Located within easy walking distance from the centre of San Antonio, and perched on the very edge of the rocky coastline is the Cap Blanc aquarium; underground caves where you can see a collection of typical Ibizan marine life and if you’re lucky a sea turtle or two.
Once used as a Lobster hatchery the Cap Blanc aquarium consists of five large open ‘tanks’ located in a cave in the coastline, visitors descend into the cave and walk along above the pools on a wooden gangway whilst looking down on the fish. These large main pools are open to the ocean allowing seawater to constantly come and go from the tanks, refreshing and oxygenating the water and giving the fish as close to a ‘natural’ environment as possible. Some more traditional fish tanks line the walls and holes in the ceiling allow natural light to filter through to the caves.
Since it is filled with ‘local’ species you will find it’s a rather monotone version of an aquarium, no exotic angel fish or colourful clown fish steal the show here! The majority of species are of a rather muted hue and although I don’t wish to be mean it has to be said that Ibizan fish are not the prettiest... What is impressive however is their size. The grouper, snapper and sea bream that fill the tanks are all fish that you could see whilst snorkelling or fishing in Ibiza, and in the controlled environment of the Aquarium they have grown to a size that would scare snorkellers and delight fishermen.
There are some weird and wonderful species in there too; the spiky Scorpion Fish is a strange looking character (still ugly, but also venomous so keep your opinions to yourself), the Flying Gurnard is impressive to watch using its winged fins to fly through the water and bright red and orange starfish dot the tanks with a much needed splash of colour. You’ll also spot a hound shark or two lurking around and be sure to scour the sandy beds of the tanks to try and see a stingray chilling on the bottom. In the tanks lining the walls you’ll also see lobsters, large sea snails, eels, catfish and octopus. Information signs dotted around tell you what you’re looking at and list some of the peculiarities of each type of fish.
The Aquarium is heavily involved with marine conservation and the protection of sea life so also dotted around the walls you’ll find information about the work that they do as well as reports on the state of the climate and the damaging rubbish that gets found in the local area. The conservation team - CREM Cap Blanc, do a lot of work with sea turtles and often the tanks in the aquarium will be home to turtles in need of treatment or recovery before being released back into the sea.
The aquarium is not large but it is impressive, the caves make for a unique location, you need only 30 minutes to see all that it has to offer but upstairs from the caves is a café/bar that is almost worth a visit alone. The café is located in a rustic shack-like building right on the edge of the rocks and the terrace has an absolutely stunning view down into the clear blue waters and back across the bay to San Antonio. If the sight of all the giant fish inside hasn’t put you off there's also a platform where you can jump into the sea. The café has a basic food menu of sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and salads which will cost you from €3 - €10, as well as fresh juices, iced coffee, smoothies and of course sangria; €8 for half a litre.
Getting to the aquarium is easy enough you can simply follow the sunset strip north out of San Antonio and then continue to follow the coast line along, you’ll come to a pedestrian walkway which will take you right to the cafe. The walk will take you roughly 20 minutes and will take you past some beautiful spots along the way but if you’re not happy to walk then you can get a ferry over from San Antonio port to the very doorstep of the Aquarium.
The aquarium is not accessible for buggies or wheelchairs, you must descend several stairs down into the cave and there’s no lift or ramp option. Again the boat trip option could work better. in this situation You should also note that there is no toilet anywhere on the premises.
Entrance costs €5 for adults and €3 for children.
Opening hours are:
June - September: 10am – 10 pm every day
May and October: 10am – 7pm every day
November – April: 10am – 2pm Saturdays only