Sky TV Ibiza Uncovered Series

Much maligned by some media outlets, San Antonio unfairly attracts the lazy journalism that makes it an easy target for sensationalist, seedy headlines about sex, alcohol and drugs. Its may be what some people do when  in San Antonio, but its not a reflection of San Antonio itself. In my opinion, Ibiza would not be Ibiza without San Antonio.

From humble beginnings as a small fishing village in 200BC, San Antonio, was transformed into a package tourist resort in the 1960’s, as the Franco led Government decided that mass tourism was the way to go. Poorly constructed, high rise Hotels, were thrown up without any consideration to the environment. The resort was marketed at the 18-30 agegroup wanting a fun holiday in the sun, with cheap booze and all night clubs. British holidaymakers became the resorts mainstay, just like Magaluf in neighboring Majorca. These tourists came to San Antonio to party with all the exuberance of a carefree youth, which we all envy and remember with fond memories.

The Notorious West End

It does not take a genius to work out, the consequences of allowing young adults the freedom to do what they want, in a holiday atmosphere full of cheap aclohol and all night clubs. Its these inhibited antics of druken behavior, that were beamed to millions of people, with the production of the Ibiza Uncovered reality TV show that was shot mainly in the West End area of San Antonio in 1997. It was a trashy, sensationalist show, that exploited the behavior of naive, young adults under the influence of alcohol. The cameras would wait until until 5am in the morning, to film people in the typical messy and disgusting state associated with long periods of Alcohol abuse. It was like shooting fish in a barrel and it brought Television Journalism to a new low, as the Sky1 series was the first of its kind. Countless more reality shows followed, exploiting the drunken antics of similar young adults on the streets of English towns.

Today, 14 years on, San Antonio is still tarnished with the taint of that Ibiza Uncovered Documentary. It was a commercial success for the TV production companies, but it projected a very biased and unfair image of the pretty, sunset bathed resort. When people think of San Antonio, images associated with the documentary spring to mind. The press like to cultivate this stereotypical image, as its adds an edge to their headlines. People who have not even visited San Antonio, will have preconceptions about the town. The facts though are a different story altogether and so is San Antonio.

Stand Up Paddling San Antonio

The resort is home to the Islands best all round family destination, in the area known as San Antonio Bay, almost 3 miles from the notorious, neon flashing lights of the West End. The Bay caters to a large British family market, with many hotels and apartments geared towards family entertainment. There are numerous restaurants and bars with playgrounds and areas where children can play safely while parents sit back with a drink or some food. There are three large playgrounds, a small fun park, Go Karting, Crazy Golf, Bungee Jumps, and the little tourist train that brings families on a pleasant 2 hour trip, up into the hills and valleys of Santa Agnes, stopping off on the way for a refreshing drink at a traditional country bar. Tribute bands, magic shows, comedians, drag queens and entertainers pack the resort during the summer months. In San Antonio bay there is always lots to do for families with a mixed age group right up to the teenagers and grandparents. Some of the Islands best Beaches are closeby. Cala Tarida, Cala Conte, Cala Bassa, and Cala Salada all only 15 minutes by water taxi which is the best way to travel to the Beaches. A bus service will also connect to them. There is also a large selection of Watersports, including scuba diving, stand up paddle surfing, wind and kite surfing, parasailing, water skiing, speedboats and Jetskis.

People Gather to Watch Sunset

On the other side of the bay is located the sunset strip, home to the famous sunset bars of Cafe Mambo and Cafe Del Mar. Here, hundreds of people of all nationalities, come together as one, to witness the setting of the Mediterranean sun. Its an uplifting and unique experience, as large groups congregate to clap and cheer as the Sun finally sets below the Horizon to a chilled out, musical soundtrack, that was pioneered on that very spot back in 1991 by DJ Jose Padilla. The Sunset Strip is most probably my favorite area of San Antonio. Its a lovely, relaxed mix of local residential shops and parks and understated tourist attractions. A long wooden boardwalk connects the bay area with the sunset strip and is over 4 miles long. There is nothing more pleasurable that a leisurely walk along this promenade at Sunset stopping off at Rita’s Cantina or The Golden Buddha for a chilled refreshment.

Cala Gracionetta Beach San Antonio

There is also the lovely quaint beaches of Cala Gracio and Port De Torrent, the Aquarium at Cap Blanc, and most notably the warm, friendly, welcome of the local people, one of San Antonio’s strongest selling points. In the middle of all this, there is the town center. A busy area full of shops, cafes, ice cream parlors and some of the best local restaurants on the Island. A 16th century church, the Passeig De Ses Fonts, (a collection of large fountains that are illuminated at night) a busy harbor port area, with boat trips to some of the best beaches in Ibiza. Oh yes, least I forget, there is also that small area tucked away amid three or four narrow streets, that only comes to life at 9pm every evening, but accounts for all the negative publicity that San Antonio receives. Young adults will move from this area around 2am as they walk the short distance to the two Superclubs of Es Paradis and Eden.

For me, San Antonio’s most attractive asset is its unpretentious, innocent and youthful holiday atmosphere, that melts into those wonderful sunsets each evening, before that surge of excited energy associated with the expectation of what the night may bring in the summer heat of the Mediterranean, kicks in. So next time you hear people talking about San Antonio in a derogatory, throwaway manner, ask them are they aware of the real facts.