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
Before you go… here is an overview:
Where to stay in Puerto de la Cruz
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.
You can order your ticket online now, so you don’t have to wait in line at the box office.
Opening Hours: 09:30 – 17:00
Free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.
Loro Parque has it all – this stunning attraction in Spain boasts the largest dolphin tank in Europe, a tunnel under a shark tank and the largest penguin enclosure in the world. It’s also one of only two parks in Europe where you can see orcas!
In addition to the fascinating sea creatures, there are also the usual animal species to discover – from chimpanzees and gorillas to majestic lions and tigers, reptiles, insects and much more. Most popular, however, are the colorful parrots that bring the park to life with their brightly colored plumage and melodious songs.
With a strong commitment to animal welfare and environmental sustainability, a visit is as exciting as it is eco-friendly!
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 17.45 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 € 42 for adults.
- Children under 6 free entrance.
- Loro Parque is open from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM from Monday to Sunday.
2. Watch the Sunset or Sunbathe at Playa de Jardin
Have you ever imagined what paradise might look like? A sunny sandy beach, shimmering turquoise waters, exotic plants and bubbling waterfalls – maybe like this?
Then you should definitely visit Puerto de la Cruz in the north of Tenerife. Here you will find the beautiful beach of Playa Jardin. The beach is black and the sea is deep blue. The surrounding area is characterized by lush vegetation.
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.
Manrique tried to keep the beach as natural and wild as possible. He surrounded it with manicured green spaces, a botanical garden and a rushing waterfall – all so that beachgoers would not be disturbed by the noise of the hustle and bustle of Puerto de la Cruz.
Playa Jardin is divided into three natural sections by fascinating rock formations: El Castillo, El Charcon and Punta Brava. Artificial reefs have been built in the sea to protect the beach from the strong waves. However, there are also open areas for surfers.
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.
Attractions include a large man-made body of water surrounded by emerald green pools, manicured gardens and terraces, and restaurants. Breathtaking views of the sea and the majestic Mount Teide complete this unique facility.
The park was designed in the 1970s by Lanzarote’s renowned artist, César Manrique. He integrated elements of traditional Canary Island architecture and native flora to create a unique design.
As a historical garden, Lago Martiánez is considered an important cultural heritage site. People of all ages will find entertainment to suit their tastes.
There are four pools for adults and three more for children, all surrounded by lawns with sunbeds and umbrellas for relaxing.
The complex also offers several terraces, kiosks, restaurants and, since 2006, a casino – the perfect complement to a day of sun and sea views.
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.
Plaza del Charco has long been one of the most popular places in the municipality. This special status is not only for tourists, but also for locals and residents of the Canary Islands. In Spain and the Canary Islands, life is lived outdoors, and so is Plaza del Charco.
Countless vacationers come here to enjoy the idyll and admire the beautiful palm trees and other subtropical plants. The locals like to stroll along the promenade or drink their cortado (espresso) and watch the colorful hustle and bustle. Some couples sit in love on the benches around the fountain with the beautiful water plant in the middle of the plaza.
Right in the middle of the plaza, next to the fountain, there is also a children’s playground and the Cafe Dinamico – for many years an insider’s meeting place in Puerto de La Cruz.
Around the Plaza del Charco are numerous cafes, bars, restaurants, ice cream parlors, perfume shops, fashion boutiques and much more. Here you can eat, drink, stroll, shop – just relax.
In the evenings there is a lot going on: night owls among the young vacationers or locals meet in the Hannen Pub or in the cozy Color Cafe for a beer or a cocktail.
The name “Plaza del Charco” comes from a seawater pool that used to be in the middle of the square. Although the plaza has been redesigned in recent years, the fountain pool with a taro plant, the birch figs and some impressive palm trees have been preserved.
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.
From the Canary Islands to New Caledonia, you will find native plants and animals, but the highlight is undoubtedly the numerous palm trees. Each of these imposing palms is placed among a variety of native plants.
Particularly impressive are the Caribbean plants that characterize the botanical garden in their diversity. A visit would not be complete without a look at the flowering baobabs.
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
Or you may take an excursion “Los Guanches Coast”. There will be 2 stops: Botanical Gardens (Admission included) and Playa El Bollullo.
8. Playa de Martianez
This beach is between the Martiánez cliffs and the Costa Martiánez complex.
Like most of the beaches in the north of Tenerife and Puerto de la Cruz, Playa Martiánez has black sand with pebbles.
The beach is artificially created and protected by breakwaters at a 90 degree angle to the Atlantic. Surfers appreciate this arrangement because, depending on the swell, there are ideal conditions for beginners and advanced surfers.
Compared to the beautiful Playa Jardin, the main beach of the city, Playa Martiánez is by far not as big and cozy. The actual stretch of beach is relatively narrow, but offers plenty of space for sunbathing.
Sometimes it can be difficult to enter the water without fear, as the waves at Playa Martiánez can be quite high. Nevertheless, this is the perfect place to enjoy the sea and take spectacular photos.
Nevertheless, the beach offers all the amenities you would expect in a city like Puerto de la Cruz. You can enjoy culinary delights right on the promenade, just a stone’s throw away from the beach life.
The view of the evergreen northern coast is breathtaking.
Part of the small black sand beach is open to the sea, while another part is partially protected by breakwaters. This provides optimal conditions for surfers and bodyboarders.
No wonder that there is a surf school here that caters for both beginners and professionals.
Especially bodyboarders like to come to this beach to take advantage of the constant waves.
Playa Martiánez is not always guarded and can be challenging due to some rocks in the water and unpredictable currents.
For this reason, there is usually a red flag on this beach prohibiting swimming. This is a shame because it is one of my favorite beaches.
Here are some activities nearby:
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.
The Castillo de San Felipe, built in the mid-17th century, is located west of the city center and once served as a defense against pirates.
Today it hosts exhibitions and cultural events that enliven the defiant building.
The Castillo de San Felipe was built between 1641 and 1655 in the shape of an irregular pentagon. It was originally composed of two parts: The inland part was a two-story building with storerooms and a commander’s apartment, while the seaward part was a one-story building designed as an open cannon courtyard. During a restoration in the 20th century, these structures were modified so that San Felipe now appears as a continuous two-story building. The fortress is now used for exhibitions and various events.
From the Castillo there is a magnificent view of Playa Jardín (Garden Beach) and you can begin a six-kilometer coastal hike to Mirador San Pedro.
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.
The port of Puerto is a place that everyone should visit. Here you can meet tourists, fishermen, sportsmen, divers and locals, all enjoying the unique atmosphere of the pier and the port.
Early in the morning, the port comes alive. The fishermen go about their traditional activities and the idyllically moored fishing boats give the pebble beach a very special, almost dreamy atmosphere.
For tourists and locals alike, the port of Puerto de La Cruz is a real attraction. Especially in the evening you can enjoy the romantic atmosphere and admire the sunset. In the morning you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the Orotava Valley, perfect for dreaming.
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.
Travel tips for Puerto de la Cruz
—> Book your accommodation in advance. Booking.com will help you to book accommodation in advance and check availability on the days of your travels.
—> Book your excursions. Wherever you go, try to make the most of the time that you have! Excursions with interesting and professional guides will help you with this – you can choose a location and the best option for yourself on Viator or Getyourguide.
—> Find out in advance and book flights to Trip.com.