Known as the crossroads between Africa, America and Europe, Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the commercial capital of the Island of Tenerife in the Canaries. Located in the northeast of the island, this cosmopolitan city offers a welcomed respite from the neon lights and crowded beaches of the south.
For those who are looking for an alternative holiday, Santa Cruz de Tenerife offers a surprisingly different setting as opposed to the south, with lush vegetation, expanses of tropical plants within the city’s magnificent parks. The tree-lined avenues and extensive landscape together with the backdrop of the mountain range provide an ideal setting in which to relax and cool off.
One of the key attractions of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the dazzling nightlife. Nights in Santa Cruz end at dawn and partying can even go on for longer, although it should be noted that on the island nightlife takes a while to warm up. The city’s waterfront in the area of Avenida Anga attracts the night crowds from 10 pm onwards; this is where the most popular pubs and discos are to be found.
A holiday in Santa Cruz de Tenerife holds surprises for all. With its abundant vegetation, historical setting and effervescent nightlife travelers will be captured by this multifaceted city.
This unique and vibrant port city is typically Spanish and a holiday in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will no doubt provide the traditional and genuine island atmosphere, which is sometimes hard to come by in many tourist sites. The historical center with its maze of alleys and avenues lined with trendy shops and multi-colored buildings plunges the travelers in a delightful atmosphere far from the drab reality of the mainland. The fountains and verdant gardens are an oasis and refuge for nature lovers and a respite from the bustling crowds in search entertainment in the bars and discos, which line the waterfront.
Sheltered in a large bay with the backdrop of the Anaga Mountains Santa Cruz owes its economic development and importance to the harbor. Since the mid 18th century, this port has been one of the city’s and indeed the island’s major resources. Being one of Spain’s largest ports, its strategic location on Tenerife made it a sought for location. The Dutch and English navies attacked Santa Cruz several times as did pirates who wished to take over the city and use it as a strongpoint.
Santa Cruz’s rich turbulent past has left many relics that are clearly visible within the heart of the city. The century-old buildings, traditional and quaint architecture along with the castles, historical theatres and avenues lined with romantic street lamps, plunge visitors into a historical setting. From fortresses such as the Castillo San Andrés and San Juan Bautista to Museums of Fine Arts and the Almeida Military Museums, Santa Cruz offers cultural options for all tastes.
Nature lovers will not be let down, for Santa Cruz is bordered by the lush landscape of the Anaga Natural Park and pristine waters that soak the beaches are a haven for those in quest of natural beauty and untainted sites. There are also thousands of square meters of parks, woods and flower gardens within the city itself.
Although Tenerife is renowned as the island of eternal spring with an average year-round temperature of 23° Celsius, Santa Cruz’s geographical location in the north part of the island renders the climate slightly more humid and cooler as opposed to the drier and hotter south. Rain is more frequent between November and February.
Santa Cruz boasts a vibrant and cosmopolitan population of about 22,000, which enjoys a rich and traditional festival scene. The people in Santa Cruz will celebrate anything from religion to cinema, opera and cuisine. The cultural and sports program is filled with events that pave the way to colorful parades, street music and a general party atmosphere all year round.
In February the world famous Carnival is the major annual event on the island, as is the Dia de la Cruz on May 3rd when the churches and crosses throughout the island celebrate the founding of Santa Cruz.
Several good restaurants in the city offer a large variety of typical Canary specialties, including the ‘Samu’, a local fish baked in salt and served with jacket potatoes and a spicy garlic sausage known as ‘mojo’. All seafood dishes are a good choice and a tip of at least 10% is generally expected.
A few good restaurants to choose from are the Tasca la Rebotica, notably for seafood, the El Aguila for meat and desserts, the Camelot that specializes in Spanish and French food, the Mesòn Chejota with a choice of seafood and rice dishes and the Parrilla de José for a more international menu rich in meat dishes.
Santa Cruz offers daytime and nighttime activities for all, be it cultural visits to the numerous museums, shopping facilities or beach escapades and trekking in the national park.
A stroll through the city center starting from Plaza de Espaňa and on to the Plaza de Prìncipe de Asturias is a good way to explore Santa Cruz, here is where the main action and culture sites lie. The city offers luscious parks with rose gardens and palm trees for those seeking a more natural setting, while just outside the city lies the Anaga Natural Park for more adventurous nature treks in tropical vegetation.
Popular beaches near the city are the Playa de las Teresitas with its pristine white sands and seafront promenade. The beaches of Anaga offer a calmer atmosphere with their natural black sands as do the untainted beaches of Las Bodegas, Antequera, Las Gaviotas, Benijos and Almáciga.
Santa Cruz is teeming with nightlife facilities, including pubs, bars and discos, many of which are located on the harbor front. There is lively music and entertainment to be found at all hours for the entertainment scene is the city’s focal point. There is also some excellent shopping to enjoy, especially at the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África with its numerous merchant galleries.
A holiday in Santa Cruz can be had at a very good price if planned before hand, with prices for all budgets. There are several accommodation options from which to choose, be it hotels, hostels, apartments, cottages or camping sites. Hotel packages can be had at very good price; this is therefore not necessarily the more expensive option. All major credit cards are accepted and the local currency is the Euro.
Getting to and around Santa Cruz is easy for there is a good transport system. There are two major airports on the island and the efficient bus system known as the ‘guaguas’ will take visitors anywhere on the island.
The life on the island is peaceful and carefree, so there are no major risks, although there may be the occasional pickpockets in the shopping areas. No vaccinations are required and money can be changed at any bank or exchange office in the city. It is always best to keep a passport handy for currency exchange and identification.