The Cave of Can Marçá: Ibiza’s secret gem
Some say that although Ibiza is a small island, it has thousands of secret nooks and crannies. These include white, sandy coves, fascinating historic quarters, extraordinary natural scenery and hippy markets.
In the north of the island is Port de Sant Miquel, around 20 kilometres from the capital, from Sant Antoni and from Santa Eulalia. A cave in one of the port’s cliffs, the Can Marçà Cave, is open to visitors. Located in a recess, and affording views of the islands of Murada and Ferradura, the quirky shapes of the rocks create an intriguing sight which is now offered to visitors on a tour full of special effects. Would you like to hear about one of Ibiza’s greatest claims to fame?
Marçà, the story of a cave in Ibiza
The discovery of the Can Marçà Cave is curious, as it was found by smugglers who used it for years to hide their contraband. They could reach the cave by means of a large opening 10 metres above sea level. The smugglers would hoist up the chests from their boats, and hide them in the cave, where they would remain until retrieved later on.
However, the cave was formed long before that, over 100,000 years ago, , caused by several geological faults. Having passed through ice ages and tropical climates, the cave now exists in a fossilised state. Only in its deepest recesses, the continuous drip of water goes on developing the stalactites and stalagmites.
In the 1970s, long after the cave had been abandoned by the smugglers, it was visited for the first time by the Belgian speleologist Jean Pierre Van der Abeelle. Inside, he discovered fossils of extinct species of animals. Some years later, it was decided to adapt the Can Marçà Cave and open it to the public. The project involved recreating the cave as it would have appeared long ago, including the waterfalls that existed once upon a time. In addition, light and sound effects were introduced.
Tour of the Cave of Can Marçà
The cave is located close to a viewing point, and the first thing to strike the visitor is the remarkable, panoramic views of the port, the island of Murada and the Balansat tower. There is also a terrace-bar where you can enjoy the views while you wait to go inside the cave.
This cave is the perfect attraction to visit with young children, as it is quite exciting, and at the same time, youngsters can learn interesting facts about geology and about how caves are formed.
The hole in the rock that forms the entrance to the cave is around 14 metres above ground level; access is by means of a terraced path between the cliffs. Visits are in groups, and are conducted by a guide throughout; they take between 35 and 45 minutes. Don’t forget to wear comfortable footwear and a jacket, as it is cooler inside the cave.
The tour route is around 350 metres long, with a gentle slope that anyone should be able to manage. The tour will take you through various chambers: the Entrance Chamber; the Temple of Buddha, which has the highest number of stalactites and stalagmites; the Waterfall Chamber, perhaps the most impressive chamber with the interplay of water, sound and light; the Lake of Desires, where you will be struck by the colour of the fluorescein-treated water; and lastly, the Dry Galleries, which lead directly to the cave’s exit.
Young children will have fun searching for the red and black marks made by the smugglers to show the routes to follow in emergencies — which can still be seen on the rocks.
The guided tour is conducted in several languages, depending on the composition of the group. Booking in advance is not required: you can buy your tickets at the cave itself. There are also toilets, a car park and a souvenir shop.
Boat trip to the Can Marçà Cave
Another exciting possibility is to book one of the boat excursions available to visit the Can Marçà cave. The itinerary allows the cave to be seen from a different perspective.
Departures are available from various ports, including Sant Antoni (San Antonio), Pinet Playa, and Port d’Es Torrent, to arrive at Port de Sant Miquel. As these are organised excursions, on arriving at the port, a minibus takes passengers to the cave for the tour, but also allow time to enjoy the wonderful views.
Afterwards, depending on the type of trip you have booked, you may be offered lunch at one of Port de Sant Miquel’s restaurants, or you may return to your departure point by boat. This can be a different kind of activity, ideal for families with children, or for couples, which is certain to leave you with wonderful memories of sailing the waters around Ibiza.
The proximity of Port de Sant Miquel also allows you a great opportunity to have lunch in one of its superb restaurants overlooking the sea: Port Balansat serves a signature seafood dish, while Can Tothom offers a mouthwatering paella; alternatively, you could eat at the Utopía Beach Bar.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get to the Can Marçá cave by bus?
Buses to Cueva de Can Marçà only arrive in summer: line 37 Port Sant Miquel-Es Canar; line 22 Sant Antoni-Port Sant Miquel; and line 25A Eivissa-Port Sant Miquel.
How to get to the Can Marçá cave by car?
After reaching the town of Sant Miquel, you will have to take the road to the port for about 3 kilometers and turn right before reaching the beach, crossing a bridge that leads to the cave parking, duly indicated.
What are the hours of the Cueva de Can Marçá?
Open every day of the year. In winter from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; in summer from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. / 2:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.