Mykonos was a Vegas-style blowout. Santorini was a peaceful retreat. But Ios may have been the stop I was most looking forward to on my Contiki Greek island tour. The island is a notorious stop on the world’s backpacker party circuit — sun and fun enthusiasts flock there every summer, lured by the promise of cheap drinks, white beaches, and proximity to other young hot people. I know, right? It sounds just terrible. Obviously, I had to see this place for myself.
At first I was disappointed to hear we’d be a twenty-five minute walk from the Chora, Ios’s tiny action center. Considering the island has all of five taxi cabs, I saw many self-pitying stumbles home in the dark ahead of me. However, like in Mykonos, I quickly forgave our distance from the action when I laid eyes on the location. I am not kidding when I say that I briefly considered scrapping it all, getting a bartending job, and moving into Far Out Village instead. (Not really. But basically really.)
Instead, I settled for vowing that someday, I will come back here for a minimum one week of play time. Far Out is broken into three separate accommodation areas at varying budgets, plus several restaurants, a watersports shop, a dive shop, a gym, a laundry, a beach club, multiple pools — it’s basically an all inclusive resort for the kind of people who don’t think they like all inclusive resorts.
I have a feeling that when I return someday, I’ll probably end up in what our guide Paola (un)affectionately referred to as “The Zoo,” the budget zone with camping, dorms, and super basic bungalows — I might live a flash life in baht, but in euros, I’m still very much a backpacker. So I made sure to soak up every second of enjoying our flash digs in the Village Hotel section of Far Out.
Because our group was so large, some were staying up at the Hotel and Spa at the top of the hill towards town — the newest and nicest of the accommodation options. Personally, I loved being down by the beach and so close to the water, but could certainly understand why those at the top loved their views, modern rooms, and shorter walk home.
I couldn’t get enough of how genius the Far Out model was. We loved staying in the laid back Village, where we had a relaxing pool to lounge by, a nice restaurant to order from, and a quiet place to sleep. But we also loved the fact that we were next door neighbors to the Beach Club, where the party fired up mid-afternoon and carried into Ios town after dark.
But as delicious as all those pool scenes were, none of them could compare to the addictive waters of Mylopotas Beach. I could get used to waking up to this every morning.
While I’d been itching to get out on the Aegean since Mykonos, Paola assured us that the prices for watersports would be much easier to swallow in Ios — and she was right. When I heard my roommate Lauren had never been on a Stand Up Paddleboard before, we made our way directly to the rental shack.
Granted, we did as much Lounge Down Paddleboarding as Stand Up Paddleboarding, but what can I say? Far Out put me in vacation mode.
But the paddleboarding was just the beginning. Suddenly, I felt an irresistible urge to pay ridiculous amounts of euros to be pulled by a speedboat on a giant inflatable couch, a mission Lauren and I were even able to recruit Paola to join us for. When the staff tried to talk us into more exciting and adrenaline inducing options, we steadfastly resisted. “No, we want the couch. Yes, the one for babies. Perfect. Thanks.”
We were slightly excited, as you may be able to sense.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the backdrop this silliness was taking place in front of? Damn I love Greece. Something I also love? The pure elation on these faces.
Early on in the ride, I suffered the tragic loss of hair tie. While it made for a serious hair snack while we were out on the water, it also resulted in some seriously entertaining images. I whip my hair back and forth, indeed.
Clearly, Mylopotas Beach is my kind of place. In fact, I’m already itching to go back. Summer 2015, anyone?
Next up… Ios outside Far Out beach club!
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Many thanks to Contiki for hosting me on the Greek Island Hopper. As always, you receive my honest opinion regardless of who is footing the bill.