TENERIFE, SPAIN. Guiris: A word for tourists that come to Spain to soak up the sun and party. The Canary Islands is notorious for attracting a large number of what Spaniards call guiris, whether they are Britons, Germans or Americans studying abroad. The Canary Islands is seen as a vacation spot to lay out on the beach, tan and drink all day. Yet, there is so much more to experience on the Islands of El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma and Tenerife that form the province of Santa Cruz of Tenerife and Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote that make up Las Palmas.
When a traveler begins to plan for a trip to the Canary Islands, it can be overwhelming because of the locations of the different islands. Puerto de la Cruz, which is in the North of Tenerife is a much more calm and authentic experience for tourists than the south of Tenerife, where young people go to Playas de las Americas to drink all day and party all night.
Because of the small amount of tourists that come to Puerto de la Cruz compared to bigger islands like Santa Cruz, the locals are extremely friendly and welcoming to those who come stay in their town. After an interaction with a local, one feels like one has truly gained a new friend.
The city has a Latin American feel with the music, the distinct accent and the colorful buildings seen all through the city. Puerto de la Cruz has about 33,000 inhabitants and a small town feel that after a week of visiting, one feels like a local. Sometimes one wonders if many of the young people in Puerto de la Cruz have ever left their island. They have no reason to leave when life costs are low and everything they need is at their fingertips. There is good food, a beach within a 10-minute walk from any point of the city, bars and dancing without being overwhelmed with a sea of tourists.
Puerto de la Cruz is the perfect place to go in the Canary Islands in order to relax, tan, yet still learn about the culture and feel like a Canarian during one’s stay.
Let me take you to the places that made my trip so memorable. These are must sees!
Hotel Puerto Azul:
The price of a hostel with the comfort and amenities of a hotel.
This hotel is a lovely and economic place to stay in Puerto de la Cruz. It is a 10-minute walk from the beach and from Lago Martianez — the man-made saltwater pool — and a five-minute walk from Plaza Charco in the center of the city. There are restaurants that line up along the entire street, which includes Spanish, Italian and Peruvian cuisine.
The hotel is open 24 hours a day, so one gets quite aquainted with the staff. I knew them all by name by the time I left. One has access to a computer, printer, television and common room with board games. Not to mention, one has the option to get a breakfast and coffee for a small extra fee.
There is a beautiful rooftop terrace on the top floor with lounge chairs where one has a breathtaking view of the city. Not to mention, housekeeping comes to clean everyday of the week so one always has a clean room. There is also a balcony in each room. All of this starting at €15 a night per person.
Cafetería Punto y Aparte:
This family-owned cafeteria is a one-minute walk from the hotel Puerto Azul on Calle Lomo. Their coffee is phenomenal that my friends and I would drink one in one sitting. I went every day for the 10 days I was there and was on a first name basis with the waiters, even when I would see them outside the restaurant. Many days I would force myself out of bed just out of anticipation for a croissant sandwich mixto and café con leche from our waiter Cristian.
Sitting on the terrace, feeling the sun and drinking a coffee — what could be better?
The beach is a 10-minute walk from Puerto Azul. It’s not difficult to find and there are different sections to the beach. The sand is black which gives the beach a different experience than every other beach one has visited. There is a rocky area where people climb the rocks and take in the view. There is a pure sand area with a snack bar and restaurant, and there is another section where all the younger people tend to congregate. There is something for everyone depending on one’s mood.
Dirección: Av. de Cristóbal Colón, 1, 38400 Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
This man-made salt water pool is paradise. The pools are deep enough to be able to swim but not deep enough that it is dangerous. There is also a kiddie pool for those that have children. It is only a €5 entry for the entire day, and there are restaurants and snack bars so one never feels the urge to leave. One gets the feel of the ocean while being in a safe, resort environment.
Want to go out?
Dirección: Calle Blanco 19 , 38400 Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
This terrace bar is a 5-minute walk from Plaza Charco, which is the center of the town. When you first walk in, one can see a series of rooms with lounge chairs with groups of friends chatting while drinking their cocktails. However, the main attraction is the outside terrace where the bar is located. It is primarily full of young people but anyone can go. On the weekends there is usually a DJ. The DJ incorporates international music genres in his work as well as music from all different time periods. At times, I was shocked by the obscure ’90s R&B songs that he would mix with popular contemporary Spanish songs.
The prices are hard to beat. My friend visiting from Denmark was astounded by the €2 beers and €1.50 shots of tequila. The cocktail prices were also extremely reasonable. Although there is good music, the atmosphere is more for relaxing with friends than partying hard on the dance floor. However, locals use this bar as a pregame for their main location.
Dirección: Calle Blanco, 12, 38400 Puerto de la Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Blanco is situated 100 meters from limbo and offers a much different atmosphere. Once one walks in, it is party central. There is a dance stage where anyone is welcome, the bar has affordable drinks and the music is a mix of Spanish and English popular dance hits. The bartenders are friendly, and after a two nights at the club they already began preparing my order as I neared the bar.
Also, a quick note for the boys: There is no entry fee for anyone. This is quite different to Madrid which often has hefty entry fees, especially for men.
Dirección: Avenida Familia Betencourt y Molina 24 Edif. Drago Bajos, 38400 Puerto de la Cruz (Tenerife), Santa Cruz de Tenerife
For those that don’t want the party to end until 8 a.m., there is Club Vampis, which has more of a city feel. It is the most popular club in Puerto de la Cruz. It has more of an electro/house feel and is complete with gogo dancers. There are two separate bars and three dancing areas. The bar is designed like a cave and has beautiful decorations and statues with vampires and carvings in the wall.
Don’t party too much, leave time to explore:
Parque Nacional del Teide:
All of these places are the perfect combination for a vacation in paradise, one that you will remember by the liveliness of the taxi drivers, the use of the word guaguas for buses, the neon colored buildings, the papas arugadas and the striking beaches with black sand and shining sun.