Puerto de la Cruz is located on the Northern part of the island of Tenerife and is part of the Canary Islands (Spain).
The city is known for tourism, but also for the many Northern Europeans who live in the city to survive the cold weather season in Northern Europe.
Related Read: Guide to the Canary Islands
10 Interesting Things to do in Puerto de la Cruz
1. Visit the Second Best Zoo in the world: Loro Parque
If you are visiting Tenerife, then this place is a must to visit. Loro Parque is hands down one of the best zoos I have been to. The zoo has an extensive and diverse reserve of animal and plant species. You can see different creatures in the park for instance: chimpanzees, gorillas, sea lions, otters, jaguars, tigers, alligators, flamingos, exotic fish, piranhas, sea horses, and various sharks. Next to this, the zoo provides different shows during the day. This includes sea lion shows, dolphin shows, parrot shows and orca shows. The sea lion, dolphin and orca shows are really brilliant. Loro Parque was awarded by Trip Advisor as the first best zoo in Europe and the second best zoo of the world.
Tip 1 for visiting Loro Parque
When you enter the park you can buy a ticket for the ‘Discovery Tour’ including or excluding lunch (you can also buy the ticket online before you go). This is definitely worth a buy. I bought this extra ticket and got a private tour in the ’employee only’ parts of the zoo.
During this tour I visited the sleeping complex of the Gorillas, learned about the food and behavior of the Gorillas, visited the water purification complex of the penguins and visited the day complex of the Orcas. The private tour at the complex of the Orcas was amazing. During the show you will see the Orcas from above, but during the tour you will go down in a complex and can watch the Orcas behind a window. Via this, you can see the Orcas at the same height as you. The Orcas are very curious animals and will come often to the window to interact with you.
I have never been that close to a big creature like the Orca. It was amazing! If you also want to experience this, I recommend you visit the zoo in the early morning or ask the ticket desk for the Discovery tour, because the later you will enter the zoo, the higher the chance that the tickets for this special tour will be sold out.
Tip 2 for visiting Loro Parque
Every 20 minutes a free express train departs from Reyes Católicos (city center Puerto de La Cruz) to Loro Parque. The last train leaves at 18.45 from Loro Parque.
Facts about Loro Parque
- Loro Parque was awarded by Trip Advisor as the first best zoo in Europe and the second best zoo of the world.
- The entrance fee is around € 34 for adults and € 23 for kids up to 11 years.
- Children under 6 free entrance.
- Loro Parque is open from 8.30AM to 6.45PM from Monday to Sunday.
2. Watch the Sunset or Sunbathe at Playa de Jardin
Playa de Jardin is the biggest and nicest beach of Puerto de la Cruz. Playa de Jardin means ´Garden Beach´ in English. The beach is surrounded by palm trees and different kinds of flora. At the beach you will find black sand. There is one big restaurant where you can have lunch or buy drinks and snacks. On the beach are sun beds, parasols, showers and toilets available. There is also a lifeguard, because sometimes the waves can become very high, which makes it dangerous to swim. When this is the case, a red flag will be shown at the beach. Playa de Jardin is definitely worth a visit. You can sunbathe but it is also a very nice beach to watch the sunset in the evening.
3. Enjoy a Day Swimming at El Lago Martianez
El Lago Martianez is an outside swimming pool complex and it really looks fantastic! There are four big pools and three small children’s pools. The pools are filled with filtered sea water. Moreover, there is a wide range of bars, restaurants, stalls and there is also a casino which you can visit during the day and night.
Facts about El Lago Martianez
- El Lago Martiánez was awarded by Trip Advisor as the second best aquatic park in Europe in 2014.
- The entrance fee is around €5.50 for adults and € 2.50 for kids up to 10 years.
- El Lago Martiánez is open from 10AM to 5PM from Monday to Sunday.
4. See the Skyline of Puerto de La Cruz
On top of the Martianez cliffs, you can see a spectacular view of Puerto de La Cruz. The viewpoint is behind hotel ‘Puerto de la Cruz’. You have to walk some stairs, but the view is amazing.
5. Visit La Plaza del Charco During the Day or Night
Plaza del Charco is a big square in the centre of Puerto de la Cruz. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, ice cream shops and smaller tourist shops located at this square. In the evening, the atmosphere is very cozy.
6. Celebrate Carnival like You Have Never Done Before
It’s amazing to celebrate Carnival in Tenerife. Usually the carnival is around February and the best place to celebrate carnival is in Santa Cruz. The celebration of carnival in Santa Cruz is second only to carnival in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on the world party stage. Next to Santa Cruz, you can also celebrate carnival very well in Puerto de la Cruz. The parades are fantastic to see and there are many street parties. When you visit the center in the evening, you will find live music and people dancing everywhere.
The atmosphere is fantastic. Next to the dressing up, the carnival in Tenerife have some special traditions like:
- The men have to dress up like a female. Yes, you read it correctly. Most of the men will dress up like a female. They will borrow the clothes and shoes of their female partners.
- During the day there are funny events like heel running.
- On Ash Wednesday, the ‘burial of the sardine’ will take place. On the beach at the old harbor of Puerto de la Cruz is a big papier maché sardine. During the night, this will be burnt and the event ends with fireworks.
- The ‘gran cosa apoteosis’ (the Carnival closing parade) is very funny to attend. During the parade, huevos tacos (which are eggshell and cloth balls held together by paste) are thrown onto the passing parade from windows and balconies.
7. Visit the Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanico)
Jardin Botanico (Botanical Gardens) is located in Puerto de La Cruz. It is a very big garden with unique plants and trees from all around the world. Almost every plant and tree is labeled with the name of the plant or tree in different languages. Moreover, there is a lovely and peaceful pond at the back of the gardens. This garden is a good place to relax and spend one or two hours of the day. There is no restaurant in the garden, so bring some water and food with you. Across the garden, are a couple of restaurants where you can have a delicious lunch or dinner.
Facts about the Botanical Gardens
- The entrance fee is around €3 for adults.
- The Botanical Garden is open from 9AM to 6PM from Monday to Sunday.
8. Playa de Martianez
This beach is between the Martiánez cliffs and the Costa Martiánez complex. Part of this small, black-sand beach is open to the sea, with excellent conditions for surfing and body surfing. Usually there is a red flag on this beach, and you are not allowed to swim. This is a pity because this is one of my preferred beaches.
9. Visit the Old Castillo de San Felipe
Castillo de San Felipe is a very small old castle (remains of castle) located next to Playa de Jardin. You can have a look inside and read about the history of the castle. It is not very interesting to visit, but if you visit Playa de Jardin, it is worth to have quick look inside this castle. You will cross it anyway.
10. Visit the Old Harbor
If you have done the nine things above and you still have energy left to explore the city, you could also visit the old harbor of Puerto de la Cruz. It is located next to the ‘Plaze del Charco’. The harbor is very small and is nowadays used to swim and fish.
Puerto de la Cruz is a very nice city to visit during your stay on Tenerife. There are plenty of things to do and the weather is always very nice. If you like to party and would like to visit an awesome night club I recommend Limbo to you. This place is fantastic. Secondly, Blanco is also a good bar to have some drinks.
We also recommend hiring a car and exploring the roads in Tenerife.