a lot happening for the man that likes to move. Taking some time out between yoga retreats here on the island, we hooked up with our friend Artash Doult, partner in Active Ibiza. And where better to hook up than out on a canoe in the Balearic Sea?
‘The unspoiled gems - the more remote places that people don’t necessarily get to see on the island - that’s what we’re all about.’ Artash crunches the wheels of his Fiat over loose stones, along the camino and into the bay. The beach is tucked away discreetly in the North of the island between Portinatx and Sant Joan. It wouldn’t be the easiest place to find. Thanks Artash.
It’s 10am and Cala Xarraca is empty, just our group of adventurers, a lazily opening chiringuito and the shimmering blue sea. The perfect morning. Artash has kindly offered to show so we flow... how he flows, though recent backend updates to the Active Ibiza website have meant he’s been pushing too many pencils of late. He’s glad to have an excuse to get out in the sunshine and try out his new excursion leader.
Raul has absolutely nailed the archetype of a Spanish outdoor activity guide. What a hero. Evenly tanned, fit-as-a-fiddle, passionate and energetic about the magnificence of the natural world around us, and overflowing with knowledge. His English is brilliant, we feel safe with him, he’s got a little straw hat and it seems like he knows every nook and cranny of the rugged, rocky coastline.
Paddling out to green-watered, shimmering limestone caverns, we bear witness to millions of years of life and death in the intricate fossils and erosion of the coastline. It’s all deeply humbling. This is far better for the soul than DC10 or Craig David’s TS5 Pool Party. Fair-skinned, I’m keeping hold of my ‘Til Death Do Us Part T-Shirt to show some love for my easily burnable shoulders.
After a good long row across the bay, we’re invited to leave our kayaks and do some cliff jumping. The rocks are super-sharp and there are some shaky legs as we approach the 8m ledge. Artash and his Spanish hermano, Antonio, are straight off. There are some Spanish girls watching from the kayaks, so I guess I should save my hesitation for another day. Go on. You can do it. Weeeeeee. SPLASH. That was fun. Raul is the last to jump, he goes a bit higher than us and throws a serious Tom Daley-style back flip, landing perfectly toe-first. Ten. Ten. Ten. Ten. It’s unanimous.
‘We try to make sure that we work with the best guides’, Nods a proud Artash.
We move on for a spot of finger and toe-shredding rock climbing inside a cave that reaches out over the sea. As we float over to a quiet bay, we come upon a romantic couple who had clearly hoped for a little more privacy. Sorry guys, you might have thought you’d found a secluded spot, but Raul knows them all.
Fins and snorkels on and we hug the rocks, faces down, to see grouper, catfish, octopus, corals, chromis and so many variants of shiny, colourful, wonderful little sea creatures. Neptune grass – or posidonia oceanica – is a seaweed that keeps the waters so clear, the views underwater are mesmerising. Snorkelling is the best part of the excursion, a window to a completely different and mind-blowing world.
Dragging the kayaks onto the shore at the end of a memorable trip, Raul says,
‘We love to invite conscious and sustainable tourism. Families. Small groups. People who marvel at and respect planet Earth. While visitors are enjoying the nature, I like to make a point of picking up any plastic and setting an example. If they see me do it, then they think about that, and then maybe, just maybe, they do the same.’
Artash, Raul, Active Ibiza, thank you for sharing a peek into the other side - the marvelous world of hassle-free outdoor activities in the furthest reaches this magical island. Peace to you my hermanos. Stay active, stay spreading good vibes, stay doing what feels good for you, and stay in the flow.
From walking to e-foils, rock-climbing to sunset kayaks and from horse riding to Jeep safaris.
Ibiza Spotlight on Cala Xarraca
One of the best spots on the island.
Pure Om Yoga Studio in Santa Eulalia, Ibiza
Bilingual and regular Yin, Ashtanga, Hatha and Soft Yoga, recommended through our White Island yogic community.
Bio-ecological herb garden in the North of Ibiza, created and
Ibiza Vertical Centre
Indoor and outdoor climbing walls.
Bar & Restaurant Can Nuts in Cala LLonga
Quality, independent chef, Nanu will treat you with goodness straight from his own organic garden.
The Mat Movement
Contact Pete and Collette of The Mat Movement host regular soulful yoga journeys at amazing villas in the rustic north of the island.
Check out some of the most amazing dive sites on the island.
Secret Walks by Rob Smith
Ibiza Rock Climbing by Rainer Klingner
The White Island; The Colourful History Of The Original Fantasy Island, Ibiza by Stephen Armstrong
Mr Pikes; The Story Behind The Ibiza Legend by Matt Trolloppe and Tony Pike
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