General overview of Puerto de la Cruz

Tenerife north’s premier tourist destination is undoubtedly Puerto de la Cruz, a beautiful town rich in Canarian charm and character.

Overview

The North’s premier tourist destination is undoubtedly Puerto de la Cruz, meaning Port of the Cross, and is a beautiful town rich in Canarian charm and character. Clinging to the shoreline on one side with the other set against the lush Orotava Valley, Puerto enjoys a gentle degree of tourism of the more discerning nature. Visitors to the area seek to revel in the elegance of the plazas, the fine restaurants and the delicious bakeries that are dotted throughout the area.

The narrow pedestrian streets are awash with colour and life while the volcanic landscape that flows throughout the islands lends Puerto certain uniqueness unto its own; beaches filled of fine, black volcanic sand.

 Historic buildings and old churches dating back from the 16th century line the streets of Puerto de la Cruz and offer a constant reminder of the religious beliefs and traditions that are still firmly embedded within the city’s culture today.

The main plaza in Puerto is a lively affair, with tourists and locals mixing together harmoniously to enjoy the picturesque setting of the small harbour where swimmers and sun bathers come to relax on a sunny afternoon. The space sitting alongside the harbour is often home to communal events on weekends such as open air discos and DJ sets and big screen cinema nights.

With an impressive array of competitively priced restaurants, cocktail bars and shops, Puerto caters for visitors on all levels, providing enjoyment, entertainment and activities for both families, couples and individuals. 

Stunning views of Mount Teide can be seen from the beaches and Lago Martianez, the large outdoor swimming complex in town, and with a good bus service, makes visiting the islands premier attraction more accessible than ever.

History

museum of history puerto

Founded in the 1600’s by settlers from La Orotava who initially built a pier for the areas somewhat scarce population, there is also evidence to suggest that aborigine presence was found in the area that is Puerto de la Cruz long before the Spanish conquest. Originally acting as a trade and port town for the more prosperous La Orotava, Puerto exported a large amount of bananas, wine and sugar over to England and France throughout this period and into the 1700’s.

When a number of sugarcane plantations began to deteriorate, the production of wine subsequently began to flourish and export to England in this sector increased by up to 80 percent. What followed was an influx of British businessmen into the area looking to establish strong trade connections in the market and set up homes and businesses.

After the volcanic eruption in 1706, which practically destroyed the whole of Garachico and its flourishing port area, Puerto’s trade and activity dramatically increased and propelled the town to new levels of wealth and prosperity. Urban regeneration took place throughout Puerto de la Cruz, transforming the town into an attractive hub of activity and commerce and in 1722 reached municipal independence.

During the latter stages of the 19th century a series of hotels were built by wealthy banana plantation owners, namely the Taoro Hotel, the Monopol and the Marquesa, giving rise to the first deluge of tourism, not just for Puerto del la Cruz but for the island as a whole. A popular destination for British and mainland Europeanists due to its attractive year-round climate, Puerto’s economy began to boom in a new way and its reliance on vineyards and banana crops were lessened, although they do still form the basis of the islands traditional economic output to this day.

Culture

The culture in Puerto is lively and vibrant the year round, with festivals and activities providing entertainment of the highest quality. Mainly enjoyed by tourists and locals of a more mature age, Puerto can be a laid back and carefree affair with a slower pace of life adopted by those who reside in the town. On the contrary however, the area is popular with youngsters too, who are kept entertained on the black sand beaches during the day and in any one of the number of bars and night clubs that come alive once the sun has gone down.

Religion is at the forefront of this community too, with a large number of beautifully decorated crosses and religious figures dotted around the streets and in the windows of many homes and buildings. This dedicated and celebrated religious belief only serves to enhance the togetherness of this close knit society.

The main hub of Puerto’s activity is centred around Plaza Charco, with rows of lively restaurants, ensuring those that visit the area can dine in style and enjoy a more relaxed restaurant culture instead of a Mecca for clubbing and discos. On a warm summers evening, many people take a stroll around the sea front where beautiful views of the setting sun can be enjoyed against the backdrop of Mount Teide.

Economy

Puerto de la Cruz’s main economy stems from the services sector, with the majority of its working population employed in the many restaurants and bars and within the tourism industry. With thousands of visitors making the trip to Puerto every year, the town thrives on tourism and many competitively priced car rental services and excursion packages are available as well as discount tickets to some of the town’s main attractions such as Loro Park and Siam Park.

Puerto also sees much economic activity in the produce of locally caught fish, with many of the restaurants specialising in excellent sea food that is brought straight in from the fishing vessels. Highlights include fresh sardines, prawns and cuttle fish.

Trade from the banana plantations deep in the Orotava valley is also of benefit to Puerto as well as locally produced wine from the vineyards that have been flourishing for over five centuries. Stocked in the local restaurants and shops, wines and vegetables are still to this day of the highest standards possible.