Pirates Taxis to the Left, Illegal Street Sellers to the Right 

In ugly footage Telecinco’s ‘El Programa del Verano’ yesterday ran an undercover report and exposed on Spanish national TV Ibiza’s wide scale pirate taxi problems that occur daily on the island.

An undercover reporter exposed in less than 5 minutes what most of us have known for many years: large organised gangs of illegal drivers offering overpriced journeys with the optional add on’s of drugs and prostitution.

In a 12 minute special the TV programme laid bare the problem and lack of action taken by the authorities in confronting these illegal drivers. The reporter questioned the drivers themselves and also tourists showing that these drivers usually charge double even for small journies.

Ibiza Pirate Taxis – Undercover Report

While the pirate ‘taxi’ drivers ply their illicit trade unhindered at the airport and large clubs San Antonio’s seafront has also been in the spotlight after local residents prepared to make a formal complaint about a group of 6-8 women of African origin that gather daily between the egg and the Hotel Arenal.

Their  ‘trick’ is to pretend to shake hands with passersby then quickly put a small fabric bracelet on their wrists. Unsuspecting tourists are then asked to pay for it in a threatening manner with most just handing over the money to avoid confrontation.

One local resident issued a plea on Facebook when her husband saw a young boy appear to have a seizure when being harassed by the group whilst others have complained about young children being targeted.

It will be interesting to see how Ibiza’s lawmakers respond to these incidents and whether they will continue to hide behind the usual excuse of Spanish national law and it’s limitations whilst changing local laws to fine establishments for a whole range of minor infractions.

Ibiza is generally a very safe place however visiting tourists should be aware of these local issues. Always use a licensed taxi even if you have to wait a few extra minutes and if an African lady on the seafront tries to put something on your wrist then a firm and polite NO usually suffices.

If they continue to not take NO for an answer then threatening to call the local police will definitely do the trick. Please remember that if you agree to be bullied into paying for something you didn’t ask for and didn’t want then you become part of the problem, not the solution.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

8 thoughts on “Pirates Taxis to the Left, Illegal Street Sellers to the Right ”

  1. The scam by the African women isn’t any thing new, they tried that trick with me 2 years ago. Screaming at me that they wanted 10 euros for the bracelet

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have been coming to Ibiza on holiday since 1973, but because of the problem with the African women harassing us and San Antonio is no longer a family resort, we no longer go to Ibiza. We love the island and San Antonio but these women are very intimidating and we just can’t go for a quiet walk along the sea front without bumping into them. San Antonio just caters for groups of young people. We know of a few families who have been going to San Antonio for years have now changed holiday destinations.


      1. I quite agree and do so. I wouldn’t let them stop me but its sad that people should feel they have to do that. It should be policed and the constant harassment stopped.


  3. Pirate taxis also love to take you to your villa. Then give you a number of you need another journey. Once they have you all and he house is empty their friends move in and clear you out. They’re called pirates for a reason.

    PS. One of problems is tourists don’t have the numbers to call taxis/transport companies to hand. Solution: maybe publish them at points of entry.


  4. These women are extremely intimidating and nothing is being done to deter them. We never entertain them but they ate very forceful and work as you say in a group targetting anyone and every. It is extremely offputting and makes you want to take another route rather than pass them. Would a petition help cos I would sign.
    Its unreal that these very obvious illegal traders are able to continue whilst hard working people struggle and are penalised for trying to survive and encourage trade and tourists into San Antonio


    1. Maureen, I too have been visiting San Antonio for years (since 83) but as such I take the stance that over time, I (as you also do) pretty much own a share in the place. It’s more our place than it is theirs, Maureen so hold your head up, be assertive, say NO and totally blank them. Don’t let those women come between you and a very special place. It’s not SanAn’s fault that the street sellers and some tourists have spoiled it a bit, so look above and beyond them and know that one day it will all turn round and the good old SanAn will return.


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