• The dusty charm of the bar at Cala Xerraca
  • One man and his lilo
  • The view from the sea

Have lilo, will travel

Tranquility if you want to swim for it.

The well-worn adage goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Anyone familiar with life on Ibiza will be only too ready to put a little more effort into their endeavours to find that perfect spot of secluded sunbathing. Starting down the meandering dirt track that leads to Cala Xarraca, it’s easy to think that the adventure will lead to an isolated beach with not a soul around.

Of course, as the track gives way to a clearing teeming with cars, it becomes apparent very quickly that in fact this beach is a popular draw for the local weekenders, despite being a cove nestled south-west of the most northerly point of the island, Portinatx.

One of the first things that strikes you about the area is the stunning architecture of the buildings to the right as you gaze out to the sea. Traditional Spanish villas they may be, but crafted with a passion and opulence that many of their identikit contemporaries fail to muster.

The main section of beach boasts a decent spread of sand, although at the peak of the weekend it still feels more than a little cosy. The rocky coast creeps in close, framing every possible angle and providing ample jumping opportunities for the kids. As with many of these beaches, the first steps into the water prove to be an unnerving combination of balance and endurance to reach a depth where you can comfortably launch off the rocky sea bed.

The real hook with Xarraca only becomes apparent as you swim out amongst the rocks. In the interests of exploration, we take a path between two sizable boulders to see what lies around the prominent point to the west of the beach. In an entirely separate bay, a small cluster of people sit basking in what seems like their own private beach.

Naturally, my interest piques at this idyllic cove, and so further swimming is undertaken to get a vantage point on how these plucky sun-lovers made it to the spot. It was quite clear by looking at the dramatic cliffs towering above them that there was no way down from up top. Not even a whisper of a path could be seen.

The aforementioned point that seperates the cove from the rest of the beach, surely that must be the way? With the umbrellas, bags and towels in use, there’s no way they could have just casually swum around for a pit stop before returning to the assembled throng on the sand. Yet, watching scores of people ambling up one side of the point, it becomes clear there’s no way down the other side. Instead, those that make it to the top stand and look dejectedly at the lucky few.

Swimming back to the shore, I have no answers as to how these intrepid souls managed to get themselves and all their accoutrements to a seemingly inaccessible spot. It’s only as I sit and dry under the baking sun that the answer reveals itself. Edging between the rocks I had myself passed through on my scouting mission, a lilo bobs up and down without a passenger. As it comes closer to the shore, so the man propelling the inflatable becomes visible, along with the luggage he has laden his vessel with. Suddenly it all becomes as clear as the water he swims in, and immediately I’m cursing myself for not having a floating ark of my own with which to carry my belongings. But that’s what makes the difference between the busy side of the beach, and your own private hideaway.


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