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Puerto de la Cruz - north Tenerife's top tourist destination


Puerto de la Cruz was originally a port serving La Orotava and, to this day, has a permanently busy harbour. Tourism started in Tenerife at the end of the 19th century, with the main areas being Puerto and Santa Cruz.


Puerto de la Cruz
Photo: Jens Steckert


Nowadays, it is Tenerife’s main holiday resort in the north of the island. It has resisted the temptation to remodel itself in pursuit of the tourist euro and still remains pure Canarian in character.

Puerto de la Cruz beach
Photo: Miguel303xm


Puerto de la Cruz beach
Photo: Miguel303xm


This has resulted in its being a touch more sophisticated than its counterparts in the south, with many fine restaurants, elegant plazas and streets and upmarket shopping. It is also blessed with a picturesque garden beach.

Many tourists from the Spanish mainland can be found here in the summer and it is a favourite with inhabitants of Nordic countries during winter, when they visit to enjoy the mild climate.

Weather

Towns in north Tenerife usually receive more rain than the south, but, because Puerto de la Cruz nestles at the foot of the La Orotava valley, it is sheltered from too much precipitation, yet has enough to maintain its lush, green surroundings. This, coupled with more sunshine than its neighbours, explains the presence of so many beautiful public gardens in its environs. It is, in short, an ideal climate.

November and February normally bring the most rain. The summer months of June, July and August are usually cloudy, but hot, due to the trade winds. The winter months of December and January enjoy clear skies and sunshine, but cooler evening temperatures. The best months to visit are September and October, when you are almost guaranteed long hot days with warm nights.

Gardens

Botanical Gardens

In the La Paz district, a ten minute drive from Plaza del Charco in the centre of town, you'll find the awesome Botanical Gardens, containing exotic flora from all over the world. The unique climate of Puerto is ideal for some of these tropical plants.

Things to look out for include the "drunken tree" (palo borracho), that sways like someone the worse for alcohol. Check out the "sausage tree" (arbol de las salchichas) that bears fruit looking extremely like those meaty treats. Another amazing specimen is the huge, 200 year old Higuera, with aerial roots speading over most of the garden.

Entrance is under 5 euros - well worth it!


Sitio Litre

Despite its name, this is an English owned garden and its style reflects this. It also houses the largest collection of orchids on the island.

Entrance 4.74 euros.


Risco Bello

A water garden situated next to the Hotel Taoro, it features waterfalls and ponds on different levels, connected by footbridges. Draped in bougainvillea, these pretty gardens ring with the sounds of insects and are heavily populated by dragonflies and butterflies.

Entrance 4.50 euros.


Sightseeing

Portside

When Puerto de la Cruz was originally a port serving La Orotava, it was actually known as Puerto de la Orotava.


Puerto de la Cruz harbour
Photo: Alcide


Even today, the harbour area remains extremely busy, with an abundance of picturesque fishing boats berthed there.

You'll find many food stalls, all serving traditional Canarian food, plus a giant pan of paella being prepared next to the fish displays.

During fiestas and the carnaval, the harbour is full of drinks stalls and churro bars, to cater for all the partygoers who flock there.

Twice a year, the harbour area is visited by a fairground and, once a year, a circus.


Church of Nuestra Señora de La Peña de Francía

This 17th century church, one of the most beautiful in Puerto de la Cruz, is found in the Plaza de la Iglesia, opposite the Monopole Hotel. Its lavish interior is something to behold.


Things To Do

Lago Martiánez

This is a swimming pool complex comprising seven pools, including a huge artificial lake with an island at its centre.

Built around tropical gardens, it features waterfalls, foot bridges and sun terraces.

For refreshment breaks, the complex offers a selection of bars and restaurants, plus snack bars and kiosks.

The complex is situated next to the casino and, at night, all the pools are underlit and the pathways are lined with tiny lights making for an awe-inspiring sight.

3.50 euros will secure you entrance for a full day and this will include the use of a sunbed and mattress.

Playa Jardin

This is Puerto's main beach and runs from Punta Bravo right across to the west end of town, at Castillo San Felipe.


Puerto de la Cruz Garden Beach
Photo: Edub


Its name means "garden beach", because it is backed by garden areas, including one devoted to cacti. As for going in the sea, the waves can be a bit high, but, provided the red flag isn't flying, it's safe enough.

There is a self-service restaurant there, plus toilets, showers and changing rooms.


Puerto de la Cruz is also the home of "Loro Park", Tenerife's premier zoo. With various animal shows throughout the day, including the famous one featuring parrots, this is a must for a family day out.


Eating Out in Puerto de la Cruz

The restaurant district of Puerto de la Cruz is situated in the old fishing quarter, in an area known as "La Ranilla". Here you can find Canarian and Italian cuisine, with superb examples of fish and other seafood.

More and more establishments are opening all the time, making for a bewildering array of possibilities for your evening dining. Many elegant and sophisticated eateries now line the cobbled streets, offering anything from classic Spanish dishes, through to nouveau Canarian, via Mediterranean and even vegetarian!

Restaurants worth a try include:

  • Regulo - Click here for Regulo page.
  • El Patio (formerly El Annexo) - Situated next to La Papaya, this is a quality restaurant small in both size and prices. Tel: 922 374712.
  • El Maná - Extensive vegetarian menu, but dishes done with gourmet flair. Expect the chef/owner to bring his dishes to your table! Quite a trendy place amongst young Canarians. Booking is advisable. Tel: 922 372474
  • El Padrino - Serving mainly meat and fish dishes, with a quirky international style that sets it apart from the other more traditional Canarian restaurants in the area. Tel: 922 382937
  • La Papaya - Very popular, serving both traditional and nouveau Canarian and Spanish food in an attractive setting. Sit in a beautiful garden courtyard with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly service. Great value for money. Tel: 922 382 811
  • La Rosa Di Bari - A sophisticated, Italian restaurant, serving freshly made pastas, with an exceptional wine cellar. Excellent value for money. Tel: 922 368523
  • La Tasquita de Min - Situated on the harbour, this restaurant is a firm favourite with the locals. Tel: 922 371834.
  • Mil Sabores - Its name means "thousand flavours" and this newly established restaurant certainly lives up to this name. Specialising in Mediterranean cuisine, there is also a superb dessert menu. Tel: 922 368172.
  • El Templo de Vino - Another new restaurant offering a superb selection of tapas, both traditional and modern. Some of the exotic flavours of Tunisia have migrated across the Atlantic Ocean to Puerto de la Cruz from Africa to create some interesting twists to the usual tapas fare. Great wine cellar, too. Tel: 922 374164


Shopping in Puerto de la Cruz

Once again, you are able to take advantage of Tenerife's duty-free status to obtain very cheaply priced goods.

Check out Centro Comercial Martiánez for designer clothes and shoes. Shops and boutiques can also be found on Calle de Hoya and around Agustín de Bethencourt.

A short taxi ride will take you to the famous Al Campo complex, which is a huge shopping mall, similar to the ones in the UK and USA. There you'll find a profusion of shops dedicated to fashion, shoes, jewellery, lingerie and sports wear, plus Spanish designer outlets such as Zara and Stradivarius.


Nightlife in Puerto de la Cruz

Early evening

  • Plaza Charco - Great place to relax and listen to live Canarian/Spanish music provided by a singer/guitarist.
  • Cafe Ebano - Very stylish, great for people watching.

A later drink

  • The Beehive Pub - Found on Calle La Hoya, a sports bar, showing football matches (premiership, European and FA cup), plus some rugby.
  • Molly Malone's - Needless to say, a generic Irish pub, not far from Puerto de la Cruz harbour. The boss provides the live music, performing all manner of traditional Irish songs, accompanying himself on guitar. Quite often, guest performers are featured. Very full Fridays and Saturdays. Time called at midnight.
  • Limbo - Good place to chill out. It has a large roof bar and is very popular with young Canarians.
  • Azucar - Cuban bar with DJ playing very loud Latin/Salsa music. Much energetic dancing throughout four seperate rooms. Usually packed, all different age groups. Live music occasionally on Thursdays. Open well into the night.
  • El Teatro - A new venue, quite Bohemian in nature, providing live music. For this reason, there is an entrance fee of about 10 euros, but this gets you one free drink.

Clubs

Puerto de la Cruz has many clubs, mostly along Avenida Generalísimo. They usually start buzzing around 1:30 in the morning. There'll be a charge of between 4 and 6 euros to get in. A tout outside will either take you inside or give you a ticket and, once in, you'll get a complimentary shot of some undisclosed alcohol.





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