Archive for February 27th, 2008
In praise of Puerto de la Cruz

Overlooked and under funded, that’s how Puerto de la Cruz is feeling these days, tourism seems to be passing it by, even Loro Parque visitors tend to be coached in and out without seeing the city. That’s a great shame as Puerto de la Cruz has loads to offer.

Playa Martianez

Even the direct Titsa buses from the south and west tourist centres stop at La Paz, a great place to start a visit, so i did. The mirador gives terrific views over the city and down onto Playa Martianez and the Costa Martianez swimming complex just beyond. The small plaza at the mirador has the new bust of Agatha Christie to commemorate her stay in the city that inspired one of her short stories. Walking down the narrow streets, lined with bars and shops, I soon came to the black sand beach with the Martianez cliffs towering to my side.

Facing the sea are a restaurant and a cafe/bar, these are the latest target of a crackdown by the Spanish coastal authority against illegal buildings. The 1988 Law of the Coast, states that buildings must be at least 106 metres from the shoreline. Many commercial buildings, like the Hotel Medano in Granadilla, were built long before the law but Costas have identified 600 buildings in Tenerife alone, that they want to demolish. In the long running El Medano saga, they now want to knock down the bars alongside the hotel, the cost of “expropriating” the land is put at 8.4 million euros. The Puerto beach buildings now have the wrecking ball hanging over them, but maybe the slow process of the law and legal protests will at least buy them some time.

Back to our tour, and a walk along the seafront past the large and recently renovated swimming complex, Costa Martianez. It’s an inviting area with bars and kiddies pools all at a constant 72 degrees, that’s 22.4 centigrade. Open from 10 am, it’s just 3.50 euros or 1.10 € for kids up to 10 years old, and there are residents and season discounts.

WaterfallFeeling energetic I headed up hill again, this time for Parque Tauro. Taking the steep zig zag path past the palms and waterfalls, I soon arrived at Parque Sortija, a smaller park within the main network that includes the botanical gardens. Some may prefer to get a taxi up to the casino or Hotel Miramar and take in the park before enjoying the water cascades while walking downhill. Sortija had been abandoned and become overgrown but 500,000 euros of Cabildo money 2 years ago restored it to the delightful green and pleasant land it is now. Cyclists, walkers, joggers and many wild birds and insects have really taken to the park, there’s even a pond which makes a nice focal point. Today was a bit grey and overcast but I bet in the sunnier weather, there are more picnic hampers than even Yogi Bear could imagine.

Parque Sortija

A nice slow wander back and a few soft drinks and snacks around the charm filled old city, and I was back at the bus station. Now here is a job in need of doing, an upgrade of the station has been promised for years, it shudders as buses enter and smells of piss and diesel-even Jade Goodey wouldn’t want to promote that fragrance. So pay a visit some time, hold your nose, get out of the bus station and explore.