We did not visit Loro Park as its not something we are interested in but should you want to visit one of Europes premier zoos Loro Park is on the edge of Puerto de la Cruz.
Land trains leave regularly from a dedicated stop outside McDonalds near the Lido.
Very expensive at 33.00 per person but people we spoke to said it was very good once you were there - especially the dolphin show.
The Customs House
On the harbour side is the Casa de la Real Aduana or Royal Customs House. It was founded in 1620 and is the oldest civic building in Puerto de la Cruz. It was known for many years as Casa de los Franchy. It was later leased to the Royal Exchequer to house the Customs Officers or administrators until 1833, when the former were transferred to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Customs House stands within what was the Batería de Santa Bárbara (see separate tip).
It was originally used to ensure the compliance of rules and regulations of the town but this was not its only use as it once also housed the British Consulate.
The Casa shared the most passionate moments in the local history of Puerto de la Cruz, featuring at the centre of festivities, political conspiracy, dubious commercial transactions, games, social affairs and gatherings, concerts and scandalous elopements involving ladies of high society.Today it is home to art and museum exhibitions. There is also a café here.
- Museum Visits
Bateria de Santa Barbara
At the rear of the CustomsHouse (see separate tip) the remains of the battery still exist with steps (constructed in 1741) leading down into the water. The Batería was a small fort built in 1708 to protect the harbour. It housed four cannon. The Batería existed until the beginning of this century, but in view of the number of vessels coming in to load fruit, the Mayor requested the military authorities to demolish the stockade and the sentry box to enable the lorries carrying these goods to operate more easily.
Today it is a good place to look out over an ever rough sea and watch the harbour activity.
La Orotava Acclimatisation Gardens was created by Royal Order of Carlos III on the 17th of August, 1788, due to the need to cultivate species from the tropics somewhere in Spain with a suitable climate. The intervention of Alonso de Nava y Grimón, VI Marquis de Villanueva del Prado was essential both in the decision making and also to establish and develop the gardens in the early stages. In 1790, the plans and memo were drawn up and work starts on the plans drawn by Nicolás Eduardo, architect from La Laguna. In 1792, 35 new plantations are started
French naturalist P. Ledrú, who visited the island in the late 17th century, was the first to catalogue the species grown in the Gardens. He proposed a systematic organisation of the collections based on the Linnean classification of 1753.
From 1832, the year in which Alonso de Nava, founder and first director of the Gardens, died, it has become dependent on several different agencies until 1983, when responsibility was transferred to the Canary Island Regional Government, where it came under the Research and Agrarian Technology Centre of the Regional Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
It has major collections of tropical and sub-tropical plants, with special emphasis on varieties of palms such as Bromeliacea, Araceas and Moracea. There are many plants and trees that are interesting because of their beauty, size, age, rarity or remote place of origin.
As a scientific institution, the Gardens carry out international germo-plasm exchanges, it has a herb garden specialising in native Canary flora, with more than 30,000 files and develops research programmes on the flora and vegetation of the Canaries.
Beaches and the sea
We love the sea and we spent hours watching the waves crash over the rocks at San Telmo promenade or on to the beach near our hotel.
There are three beaches -
1. Playa Martinez - in the new town. A beach for sunbathers but mainly used for surfing as the waves are so strong.
2. Playa San Telmo - the most interesting beach as it is mainly rocks and the sea crashes over the rocks at all times. Spectacular.
3. Playa Jardin - at the other end of the town. The biggest and most popular beach.
The sand as you can see is volcanic black sand which is not to everyones taste.
Take a taxi to this park that stands high above the old town at just 3.05é as the walk would be so difficult. The park stands in front of what appears to be a closed casino but the views are magnificent over the town and there are beautiful plants and trees to enjoy as you saunter down the steps and walkways. Unfortunately the waterfall other VT writers describe has clearly not worked for some years as it was silted up in places (late 2013).
There is a café in the park at the very top and toilets here too. It takes about 15 minutes to walk down and enjoy the view.
The Sitio Litre orchid garden is at the back of the city centre but high above it and I would advise you to take a taxi up and then walk down. It consists of an 18th century mansion with a garden that is open to the public. The name comes from the Spanish for "site" - sitio, plus the name of the original owner, Archibald Little. Over the years, "Little" sort of metamorphosed to "Litre" (pronounced "lee-tray"). In the mid-19th century, the property was purchased by a Charles Smith, connected to Bristol college in England and his family owned it up to 1996.
The garden has had many famous visitors over the years, such as Agatha Christie, William Wilde, the father of Oscar and the explorer (not the actor) Richard Burton.
There is a special Agatha Christie corner on the left hand side of the gardens.
The Marianne North Terrace - this is a terrace dedicated to the botanical artist, Marianne North, who lived in the house for a couple of months towards the end of the 19th century. Some of her paintings can be seen in the garden and, if you visit Kew Gardens in London, you'll see over 800 examples of her work.
The Humboldt Garden is dedicated to the famous German botanist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt.He loved Tenerife so much, and that nowhere in the world was there a landscape as beautiful as the Orotava Valley.
A lady in traditional dress greets you at the gate and entry is 4.75 (2013). There is a café but it does not open until after 14.00 and the tea garden looks very nice but was closed as we went in the morning.
A large pond with colourful fish is nice to sit and look at and there is plenty of shade as you view the impressive varieties of orchids (350) and other plants. The gardens also feature bougainvillea, hibiscus, fir trees and an ancient dragon tree, which, although not as old as the famous one in Icod de Los Vinos, is, nonetheless, impressive.
San Telmo is the part of the promenade that links the old town to the new. The precinct here is quite magnificent as it looks out on to a constantly rough sea and the waves lap the rocks below. The walkway has steps at each end but only ramps at the old town end and is not suitable for disabled people to traverse the whole length. There is not much to see on the land side - quite a good Spanish bar/restaurant but other than that the usual electrical , gift and jewellery shops the town is full of.
The beautiful San Telmo church stands at the new town end and one of the towns lovely three squares , Plaza de Europe, at the other end.
However below you is the towns most exciting beach - a mix of rocks and a small amount of beach with a café this is an exhilarating place to sunbathe or sit. There is a lifeguard and the European clean beach flag flies here. Recommended for strong swimmers only - otherwise just enjoy the turbulent sea.
Our Lady le Pena de Francia
This is the most beautiful church in the town and found in the prettiest of the towns squares - Plaza de La Iglesia.
The church was built between 1684 and 1697, apart from the belfry which was built in 1898.The church follows a rectangular ground plan in three naves separated by groups of Tuscan type columns, arches and three attached chapels. The wooden roof is formed of panels of a Mudejar influence.
Beautiful carvings and statues adorn the large ornate panels at the front of the church.
The staff do not speak English but there is a very good descriptive leaflet in English for a small donation.
- Historical Travel
Plaza del Charco
A large square in the centre of the town. There is a children's playground here and lots of seats to sit under the trees and watch people go by. In the square is a large café restaurant with entertainment in the evening but it was quite awful and we never bothered. Dotted around the edges are a number of reasonable looking restaurants although we never tried one despite the best efforts of the greeters to entice us in - they do try hard but are on commission so you cannot blame them.
The main taxi rank in the town is here too and I think local buses stop in the area. The shops are reasonable too with a small classy shopping centre called 'Columbus' here. Also small stalls selling newspapers, sweets and cigarettes. Well worth spending some time here.
Plaza de Victor Perez
This is the smallest and quietest of the squares in the town centre. Opposite the Church of San Francisco [Saint Francis] and the Chapel to San Juan [Saint John], it was laid out to honour the doctor who was one of the main proponents of the Taoro Hotel, and a leading light in the history of tourism in the town. Its focal point is a fountain embellished by a yam plan
We did not stay at this famous old hotel - we only ate here but if you are in the area you must call to see the wonderful interior.
This old building has been a hotel for over 100 years and Bertram Russell stayed here once. The building is large - as you enter you will see possibly the most beautiful ever lounge area with flowers and palm trees and tropical creepers climbing up to the glass roof, surrounded on all sides by hand-carved verandas.
In fact as you enter the building you will see fresh flowers on the front door step each day. I cannot comment on the hotel as we only ate here and I have a separate review for the restaurant.
The Lago de Martianez is a great place for people who do not have access to a pool or those who do not want to use the black beaches. Costing only 3 euros per adult and child over 12 years, and about 1.80 euros for a child, to get in to all the pools, of which there are about 8, including kids pools, and a spa treatment pool for over 18's only.
There are waterfalls, caves to swim through and a giant fountain spurting water out to an incredible height (which we only saw once in two weeks as working) and into a huge swimming area. The water is warm, and is seawater, filled via the sea (which is just over the wall) as the level raises and falls with the tide. It is all extremely clean, and you can hire sunbeds and sunshades for a little extra cost (and there are plenty).
There are places to buy meals, and icecreams, and a bar, which is on an island in the middle of another large pool, made to look like a ship. You cannot take your own food or drink in.
In the evenings it is free access to a bar and restaurant with Spanish entertainment.
There is still a small amount of fishing done from the harbour and you can see the boats unload in the morning. The rest of the day the harbour is a playground for families who live around it - health and safety is virtually non existent in Spain and certainly in northern Europe children would not be allowed to jump from harbour walls in to fast moving water , but they do here. Tourists spend hours watching them jump and then climb back up ladders on to the harbour walls again. Fishing is also popular and the locals sunbathe on the small harbour beach.
San Francisco Church and San Juan Hermitage
This church is located just across the square and gardens of Dr. Víctor Pérez. The Church of St. Francis belonged to an ancient Franciscan convent, now deceased, and includes the hermitage dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, one of the oldest of the town hall (XVI century). The plant is very distinctive and consists of a nave and a half. Although from the outside is plain, the interior is filled with carvings, pictures, sculptures, paintings and altarpieces, among which are the image of St. John the Baptist, the articulated Christ of Mercy, a Gothic crucifix, Mr. dell ' Humility and Patience, St. Francis of Assisi, etc.. The roof is covered with a Mudejar coffered ceiling. The complex of the Hermitage and the church is an Asset of Cultural Interest in the category historical and artistic monuments.
- Historical Travel
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