I’ve always been fond of Tenerife – it’s one of the first foreign places I ever visited (some 40 years ago) – and not having been for a number of years enjoyed this recent trip.
The island has many faces, being best known these days for the mega resorts on the south coast (these weren’t built on my first visit), and then maybe for the more refined (and much older) resort of Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast. Even after these two destinations there is more, much more, to see.
On this most recent visit (April 2013) I stayed in the capital of Santa Cruz, on the islands north east coast. Santa Cruz is a significant port city for both goods and cruise ships, and has been for hundreds of years. The slightly inland and neighbouring city of La Laguna was a staging post to the Spanish new world and the layout forms a template for many Latin American cities to this day.
Santa Cruz benefited from the Spanish boom years and has received significant investment; infrastructure and transport is good, there is a modern art centre (TEA Tenerife) and a stunning new concert hall – by Santiago Calatrava, Auditorio de Tenerife.
Effects of recession are noticeable, but there are still plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from, the area near to the port is a good place to look.
More details on La Laguna here.
Getting there and around
Santa Cruz is easily negotiable on foot, but a taxi across town should be about €5.
Taxi to the Southern Airport (most charter flights) will be about €70 each way, so use the bus: service every half hour and the journey takes about an hour. Bus stops are right outside the airport arrivals hall and will take to to the Intercambio (bus station) in Santa Cruz, fare €9 as at April 2013.
Santa Cruz has two tram lines, number 1 line runs right through town, and connects the Intercambio with La Laguna. Flat rate fare €1.35.
NB: Buses in the Canaries are called Guaguas. Buses operated by Titsa, check details here. The Southern Airport route is the 111 and runs from Santa Cruz to the southern resorts stopping at the airport. If you board at the airport make sure you are heading in the right direction!
The northern airport (Los Rodeos) is right next to La Laguna. This is mainly for inter island flights and some scheduled services to the Spanish mainland.