Puerto de la Cruz is a ‘cosmopolitan town full of culture‘ the phrase often used on TripAdvisor when trying to convince tourist the north of the island is where they should be. The words “Tenerife” and “culture” are not natural bedfellows. What normally springs to mind when most people think of Tenerife is sun, sand and sangria.
So what is Puerto de la Cruz?
In my opinion, Puerto has retained a flavour seen in many fishing villages on Tenerife. It is constantly trying to adapt to tourism thereby, losing a certain authenticity but in return, it gains with improved facilities such as hotels and restaurants.
When there I enjoy the different areas. I often start in Plaza del Charco with a coffee, in the shade of the trees. It has entertainment in the evening but it is quite awful. Dotted around the edge are a number of bars and restaurants not only local but pizzerias, burgers and German food. We never eat here, despite the best efforts of the PRs to entice us in – they try hard and are on commission so you can’t blame them. For something a little more to our taste we dive deep into the Ranilla district and C/ Mequinez. In this charming area, you’ll find old premises dating back from when the town was nothing but a port.
Leaving the square I head to the Plaza Europa, old harbour and popular little beach. On the harbour side is the Customs House founded in 1620 – it is the oldest building in Puerto. Today it is an art museum, there is also a café. At the rear, the remains of the Batería de Santa Bárbara still exist with steps leading down to the water. The Batería was a small fort that centuries ago defended the city from attack by sea. It housed four canons but unfortunately, hardly anything remains although it is a good place to watch the harbour activity.
From Plaza Europe walk to Paseo San Telmo, the promenade that links the old town to the new. It is very touristy with its array of ice cream parlours, electrical stores, jewellery and gift shops that the town is full of. If anything it is more touristy since the renovations, but it retains a unique beauty as the turbulent sea washes the rocks below.
You pass the Chapel of San Telmo, before heading to Lago Martiánez, a nice addition for people who don’t have access to a pool or don’t want to use the black beaches. In the lido are waterfalls and a giant fountain. The pools are filled from the sea, that is just over the wall, and levels rise and falls with the tide. It is all extremely clean, you can hire sunbeds and sunshades and there are places to buy food but you can’t take your own in.
What else is there to do?
I would recommend Taoro Park for the best views. It is above the town but for many, the walk up could be difficult so unless you have a car take a taxi, which is cheap. There are plenty of plants and trees to see as you saunter down the steps and walkways, it takes about 15 minutes to walk down and enjoy the view.
So that’s my take on Puerto, not a lot of culture, quite a lot of tourist trappings but tourists are the lifeblood of the island – like all of our resorts, it is far from perfect, but then where is?