10 Lessons we have learnt in our first four months on Ibiza
Ibiza is magical. Moving to another country, changing jobs and schools and setting up a new home is an exciting adventure, but can also throw up unexpected challenges and stresses, even in such a magical place as Ibiza. Below are 10 lessons that we have learnt already, in less than 4 months, and no doubt there will be more to come, as we strive towards the elusive Ibiza dream
Even though you may be on your Ibiza holiday here, or have moved to the sunshine permanently, and all seems perfect and relaxed, never leave any bags, or valuable possessions unattended, even for one minute, or your house unlocked, or windows open when you are out or away. Ibiza is just like anywhere else in the world, in that crime exists (proof of this being that as I write this blog on a plane from Ibiza to Barcelona, sitting next to me are two handcuffed prisoners flanked by 4 armed guards!)
2. It does get cold
If you are looking for a house or apartment here to move permanently to Ibiza, just because it is fantastically hot in the summer, this does not mean that it does not get cold and damp in the winter. Therefore, remember, central heating is essential – Don’t buy a home without it!
Ibiza can be cold in the winter
3. No fire without smoke
On the above subject, if you are lucky enough to have a proper wood burning stove in your house/finca, check first that the chimney is not blocked, or that the extractor fan in the kitchen isn’t linked to it, or else you will find that the fan will blow all of the smoke and soot back into your room!
4. Time delay
Just because your appointment for anything (such as bank, car check-up, meeting etc.) is at say, midday, does not mean that it will be at midday. Always allow at least an hour for the other person to roll up with a smile.
5. Hands free
Even though everyone else seems to be on their phones whilst driving, it doesn’t mean it is legal. and if you get stopped by the local police, and you do not have a NIE number ( – i.e. Spanish ID), you will be frog marched shamefully to a cash machine and asked to pay a fine of €100-€200 (depending on what mood they are in) directly to them. And if the Guardia Civil pull you over, they will probably just shoot you. For fun.
6. Drinks free
Despite what you believe about Ibiza, driving whilst under the influence of anything is illegal, and the Guardia Civil take great pleasure in springing up roadblocks late at night, mainly on roundabouts, to catch unsuspecting victims, and to pass the time.
7. Car fun and games
When buying a car on Ibiza, there is also a transfer tax to pay to the Government, which can be hefty depending on the size of the car (particularly 4x4s of which there are many here). Make sure therefore that you negotiate with the Seller to try and split this 50/50 as part of the negotiations. Also, you should go to a local ‘Gestoria’ who will see the transaction through of your behalf and pay the fees etc. (at a cost of course). Ensure that you ask them to check whether or not the car has any outstanding loans or fines registered against it (as they do not do this unless you specifically ask), or otherwise two months down the line, you may find the police trying to impound your car, with the car still not in your name!
8. Applications for NIE and/or Residency on Ibiza
When going to the police station in Ibiza Town for the above, if you do not speak fluent Spanish and/or Catalan, you will get nowhere, as they will be unable or unwilling to speak your language (including English) Therefore, take someone with you who does, and be prepared to go back at least 2 to 3 times until you finally have the right set of acceptable documents (the requirements appear to change on a weekly, of not daily, basis).
9. Location, location, location
If you are planning to rent or buy a home on Ibiza, ignore the locals, or ‘townies’ who will tell you that anything north of Ibiza Town is too far away. The North of the island (in my opinion) has the most beautiful scenery, the best beaches, more space, friendlier locals, and is rapidly becoming THE place to be. And after all, a 20-minute or so car journey to the airport is still not too bad is it?!
10. Hablas Espanol?
If you are planning to learn Spanish when you arrive (and you should be), getting a tutor is not enough. You somehow have to immerse yourself into the Spanish way of life, although this is not as easy as it sounds on Ibiza, due to its heady mix of internationals, Spanish, Catalans and Ibizencan – so be patient. And one final bonus lesson we have learnt: Despite all of the above, Ibiza has the ability to create magical jaw-dropping moments when you least expect them, maybe on the school run, or on an evening out, and we wouldn’t change it, or our decision to move here, for the world. Mind you, ask me again in a year’s time.
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