First Class Return To Puerto de La Cruz And Los Realejos

Was that a stoney glint in Agatha Christie´s eyes? Maybe it was anticipation of the fourth festival in her name in Puerto de la Cruz. The 5 to 14 November homage to the British crime writing legend is based on her time in the north Tenerife city writing a short story called “The Enigmatic Mr Quinn”. It was just one of the events waiting to welcome people back to the coastal delight.

Just a month after the restart of the TITSA 343 bus service between Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos, and Puerto de la Cruz had a dozen passengers on board, a good increase on my last trip under the Covid restrictions. On and offs at Tenerife South, and Tenerife North airports still left a half full bus when I bailed out at La Paz on the outskirts of the city centre. Agatha´s statue had new friends, two yellow shirted ladies offered information and advive under the city´s Safe Tourism banner. The cafes down the wide walkway to Playa Martianez were bristling with customers.

A mix of hot sun, mingling crowds and big waves all added to the busy vibe, and it was good to see hotels with open windows and busy balconies. The return of the scrawny parrots for photo sales was not so welcome, at least there was something more imaginative in the form of a wood art guitar bike. It featured initials of the worlds greatest players and a few young passers by twanged out some great riffs. The back street murals had been joined by a few new additions, notices promised that the next day the returning street market would provide more reasons for exploring the back streets.

Heading out to the rough car park parade overlooking Playa Jardin, the new face of the city was emerging. All traces of the old outdoor swimming pool were gone as the 8 million euro aquatic centre rose from the shallow end. Next door, the El Penon football stadium was ready for its new beighbour and will again show its versatility as a venue by staging Penon Rock on 15 October. Last year it staged two days of similar music under tougher Covid restrictions. Back in the centre of town, Timanfaya Cinema was offering regular music shows with tribute acts like Robbie Williams, in the Sala Teatro.

My bus ticket was demanding more miles, so I headed up to Los Realejos Alto and the Ayuntamiento building at the top of the town. Photo art filled the council plaza, full marks for hospitality, they invited me inside their historic building. Passing a small open public library and a stained glass version of the municipality crest, I was able to look down on the art exhibits from the balcony. The photos were part of a competition for students in the local photography course – very impressive.

More bus routes and stops had been added to the streets that unwound down to Los Realejos Bajo. I tried the 390 route for some different views on its way past the popular eatery El Monastario. My hunger was fuelled for another trip soon to try the steep path up to the isolated church of La Montaneta