Puerto de la Cruz sits on the northern coast of Tenerife only 30 minutes from the north airport by car or taxi. It’s a scenic drive with mount Teide on the right and the spectacular sea coastline on the left. Northern Tenerife tends to be lush with vegetation when compared to the south due to the mountain range separating the two. The north tends to be cooler and wetter and cloudier than the south of Tenerife.
This cosmopolitan spar town is the main tourist destination on the island and attracts over 900,000 visitors each year. Puerto de la Cruz has not lost any of its Spanish charm, where old cobbled streets with colonial architecture meet the modern setting of apartments, hotels, bars and restaurants. This is one of the few towns where the locals still eat drink and work alongside the tourists, and much of the nightlife here is geared to the locals. That helps to give Puerto de la Cruz that Spanish feel that you don’t find in most modern purpose built resorts.
This town has got to be classed as a shopper’s paradise with the many shops waiting to fulfil your every need. With the island enjoying a free port status, you should be able to find some real bargains, from electric goods, alcohol, perfume and Photographic goods. Be sure to visit the Martianez mall for clothing, shoes and gifts, to find it just look for the glass pyramids on the roof.
There is no end of entertainment in and around Puerto de la Cruz. Here I will list a few of the more popular ones to wet your appetite.
The award winning Loro Parque has over 200 species of parrot and other interesting animals. You can spend hours or even days if you really want to see all the exhibits and shows. You will also find cafes restaurants and burger bars so no excuse for going hungry. There are also plenty of picnic areas for the packed lunch brigade.
The Botanical Gardens at Las Paz, which is 10 minute’s drive away from the town, is well worth a visit. With over 5000 exotic flowers and trees set in 60,000 square metres of parkland. There are exotic species gathered from all over the world. Originally destined for the gardens of King Carlos III in 1788 but unfortunately they didn’t take into account the Spanish mainland winter climate. The project was abandoned, and Puerto de la Cruz gained a botanical garden, which flourished in the sub-tropical climate. Entrance is only 5 Euros for which you can enjoy a few hours strolling round the gardens.
The Lago Martianez was designed by César Manrique and first opened in 1971 as a multi-swimming pool complex. However, over the years it has grown up into the landmark of one large lake with seven smaller satellite pools with its centre dancing fountain; all set in 50,000 square metres of coastline. The complex offers bars restaurants and even a casino. You will find nothing like it on the island or any other.
The beach of Playa Jardín, also designed by César Manrique is one kilometre long of black volcanic sand. The Beach runs from Loro Parque to the Castillo San Felipe, a pentagon shaped castle built in the 16th century to defend Puerto de la Cruz from pirate attacks. Playa Jardín (Garden Beach) is enclosed by a botanical garden border with flowers, trees and waterfalls flowing into the small rock pools. A very scenic environment to relax on the beach or hire a pedalo, you could also try snorkelling in the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic sea.
Puerto de la Cruz was originally named Puerto de La Orotava as it was originally designed as a port to service La Orotava. From here they would export sugar and wine to the new world. There is still plenty of activity at the port with the multi-coloured fishing boats going about their business of supplying the local businesses with fish. Food stalls line the quayside offering traditional Canadian food and filling the air with their irresistible aroma. The Harbour area is also the centre of activity when the fiesta, carnival, fairground and circus arrive at the car park adjacent.
The nightlife in Puerto de la Cruz is steadier than the party resorts of the south. The Spanish culture is not one of drinking to get drunk but to socialise with friends and family and to finish the night off dancing to Latino/Club mix. With hundreds of restaurants and bars all catering for different nationalities and many offering entertainment you will certainly have plenty to choose from.