Things to do in Puerto de La Cruz – attractions, monuments, events
Located on the northern coast of Tenerife, the town of Puerto de la Cruz is one of the many sought after tourist destinations on the island.
Black sand, blue waters an flowers in bloom guarantee an unique combination of colours.
Find out, below, what not to miss on in Puerto de la Cruz.
Facts about Puerto de la Cruz
The settlement ‘Port of the Cross’ – this is the translation of the Spanish name – was created in early 16th century as a port to La Orotava town located further inland. It soon grew into a separate administrative unit.
Prior to being discovered by the mass tourism in the 20th century, Puerto de la Cruz became an important cultural centre of Tenerife in the 19th century, attracting important figures from the world of science, writers and the Spanish aristocracy which fled to Tenerife in the summer looking for relief from the oppressive heat of mainland Spain.
Until today, quaint atmosphere and tranquil atmosphere distinguishes Puerto de la Cruz from other popular locations on Tenerife, such as Playa de las Americas, Los Cristianos or Costa Adeje.
Somewhat different is, as well, the profile of visitors to Puerto de la Cruz, preferred by older tourists, who do not appreciate the hustle and bustle of busier destinations.
Puerto de la Cruz waterfront.
The town is located centrally on the northern coast of Tenerife, approximately 25 miles from the island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and 50 miles from the Tenerife South / Reina Sofia Airport.
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The distance from Puerto de la Cruz to La Orotava is about 4 miles.
Puerto de la Cruz has a population of approximately 30,000, a well-developed hotel infrastructure and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Beaches in Puerto de la Cruz
There are two major beaches in Puerto de la Cruz.
The most popular of them, Playa Jardin, or the Garden Beach, was ‘designed’ by a famous Spanish (Canary Island born) artists and architect, Cesar Manrique. According to his vision, a carefully landscaped garden was created right beyond the sand strip. Filled with many species of local flowers and cacti, the garden frames beautifully the beach.
The large and elegant Playa Jardin beach is located west of Puerto de la Cruz center. To the east, a slightly smaller beach can be found. Much like Playa Jardin, Playa Martianez is a black sand beach. Both are washed by the perfectly blue waters of the Atlantic.
It is worth to know that the northern coast of Tenerife is usually slightly colder and windier than the island’s south. Thanks to the favourable wind conditions, it is usually preferred by surfers in Tenerife. Playa de Martianez is one of Tenerife surf spots.
A small city beach can be also found in the central part of Puerto de la Cruz coastline. Playa del Charco, as it is known, can hardly compete with Jardin and Martianez beaches.
Related articles: Weather in Tenerife.
Lago Martianez – a pool by the ocean
Cesar Manrique is also the author of one of the most recognizable landmarks of Tenerife – the open-air swimming pool complex located in Puerto de la Cruz, right by the ocean.
On a very large area of over 33,000 sqm, a number of pools, lagoons and water fountains was created for leisure purposes. The pools are filled with sea water and shaded areas are created by palm trees creating a truly exotic scenery. While the amount of concrete in Lago Martianez can be overwhelming to some, those who do not appreciate the feeling of sand between their toes will feel like in heaven here.
In the price of admission to the complex (€ 5.5) is included a sunbed and a mattress. A selection of bars allows to spend the whole day in Lago Martianez, relaxing by the pool with a spectacular panorama of the ocean and the Teide volcano in the background.
Tenerife’s Botanical Garden
The Canary Islands, and Tenerife in particular, were in the past an important en route stop between Europe and the New World. In the Enlightenment era, the Spanish king Carlos III attempted ‘importing’ some of the endemic species of plants and trees from the Central and Southern Americas to Spain.
Such fragile cargo required gentle treatment and acclimatisation to a harsher weather.
By the royal decree from 1788, an ‘acclimatisation garden’ was created in Puerto de la Cruz, becoming later a botanical garden.
Tropical forest recreated in Tenerife.
Nowadays, the garden’s grounds occupy over 60,000 sqm, being home to thousands of exotic trees, shrubs and plants.
Loro Park – Tenerife attractions for children
At the western outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz, one of Tenerife’s major attractions can be found. Loro Park is a unique combination of a zoo, an aquarium and a waterpark.
The park was created in the early 70’s as a bird and especially parrot, sanctuary. With time, Loro Park gained new features, amongst them a dolphinarium and an aqua park. The dolphin and orca shows, although increasingly more controversial and often considered as cruel, remain one of the most popular attractions on Tenerife, sought after especially by families with children.
Puerto de la Cruz monuments
Despite the fact that the Canary Islands are associated mostly with the beach, sun and palm trees, the archipelago also boasts an interesting historic heritage. As a pit stop on the way to the Americas, it played an important role in Spanish overseas expansion in the 16th and the 17th centuries.
Many of the Puerto de la Cruz historic monuments come from the colonial era. Such is the case of San Felipe Castle, San Francisco church and monastery and San Amaro hermitage.
Castillo San Felipe fortifications.
In order to learn more about life on Tenerife in the pre-Columbian era, visit the Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz. It boasts an interesting collection of artefacts from the Guanche culture. Guanche people were the native inhabitants of Tenerife.
Puerto de la Cruz events – the Burial of the Sardine
On Tenerife, as well as on other Canary Islands, folklore and traditions are very much alive. They manifest especially during religion-inspired festivities, amongst them carnival. In Puerto de la Cruz, after the carnival celebrations extend by a few more days with a very peculiar ceremony which is as unusual as its name suggest.
Entierro de la Sardina, meaning the Burrial of the Sardine, consists of a carnival parade with elaborate floating cars and costumes. The main ‘star’ of the parade is a huge papier mâché figure of a sardine which destination is to be burned in front of the assisting crowd. Men in drag mourn the sardine, which symbolises the excesses of the pre-Lent period.
Find out what to expect at the Burial of the Sardine in Tenerife:
Another, fairly curious, element of the late carnival celebrations in Puerto de la Cruz is the race for men.. in heels. Many obstacles are set on the route of the race making is additionally challenging.