i don’t know where i first heard of Cafe del Mar, whether it was from being big into electronica/trance back around the turn of the century (heh, love that i can use that phrase!) or maybe from my brother, who’s always up on things like this. but i knew, well over a decade ago, that i wanted to go to this place on an island where you watch the sun go down while chillout music plays in the background.
and i can finally check it off my list! after years of putting it off and worrying about how i’d fare on Ibiza traveling solo as a non-drinker/non-clubber (spoiler: JUST FINE), here i am.
the soundtrack for this post? the song that really got me inspired to make this a destination, “Adios Ayer” (go ahead, open in a new tab and start it; i’ll wait for you to come back) by José Padilla, the man who brought the chillout genre to the forefront via his residency at Cafe Del Mar ages ago. in case the name Cafe Del Mar sounds familiar, it’s because they have released (and are continuing to release) very famous chillout compilation albums.
before we get to the sunset pictures, a bit about the place. umm, so it’s not really a cafe.
there are two main sections, the newer one (on the left in the panorama, next to the building) and the older one, where i sat. thanks to some foursquare tips, i knew not to sit in the new section because the loud music from their neighbor Cafe Mambo spoils the mood. i was lucky enough to find a prime table close to the water on the older side. while you can still hear the bass from Mambo, it wasn’t as bad and the DJ played some great chillout tunes.
oh, sunset today was around 9:20; i got there around 8. if you see a table, grab it.
so the thing is, it’s REALLY expensive. like i said, not like an intelligentsia type cafe, but it’s more…well, expensive drinks and expensive food cafe. they serve all sorts of alcohol, nachos, burgers, sushi (somehow a very popular item on the island), and the like, and you can even get a hookah if that’s your thing. they also have and official caricature artist and roaming photographer, of course. (yes, it’s become very touristy.)
i had the following:
- plate of unimpressive nachos, €12(!)
- small bottle of diet coke, €6(!)
- small (and weak) cafe con leche, €4.50(!)
- one bucket list sunset, priceless
yeah. over $31 (USD).
i don’t get the impression that you are rushed to leave, but their policy is to have you pay as soon as the food comes out. there is a minimum of €20 to use a credit card.
if you’re smart, and i think i’ll do this tomorrow, there is a rocky shore in front of the Sunset Strip (the name of the area of San Antonio/Sant Antoni where all these places are located) that you can sit on for free. BYO-everything and you get the same sunset and the same music. (i actually knew about this beforehand, but i had to have the full Cafe del Mar experience at least once.)
the problem with having a prime location is that everyone and their mother (literally) will stand in front of you to get a photo. the best bet is to get a table directly at the edge, but those are hard to come by. still, one row in wasn’t half bad, especially since i was next to the opening that lets you down onto the beach.
enough of that, though — here are some shots of the sunset.
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) July 4, 2014
and yes, it’s customary to clap when the sun finally disappears. despite the hype, despite the crowd, it really was a magnificent sunset. this trip is already a success and i’m only on my first full day of it!