The detectives were hired from outside of Ibiza so they won't be recognized by locals.


Super sleuths are on the prowl this summer in Ibiza. Posing as tourists looking to party, these undercover detectives are actually working with the police to shut down illegal gatherings amid renewed concerns over COVID-19.

Ibiza is known for its legendary nightlife that, under normal circumstances, attracts top-notch DJs and hordes of partygoers each year. But with the highest COVID-19 infection rate in Spain — 904 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days recorded on Wednesday, compared with a national average of 633 cases — the island is getting creative in combating the spread.

Aerial view of Ibiza town, Castell de Eivissa. Balearic Islands, Spain
Credit: Anton Petrus/Getty Images

According to the Associated Press, the city council of Eivissa (Ibiza Town as visitors call it) hired a detective agency to recruit tourist lookalikes to infiltrate illegal parties and report them to the police. To make sure nothing foils the mission, these sleuths were hired from outside of Ibiza so they won't be recognizable to the locals.

Though Spain has eased some of its COVID-19 restrictions, Ibiza is proceeding with caution. The island's nightclubs have been closed for more than a year, and bars must close between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

This is when the illegal gatherings usually take place.

Tourists looking to continue their night of festivities go to secret after parties hosted in secluded areas or inside private homes. Ibiza's safety regulations stipulate that no more than 10 people who live together can be in the same house at the same time. Authorities, however, say that some of these late-night shindigs have had upwards of 200 people.

These parties are well organized and continue occurring, despite a hefty fine of 600,000 euros ($710,000) that potentially awaits organizers.

Authorities have not released details on whether or not this sleuthing pilot program has been effective in shutting down the parties, but it will be assessed sometime next month.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @shedreamsoftravel.