Puerto de la Cruz is a city of the island of Tenerife. It is more a family-friendly and older resort than the other tourist areas of Tenerife.
Puerto de la Cruz was originally established as a fishing village and eventually became the port for the nearby inland city of La Orotava. During the 17th century it developed into the most important port of Tenerife's north coast, used for exporting sugar cane and wine from the Orotava Valley. Over time the city developed a separate identity from that of La Orotava, and finally gained full municipal autonomy in 1808.
In the late 19th century British elites began to visit, staying in many of the older Spanish manors which had been converted into luxurious hotels. In 1955 mass tourism arrived in El Puerto, or Puerto Cruz, as it is sometimes called, and since then has been the largest basis of the city's economy.
- 1 Oficina de Información Turística Cabildo (Tourist Information Cabildo), C/ Las Lonjas, s/n (C/ Las Lonjas, s/n), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa Su 09:00-17:00.
- 2 Oficina de Información Turística CIT (Tourist Information CIT), C/ Puerto Viejo, 13, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 09:00-13:00 16:30-19:00.
Many people will arrive on a package deal. Some by taxi from the southern airport (very expensive) and some by bus via Santa Cruz bus station (easy to do if you do not have too much luggage). Some airlines now fly in by the nearer northern airport, but on the whole only from mainland Spain. It may well be cheaper and pleasanter to pre-book a return taxi or shuttle bus from Tenerife South and to hire a car locally, than to hire a car from the airport at about twice the daily rate.
For travellers without much luggage, the local Titsa express bus 343 is very cost effective and efficient, and serves both airports. From Aeropuerto Sur a one-way ticket costs €13.55, and from Aeropuerto Norte €4.75. Tickets can be purchased directly from the bus driver, exact change not required.
Tenerife has a good bus service and all buses stop on C/ Cupido, just across the street from the now defunct bus station in the centre of town. The 1 Titsa Information Centre (tel. +34 922 381 807, M-F 06:00-20:00, Sa Su and holidays 09:00-17:00) has bus schedules and route maps, and sells Bono cards, which can save 25% on bus fares as well as on museum entries. A single card can be shared by a number of people.
Note: If you travel to/from Santa Cruz, the direct bus 103 goes by motorway and is quick. The other bus 102 takes maybe three times as long, visiting everywhere on the way, including Tenerife Norte airport and La Laguna. Going south you can take a direct bus (only a few times a day) or change at Santa Cruz bus station.
There are several travel agencies too for tours around the island or to other islands.
Puerto de la Cruz is well-connected to the east and west through the TF-5 motorway. The Teide mountain area can easily be reached by just following the TF-21 uphill. Don't listen to your GPS when it proposes leaving that road while you are still within the settled areaː It may be a shorter way to climb up one of the narrow Caminos but it isn't necessarily faster, and depending on how good your navigation system is you might easily end up in a dead end. Driving over the mountain to Los Gigantes will take you over an hour the first time, even if you're brave. If you are nervous, just don't do it as the road winds scarily over high mountains. If you're driving to the Costa Adeje area, it's much quicker to go via Santa Cruz on the motorway, which takes about an hour.
Once you get away from the main shopping centre it's uphill all the way, and a fairly steep climb in places.
The long-distance Titsa buses are used as the local bus service. See above for bus details.
Hiring a car locally is cheap and easy. Even with a small car (highly recommended!), navigating the old city centre can be tricky, as there are many narrow one-way roads. A GPS navigation system can help here, but don't trust it blindly as the map data may be outdated. Finding a parking spot can be even more of a challenge if you don't know where to look for it. Your safest bet is the huge 3 parking lot near the harbour (free of charge). To get there, enter the Paseo Luis Lavaggi at its far western end. This road already has some 4 parking spaces, but to get closer to the harbour you can go all the way through, turn left at the traffic light and then follow the road up the hill and along the coast. Note that it is not possible to enter directly from the east through Calle San Felipe. Also note that in most maps this is marked as (futuro) Parque Maritimo. Don't get fooled by that, as it has been the future maritime park for decades and will probably remain a parking lot for quite some time.
The old port area is bustling and has surprisingly good and interesting shops tucked away among many pleasant bars and bistros. While there are lots of tourists in this area, they are mostly Spanish, and the area is pleasantly free of German and British junk food outlets. Real fisherman still go out from here. As there is so little water space in the harbour, boats are lifted in and out of the water by electric cranes; it's very pleasant to sit with a coffee and watch them. You will still see fisherman gutting squid and scaling fish on the harbour steps. The end of the sea wall by the harbour is a good spot to sunbathe and plunge into the sea, if scarily close to the boats powering in and out of the harbour.
Between here and the Lago Martianez is a fairly tack strip of neon-lighted shops selling two-year-old technology at today's market rates, etc, but overall it's a pleasant walk with some nice churches, houses and gardens in amongst them all.
Museums and historic sites
- 1 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Eduardo Westerdahl (MACEW / Eduardo Westerdahl Museum of Contemporary Art), C/ Las Lonjas, s/n (1st floor of the Casa de la Aduana), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 10:00-14:00, F 10:00-14:00 17:00-19:30. Located in the former Royal Customs House, it was established in 1953 as Spain's first contempoary art museum. It has a good collection of modern works by Canary Island artists. €1.50 (adults), free (children).
- 2 Batería de Santa Bárbara, C/ Las Lonjas, 3 (next to the MACEW). This defensive fortification was built in the mid-18th century to protect the city from pirates.
- 3 Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum), C/ El Lomo, 9A, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Sa 10:00-13:00 17:00-21:00, Su 10:00-13:00. Has a large collection of indigenous Guanche artifacts, with a focus on pottery. €1 (adults), free (children).
- 4 Castillo de San Felipe, Paseo Luis Lavaggi, 12, ☎ . A small defensive fortress built in the early 17th century to defend the town against pirates. After being completely renovated in the late 20th century, it is now used as a venue for concerts and art exhibits.
- 5 Iglesia de San Francisco (corner of C/ San Juan and C/ Quintana). Likely the oldest building in Puerto de la Cruz, the church was built between 1599 and 1608 and was attached to a no-longer extant Franciscan monastery.
- 6 Ermita de San Telmo (Chapel of St. Telmo), Paseo San Telmo, s/n. Erratic hrs. The small chapel was built in 1780 and dedicated to the patron saint of seafarers. After being partly destroyed by flooding in 1826 the chapel was rebuilt, and fully restored several years ago. Of special note is the interior Mudejar-style carved wooden roof truss.
- 7 Loro Parque, Avenida Loro Parque (Punta Brava), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 08:30-18:45 (last entrance at 16:00). A large zoo with shows from many of the inhabitants. Named after the parrots who the park started with, there are now also penguins, dolphins, whales, sea lions and plenty other animals. Pre-order your tickets to avoid the queues at the entrance, but regardless you'll have to endure the queues on entering where they insist on taking your photo with a parrot which you can buy at large expense later. You can also buy inclusive coach trips from Costa Adeje/Las Americanos which will take you there for the day and back (about 90 minutes travelling each way). Bringing your own drinks and food is explicitly permitted, with "Picnic areas" provided throughout the park. €33 (adults), €22 (children 6-11).
- 8 Jardín de Aclimatación de la Orotava (Jardín Botánico / Botanical Garden), C/ Retama, 2, ☎ . Daily 09:00-18:00. Established in 1788 to nurture specimens brought back from the New World on their way to mainland Spain, the Botanical Gardens have a large selection of tropical trees and shrubs. Even if you're not interested, it's a beautiful place to wander around and relax. Don't expect to see much of the native Canarian flora there, though. €3.
- 9 Jardín de Orquideas Sitio Litre (Jardín Sitio Litre / Orchid Garden), Camino Sitio Litre, s/n, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 9:30-17:00. The lovely English-style garden of an 18th-century mansion features a large collection of orchids along with bonsai trees and a dragon tree. Famous past visitors have included Sir Richard Burton as well as Agatha Christie, who was inspired to to write her short story collection The Mysterious Mr Quin. There is also a pleasant terrace café. €4.75 (adults), free (children).
- 10 Risco Bello Jardín Aquático (Risco Bello Aquatic Garden), Ctra Taoro, 11 (near Parque Taoro). Daily 09:30-18:00. Owned by a pair of elderly sisters, this lovely garden features a number ponds with abundant bird life. The small café in the historic mansion is a peaceful spot to enjoy a drink and snack. €4 (adults), €2 (children).
- 1 Lago Martiánez, Avda de Cristóbal Colón, s/n, ☎ . 10:00-17:00. A fantastic, post-modern swimming and sunbathing complex designed by the famous Lanzaroteno architect Cesar Manrique. It's a bit concretey by modern standards but is still an awesome paradise which costs hardly anything to enter for the day. €5.50 (adults), €2.50 (children under 10); price includes sunbeds.
About half a kilometre to the west of the harbour is the 2 Playa Jardín, the town's lovely natural beach. The sand is fairly coarse and black, and getting into the sea isn't always easy because of the coarser shingle at the water's edge. The surf is substantial, but not scary and there are lifeguards, along with good facilities in terms of sunbeds, changing, showers, toilets, cafes etc. To the east, there is another beach, the 3 Playa Martiánez – just follow the main promenade east past the Lago Martiánez.
For those seeking a little more seclusion, the black-sand beach of 4 Playa de Bollullo is a short distance to the west of town, with a beach bar for refreshments. Nearby 5 parking spots (paid) are available by the Restaurante Bollullo.
The usual Spanish knick-knacks and tourist tat. British newspapers. Steer clear of cameras, binoculars, etc from Asian dealers which are not a bargain like they may first seem. You can almost certainly buy them cheaper back home and take them back if they are faulty. Many shops shut for a few hours from midday.
- 1 Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market), Avda Blas Pérez González, 4, ☎ . M-Sa 08:00-14:00 16:00-20:00. The city's main market has 30 stalls; services and non-food related goods are located on the ground floor, and food items are sold on the first floor. There is also an Alteza supermarket in the building.
- 2 Centro Comercial las Pirámides de Martiánez, Avda de Aguilar y Quesada, 1, ☎ . M-Sa 10:00-21:30, Su and holidays 10:00-20:00. Puerto's main shopping centre has a number of shops and restaurants, including a Mercadona supermarket.
There are lots of good, affordable restaurants offering typical Canarian and Spanish food in Puerto de la Cruz, especially in the old part of the town. Expect to pay between €15-20 for a meal consisting of grilled fish, Canarian potatoes, mineral water and maybe even a starter such as a bowl of gazpacho soup. Of course most international kitchens are represented too. Food hygiene standards are good, so it's generally safe to eat just about anything.
- 1 Mesón Los Gemelos, C/ Peñón, 4, ☎ . Th-Tu 12:00-23:00. Popular with both locals and tourists, this restaurant serves traditional Canarian cuisine in a pleasant setting with friendly service. On weekends the queues to get in can be very long, so reservations are recommended. Mains €8-14.
- 2 Restaurante La Papaya, C/ del Lomo, 10, ☎ . Th-Tu 12:30-23:00. Located in a historic building with lovely courtyard, the established restaurant is best-known for its traditional Canarian seafood dishes. Mains €9+.
- 3 Restaurante Mil Sabores, C/ Cruz Verde, 5, ☎ . F-W 12:00-23:00. Serves creative Mediterranean cuisine. Reservations recommended. Mains €12-18.
For those who self-cater, there are several good-sized supermarkets in town.
- 4 Mercadona, Avda Aguilar y Quesada, 1 (in the Las Pirámides de Martiánez shopping centre), ☎ .
- 5 Mercadona, C/ Blanco, 30, ☎ . M-Sa 09:00-21:30.
- 6 Supercor Expres, C/ Marina, 8, ☎ . Daily 09:00-24:00. A bit more expensive than the others, but open late nights and Sundays.
Whatever you like is here though you'll normally have to go down south for 'happy hours' and the disco scene.
Better to book before arrival as a tour or on the internet. Some agencies do long lets. Remember that it can be a long way up a steep hill back to your hotel/apartment if you are at La Paz, the back of town or 'German Town' as some call it because of the number of Germans who have bought apartments there. However taxi service in town is very cheap.
- 1 Be Live Experience Orotava, Avda del Aguilar y Quesada, 3 (200m from the beach and Lago Martiánez, 6km from Los Rodeos airport), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 60€+.
- 2 Hotel Marquesa, C/ Quintana, 11, ☎ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 08:00-12:00. Built in 1712 as a private manor, the building is named after the Marquesa de Candia, a previous resident. In 1799 the Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt stayed here for five days as a guest of the then-owner Bernardo Cólogan y Fallon. In 1887 it was converted to a hotel. Modern facilities include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, onsite restaurant, non-smoking rooms, and free Wi-Fi. €61+ (doubles).
- 3 Hotel Monopol, C/ Quintana, 15, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. This 250-year-old hotel has modern facilities including an outdoor pool and onsite restaurant. Wi-Fi is €6/day; pets permitted on request. €45+ (singles), €78+ (doubles); breakfast included.
- 4 Hotel Tigaiga, Parque Taoro, 28 (Taoro Park), ☎ , e-mail: 922 383 500 +34 922 383 500. A great place to relax. It is surrounded by an extensive subtropical garden and from the heated swimming pool you can enjoy panoramic views which reach from Teide volcano over the Atlantic. €184+ (doubles, half-board).
Puerto de la Cruz is often hazy, especially in the afternoon. The temperature drops with the haze, but the UV penetration doesn't; it's very easy to get badly sunburnt here on a hazy day if you don't realise this.
Some people who have hired cars here have been told to leave nothing in them overnight and to even leave them unlocked as that way they do not get their windows broken by people looking to steal from them.