Puerto de la Cruz

Your guide to Puerto dela Cruz in Tenerife. Insider information from people who live there.

Puerto dela Cruz (Port of the Cross) is the main holiday resort in the north of the island. It is in a beautiful setting on the coast, enveloped by lush green mountains and has the magnificent sight of the peak of El Teide puncturing the sky.

Unlike some of the resorts in the south, Puerto de la Cruz has not been spoilt by mass tourism and has managed to keep its identity of being a relaxed and friendly Spanish fishing town. It was once the main trading port for the town of La Orotava, which sits higher in the mountains. Today it still maintains a small fleet of boats which bring in their catch for the locals and restaurants each morning.

A short walk from the small fishing harbour brings you to the focal point of the town the Plaza de Charco, which is a pretty square with exotic trees and shrubs, flanked by numerous café bars and restaurants. A more pretty and tranquil place to relax is the Plaza de iglesia which has exotic flowerbeds and a lovely swan fountain. The plaza is also host to the seventeenth-century Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Peña Francia is Puerto's main church and is definitely worth a look inside with its fine Mudéjar ceiling and beautiful sculptures.

Along the seafront is the Lido de Martiánez which is a complex consisting of a large swimming lake with a huge fountain, surrounded by eight pools and a mass of sun lounges, palm trees, restaurants and works of art by the Canarian artist César Manrique, and is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. If you prefer to do your sunbathing on the beach then the eye-catching long black sandy beaches of Playa Jardin towards the other end of town is a must. Further along the coast is the secluded, little known Bollullo beach which is not easily accessible but is worth the long walk from town.

At the top of the town is the peaceful area of La Paz which is host to the lush and exotic Jardín Botánico that was founded by King Carlos III in 1788, as a garden to grow many different species of plants from around the world and then transport them to mainland Spain. However, due to the climate on the mainland many species could not survive so they where left in this tranquil paradise to flourish.

Puerto de la Cruz is also home to the world renowned Loro Parque (Parrot Park). Its initial purpose when it was built in 1972 was to protect endangered species of parrots, which are still a main feature. It is now also home to many animals among which are gorillas, chimps, dolphins, sea lions, penguins, tigers, sharks and crocodiles. There are many shows throughout the day making it a fantastic day out for the whole family.

The Puerto de la Cruz Tourist Information Office is located in Plaza de Europa, telephone number 922 386000

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