Collage of Ibiza with Rave Lights in Sky

A Guide to Raving in Ibiza With (or Without) Psychedelic Drugs

People from all over the world flock to Ibiza for world-class DJs, drugs, and spiritual connection.

DoubleBlind Mag

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Disclaimer: this article covers a legal theme.

When I first arrived in Ibiza, in June 2016, my friend and I settled in our hotel room and then went out for cocktails in the evening. Once we sat down, the server read off that day’s drink specials, followed by a list of drugs we could purchase in the bar’s bathroom. That’s when I knew there was no place like this. 

Ibiza has a reputation as a destination for experimentation with substances; after all, there’s a reason why, of all places, Mike Posner sings of taking a pill in Ibiza. The Spanish island is also known for its electronic music scene, with world-famous DJs mixing beats at clubs like Amnesia and Pacha. However, psychonauts flock there not just to take illicit substances at raves, but also to participate in plant medicine ceremonies, spiritual retreats, and more. 

READ: Here Are the Best Places to Rave in the World

The Ibiza Clubbing Scene

Every day, Ibiza hosts electronic dance music parties that last until the wee hours (and even the later hours) of the morning. Visitors have many clubs to choose from, from the upscale beach club Ushuaïa to the immersive, high-tech Hï Ibiza. Some people find this electronic music scene to be healing

Crowd at a Rave with Strobe and Laser Lights
Image Courtesy of Harrison Haines via Pexels

“Not all raves are the same; however, they have been known for years to have an energy of celebration and full self-expression,” says psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist Dr. Cat Meyer. “This alone can be healing for individuals who might have been brought up in cultures that are more rigid or fear-based around self-expression. Similarly, raves can also contribute to a sense of community and belonging through the shared experiences of dancing.”

Timon van Basten, a tour guide and founder of Travel Spain 24, has experienced this himself in Ibiza; he remembers “brilliant flashing lights” in the night sky “creating an amazing scene under the stars” at an outdoor afterparty.

“Experiencing a rave on the island immerses you fully in intense emotions and pure joy, letting you escape your daily worries for a while,” he says. “It’s a place where normal pressures fade as people from all walks connect through a shared love of music.”

Of course, drugs are not necessary to connect with this kind of community and transcendence. “The underground rhythms have a healing power of their own when experienced through mindful presence on the dance floor,” says Andy Medearis, travel expert and founder of Deals Points. “For me, this spiritual aspect really comes through during sunrise sets, as the new day cracks across the horizon.” 

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Drug Tourism in Ibiza

Though they’re certainly not the only attraction the island has to offer, drugs are common in Ibiza. In addition to being offered drugs at a bar the moment I stepped foot there, I have also seen people openly selling illicit substances on the beach.

“Ibiza is strongly linked to the image of drug use,” a representative from the Ibiza-based harm reduction organization Consumo Cuidado told DoubleBlind. “The big companies that benefit from tourism are in charge of turning the Ibiza product into a ‘lawless land, where you can make your fantasies come true without consequences.’ In other words, ‘what happens in Ibiza stays in Ibiza.’”

Ecstasy/MDMA Pills

The most common drugs seen in Ibiza are alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, ketamine, and MDMA, according to Consumo Cuidado. “Many people come to Ibiza with the idea of using drugs, even for the first time in their lives, because it is what is transmitted and sold through advertising and social networks, implicitly,” Consumo Cuidado’s representative said. “However, at the same time, the very companies in charge of disseminating this image associated with ‘carpe diem’ refuse to acknowledge that this consumption, often uncontrolled and uninformed, takes place in their establishments, and therefore make it impossible to take measures to reduce the risks in these spaces.”

Other Psychonautic and Spiritual Activities in Ibiza

Maria Johanna, a psychedelics expert and author of Microdosing and Angel Kisses, used to host ayahuasca ceremonies and soul purpose retreats in Ibiza. “Ibiza has a very high energy,” she says. In addition to raving and plant medicine, Ibiza is home to ecstatic dance circles, cacao ceremonies, and a “hippy market” where people gather to buy and sell clothing, jewelry, and art. Often, these events are where people learn about plant medicine ceremonies, says Johanna.

READ: The Ultimate Music Festival Essentials List

People who are seeking a transcendent experience but aren’t into typical raving might enjoy clubs that are off the beaten path. There are “a few different clubs that are more spiritually focused for the medicine community,” says Tricia Eastman, founder of Psychedelic Journeys and Ancestral Heart, and author of Seeding Consciousness: Plant Medicine, Ancestral Wisdom, and Psychedelic Initiation. “Cova Santa hosts more conscious parties in relation to the party places like Pacha. Garden of Light has artists like Porengui, who takes inspiration from ayahuasca. Tao and other musicians do a blend of Sufi music, which has been called Sufihuasca by the local community, and Persian artist Baramji blends his traditional music with Vedic chants and ayahuasca Icaros.”

Substance Harm Reduction

In any unfamiliar setting where there is substance use, one needs to be careful for multiple reasons, one being the drugs themselves. If you buy drugs in Ibiza, it will likely be from a stranger, and you can’t trust the purity of such substances.

“The presence of fentanyl in drugs sold on the streets has been prevalent and contributes to high rates of unintentional overdose and death,” says Meyer. If you’re going to take the risk of buying drugs in Ibiza, you can bring a reagent test such as a Marquis test to rule out some (but not all) adulterants, according to Consumo Cuidado. To identify fentanyl specifically, fentanyl test strips can be life-saving. It is often less risky to buy from someone who is recommended by a friend or someone you trust.

Avoid mixing substances, as according to Consumo Cuidado, the combined effects of multiple drugs will be less predictable than the effects of any substance alone. Alcohol is especially problematic to mix with other depressants like ketamine, GHB, and benzodiazepines.

“We also recommend communicating to our circle of trust what we are going to do and having some minimum guidelines in case something happens, such as a meeting point and time,” Consumo Cuidado added. Party-goers might also identify a peaceful place they can go if they feel over-stimulated. Some clubs have nursing services, so ask staff about one if you aren’t feeling well. 

In addition, prepare as much as possible to mitigate negative effects. “It is essential to know the effects and dosage of the substance well, as well as to take into account important factors for the development and end of the party: always have water to hydrate ourselves, and some easy-to-eat food [like] fresh fruit,” Consumo Cuidado said. “Especially in summer, it is very important to always have access to fresh water, as hyperthermia is very frequent.” Eating something along with whatever substance you take can reduce the chances of nausea, overdose, blood sugar crash, and exhaustion, Meyer adds.

While every night is party night in Ibiza, clubbing consecutively day after day isn’t the safest strategy. “To support the serotonin and dopamine that may have been spent in the nights raving, be sure to take the next few days and amp up your self-care regimen,” says Meyer, who recommends “getting plenty of sleep” and drinking water and beverages with electrolytes.

Since you’ll be in Spain, Consumo Cuidado recommends the Spanish soup gazpacho for hydrating and replenishing nutrients, emphasizing that it’s important to “force ourselves to eat and rest.”

Clubbing Safety 

Since clubs are popular hookup settings, considerations regarding consent are paramount. Meyer suggests deciding in advance what kinds of connections you’re open to making that night (if any) and where your limits are, and discussing this with your friends.

“This will help with decision-making processes in the moment, as well as give your friends a heads up to check in with you if they see you extending beyond your boundary,” she says. “Have consistent check-ins with yourself: ‘Does this feel good?’ ‘Does this continue to feel good?’ ‘Did that feel good?’” If you struggle with saying “no,” she recommends creating affirmations for yourself like “I don’t need to allow touch that I don’t want” and “saying ‘no’ is kind.” You might also think up lines in advance like “I’m not interested, thank you,” “I’m feeling uncomfortable. I’m going to go find my friends,” and “leave me alone” and practice these in lower-risk situations.

Unfortunately, there are people who attend nightclubs looking to take advantage of others. Consumo Cuidado has received numerous reports of sexual assaults in Ibiza clubs. GHB and ketamine, two common date rape drugs, are frequently used in Ibiza. “At high doses and mixed with alcohol, these two drugs can cause an individual to lose their physical autonomy or pass out,” Meyer says. 

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For this reason, it’s important not to accept drugs or drinks from a stranger. If you’re concerned about someone spiking your drink, you can buy coasters online that detect the presence of GHB and ketamine when you put a drop of your drink on them. You can also get a drink cover, which goes over your drink and prevents anyone else from interfering with it, says Broke Backpacker founder Will Hatton.

“It has a small straw hole to put your straw through instead of being an open cup,” Hatton said. “This way, no one can slip something into your drink unbeknownst to you.” In addition, to be a good samaritan, Consumo Cuidado recommends speaking up if you witness anybody being taken advantage of.

And of course, there are the inherent risks that simply come with clubbing in a foreign country. Girl With a Passport founder Kelly Duhigg, who has adventured and partied in Ibiza, advises “planning transport so no one feels pressured to drive impaired” before going out. “It’s also important to watch out for each other,” she says. “Ibiza draws huge crowds, so keep an eye on belongings and check in regularly if splitting up. Going with a group helps ensure everyone stays comfortable.” Because Ibiza is “known to have some petty crimes,” Hatton recommends carrying your belongings in a fanny pack or crossbody bag rather than a loose-hanging purse. 

Drug Law in Ibiza

In addition to physical and mental health risks, involvement with substances in Ibiza is not without legal risks. Despite its cavalier reputation, Ibiza is still under Spanish law, which prohibits the use and sale of many drugs. 

“While the perception of looser laws may prevail due to the prevalent drug culture, the reality is that drug offenses are taken seriously by local authorities,” says Tautvydas Sutkus, a lawyer specializing in international disputes. “The possession, use, and trafficking of illicit drugs are all illegal in Ibiza, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment depending on the severity of the offense. Instances of individuals facing legal trouble over drug use, possession, and trafficking in Ibiza are not uncommon. Numerous reports document arrests and prosecutions of individuals involved in drug-related activities in Ibiza, ranging from tourists to local residents and even prominent figures within the entertainment industry.” 

While some drug users escape legal punishment in Ibiza due to the sheer amount of drug use there, the police do conduct operations targeting drug offenses, says Sutkus. On top of this, Ibiza’s airport security can catch people transporting drugs to and from the island, which may result in arrest, prosecution, and prison sentences.

“Law enforcement agencies employ sophisticated tactics to intercept drug trafficking operations,” Sutkus says. “Additionally, individuals may encounter challenges such as deportation, visa restrictions, and damage to their reputation, particularly if they are foreign nationals.” While punishments range in severity — someone transporting and selling a large amount of drugs faces greater risks than someone taking one pill themselves — no one is immune.

Thankfully, though, drugs are not necessary for a consciousness-expanding experience. For many, just being in Ibiza is a trip of sorts — in both senses of the word. “I never go partying; I don’t drink the alcohol. I don’t do the drugs,” says Johanna, who has had spiritual experiences just from renting a car and driving around Ibiza to witness its natural sights. Her advice? “Just before you go, have a selection of some places you want to visit — and for the rest, keep it open to let the magic happen. Don’t plan everything, but have time and space for spontaneous events.”

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DoubleBlind is a trusted resource for news, evidence-based education, and reporting on psychedelics. We work with leading medical professionals, scientific researchers, journalists, mycologists, indigenous stewards, and cultural pioneers. Read about our editorial policy and fact-checking process here.

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DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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