About Santa Cruz
The south is hot, dry and arid and home to brash modern resorts such as Playa de las Américas. The north is cooler, wetter and is home to fine old colonial towns, the capital (Santa Cruz) and spectacular lush valleys. The centre of the island is crowned by Mount Teide, the highest mountain on Spanish territory (3,718m).
The largest and busiest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife has a definite north-south divide in terms of weather and character.
Most of the island’s best sights are in the north of the island, within half an hour or so of where cruise ships disembark at Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is worth a quick look for its museums, art gallery, duty-free shops and colourful market. There is an excellent beach, Playa de las Teresitas, a 10-minute taxi ride away.
• Puerto de la Cruz is the island’s most varied destination with colonial architecture, a fine Botanic Garden, a beautifully landscaped lido, and Loro Parque.
• Loro Parque is the finest animal park west of Florida with parrots, sea lions, orca and dolphin shows in an immaculate sub-tropical setting.
• Mount Teide: This spectacular snow-topped mountain is the natural highlight of the island, set in a national park dramatically sculpted by volcanic activity.
• La Laguna is the old island capital and has an atmospheric colonial-style centre; nearby the Anaga Mountain range is a largely unexplored area of outstanding beauty.
Tenerife Tourist Board
Plaza de España, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife
Tel: (+34) 922 239 592.
Santa Cruz has a very good shopping area where you will find many duty-free shops selling a variety of things including electrical goods, cameras, jewellery, perfume, spirits and tobacco (including the famous Canarian cigars). The colourful Mercado de Nuestra Senora de Africa sells a range of fresh produce – on Sundays a flea market (rastro) takes place next door.
The cuisine of the Canaries is heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine. Fish dishes are often the best choice and are traditionally served with boiled wrinkly potatoes (papas arugadas) and a green herby sauce. Drinks originating from the Canaries include honey-rum (ron miel) and wines which thrive in the volcanic soil.
When to go:
Only the south of Tenerife is guaranteed sunshine all year round. The north is warm and generally sunny during the summer, rising to around 30 ºC (86ºF) and beyond, but temperatures can fall below 20ºC (68ºF) in the winter months with frequent showers. Dress warmly (particularly in winter) if visiting Mount Teide.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
4km (2.4 miles).