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Ibiza Virgins - Dealing with expenses

You can't put a price on happiness, but a budget helps.

'You can't put a price on happiness.' These immortal words were written in the 18th century by an influential Genevan philosopher whose purse strings were spared the pleasure of navigating the modern holiday circus.

This article is part of our Ibiza Virgins' Guides, packed full of information on how to get the most out of your stay on Ibiza. Check them out.

Enter into a discussion on the Balearic Islands, and especially Ibiza, will be held up as a beacon of spirallling cost and great expense; you should be pleased to hear 'they' are all wrong. The exaggerated cost associated with any length of stay on the White Isle is exactly that: exaggerated - not only that but you shall find that the day-to-day cost of living here is actually very low.

Ibiza has long been one of the world's most revered musical meccas: tales of unrivalled hedonism and indescribable, surrealist happenings merge with marathon sets, musical joy and lasting intimacy. Although yes, the majority of your spend shall be on clubs, if done correctly there is no reason a break on Ibiza has to be any more expensive than anywhere else - yet Atlantis aside, it has more to offer you then any other hunk of rock could figuratively dream of.

People have been thronging here in droves for year after year for numerous reasons, perhaps it's the freedom of spirit, the energy that never dissipates, or the primal beauty of the rising sun - Ibiza's clubbing scene has remained untouched by the European recession - we remain as vibrant as ever. This is a guide on dancing: how to dance with Ibiza in the most lavishly cost-effective way possible.

So what is it about Ibiza's clubs?

Beginning with sound, the island's clubs boast the highest calibre systems made by the worlds premium manufacturers - you'll experience industry leading custom built Funktion 1 rigs, world-leading combinations of VOID speakers and Bodysonic floors, and setups that specifically analyse and amplify the frequencies most likely to make your body move.

Second: production. While some may roll their eyes at the troupes of be-sequined dancers, they are an ingrained part of the Ibiza experience and the importance of the non-musical production cannot be over-exaggerated. Pacha has its very own factory dedicated to creating the costumes, props and trinkets used in and around its various nights. Full-scale club transformations go far beyond festival level attention, involving whole teams of designers, conceptualists and creatives - your ticket does not just pay for a night, it pays for the rendition of an entire micro-universe.

To focus on clubbing

Make no mistake, the majority of your spend shall be on club and event tickets. An on the door ticket at one of the island's clubs can jingle to the tune of 20-80€ - but the prices are relative. A daytime party in Ushuaia is like a mini-festival and Amnesia's Cocoon can have the top three DJs on the planet playing in the same venue just metres from each other. The price of an on the door ticket fluctuates throughout the season and can be quite a bit more than an advance alternative. To avoid the on the door prices there are various routes available.

Ibiza Spotlight offers tickets for all parties, refund protection and a customer service team dedicated to working with each of the promoters, parties and clubs:

  • - An internet (pre-sale) ticket from Spotlight guarantees entrance to the club, also on the busiest of parties - clubs can close on the door ticket sales.
  • - As opposed to a ticket purchased from an official outlet or PR - with a Spotlight ticket you enter the club through a separate guestlist/internet entrance, which normally means less queuing.
  • - For most parties you can cancel and will receive a full refund completely free of charge up until 24 hours before the event.
  • - No VISA charges or delivery costs.

Advance tickets are also available from kiosks and static ticket outlets however these do not offer refund protection. Planning your clubbing route and buying tickets in advance ensures peace of mind: no matter how poor you suddenly find yourself, a deserved techno cuddle is already on the cards.

Drinks-wise, the rumours you've heard about drinks prices in clubs are unhappily accurate. With water topping ~15€ and alcohol spiraling upwards there is a lot to be said for exploring your local supermarket and pairing a bottle of red wine with a rocky sunset expedition pre-club: rock bottom alcohol prices - bottles of red and litres of beer run below 2€ - mean even the paupers amongst us can douse each other in champagne, sangria and affection.

Note that Spanish law allows free pouring which means a 'single' measure in one of the big clubs can happily equate to a British triple shot. What the law does not allow is the consumption of alcohol in 'public places' - in busy resorts like Playa d'en Bossa and San Antonio there are more and more controls, so better have a pre-club drink on the balcony of your apartment or room. But no wild parties - just a drink please!

Getting around on Ibiza

Taxi - Regarding transport to the clubs, there are a few options dependent on where you are staying, be it Eivissa (that's Catalan for Ibiza Town, kids), Playa d'en Bossa or San Antonio. Taxis in Ibiza are not overly expensive - a ride from San Antonio to Playa d'en Bossa - probably the longest club excursion - will cost no more than 25€ and takes 20 minutes - split it between a full car and that's a mere 6€ each. Booking in advance can be unreliable so the best way is to flag one down or find the local taxi rank - be warned that at peak times, 9pm onwards, queues can be very long. Around any taxi rank or club there will also be locals offering 'illegal taxis', prices will be extortionate and there is no guarantee of your safety - Spotlight strongly advises against these.

See also our Holiday tips - Ibiza taxi fares.

Bus - Now a few words on buses: the island bus service is reliable, cheap and frequent. During the day buses run from San Antonio to Eivissa every fifteen minutes at 2€ each way. Routes to more outlying destinations are slightly less frequent. Normal buses run from around 7am until 11pm.

At night the Discobus takes over: buses running from around midnight to 6am which go via all the island's big clubs. There are two main routes, one running from San Antonio via Privilege, Amnesia, Heart and Pacha to Ibiza Town and the other running to Playa d'en Bossa via Ushuaïa, Hï Ibiza and Octan. There are other routes covering more of the island. Each strain is a two way route and is only a few euros each way. They run every half hour and every forty-five minutes respectively and operate from 1st June until 30th September. On busy nights Privilege and Amnesia run their own free or free with a ticket buses from the San Antonio bus terminal.

Scooter - If you are planning an extended stay then renting a scooter is both cost effective and allows you the freedom to properly explore the island. As well as scooters you can rent a dune-buggy, quad or car - but all are more expensive. You can look for local, independent companies as they are dotted around all the major tourist areas. The price of rental goes up as the season progresses: At an independent rental shop in San Antonio, a month long hire was €190 in June but €300 in August - but down with the length of rental. In June, a scooter can cost from 25€ for one day but as cheap as €190 for a whole month, equating to just over 6€ a day - or 3€ if sharing with another person. Scooters are very economical and a tank will only hold a maximum of 7€ - they are the most economical way to travel.

For more information about taxis, buses, scooter hire and other island transports see our Holiday tips - getting around on Ibiza.

To limit the scope of this article let us assume you have somewhere to live. Accommodation in Ibiza ranges from the sparse to the palatial, from budget hostels and apartments to 5-star luxury - find our choice of hotels and apartments here.

Require sustenance? If you stay in an apartment where you have somewhere to cook, day to day living can be very cheap. Supermarkets are best value for money, offering a wide range of products. Fruit and vegetables are very cheap - and very tasty.

Eat out and options are large, but find a local restaurant and expect the best value for money, cosy surroundings and fresh, delicious food. Especially the daily lunchtime menu is mostly very good value.

Spend-wise, Ibiza is like anywhere else - one can live well and sensibly or ride on the backs of pandering slaves and champagne spas. Buy tickets in advance, keeping an eye and an ear out for PRs and clubbing costs can be low, if not free. Make sandwiches instead of buying lunch, watch the sunset instead of hitting the go-karts, never order a Rekorderlig from a restaurant and always run for the Discobus.

The teams of the clubs and bars of the island work tirelessly to transport you away from reality and into a music-led paradise. Although climbing prices may seem to go against the spirit of Ibiza, when you break it down, the island still advocates equality and freedom for all - it is as expensive as you make it.

WORDS| Michael Hungtington

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