21 January 2014

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Travel Guide - Getting your bearings

Small Intro

1. Santa Cruz is a port, so don't expect white sands. Infact don't expect white sand in Tenerife full stop - this is a volcanic island so black sand is the norm.

2. Santa Cruz is the capital of Tenerife, but not the oldest town - that's La Laguna, just further inland.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife

3. Santa Cruz isn't (in my experience) as touristy as the South coast so expect more Spanish and less translations. A simple phrase book (or even just a list of words on your notes app) will get you a long way and help to guess what you may be eating.

4. You can get a local beer for €1.50 or cheaper. (Essential information.)

5. Don't miss the street art including yarnstorming/yarn bombing/knit bombing. It's really cool and an edgy side to the city I would never have expected.

When I'm in a new place I always find it takes a day or so to sort out my 'mental map' and sense of direction, so see my little navigation section below to help settle in to Santa Cruz quickly.

Getting from the Airport

Santa Cruz is on the North East coast of Tenerife and will take about 40 minutes to get from Tenerife South Airport. (See here for information regarding transport from the North Airport.) It couldn't be easier to get the bus. You want the number 111 - you'll pass the bus stop to get to a transfer coach as you exit the airport so there is no excuse.
It costs only €9 and is the last stop on the route. When you arrive at the bus station go down the escalators to the lower platform for buses starting in '9' which will take you to various points around the island. If you go down the escalators again you can exit to the street and will be able to clearly see the 'famous' (relative) building that is compared to the Sydney Opera House (for real)*. 

Pivot Points

When I arrive in a new place I like to find an easily identifiable point, both on a map and when you're walking around. This way if I get lost I find my way back and start again. It is also easier to ask for directions to a pivot point as residents are unlikely to be able to direct you to a specific hostel or hotel.

A good pivot point to judge where you are in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is Plaza de Espange which is roughly in the middle of town right by the coastline. If all else goes wrong this is a central easily identifiable place that all residents will have heard of it.

Another 'pivot point' to use is Parque Garcia Sanabria which has wifi (although you need to send a text to access it) and is also a well known landmark. There are no other parks this size in the city either making it an ideal point of reference.

Parque Garcia Sanabria

Other things to bear in mind...

You'll hear talk of La Laguna (or San Cristobal de La Laguna). They aren't talking about Lauren Conrad lying on a certain beach, they're talking about the UNESCO town just further inland connected by the tram on Linea 1 (towards Santa Cruz - La Trinidad is the last stop) and multiple buses (number 14 and 15 should both get you there).

Seemingly obvious, but there is also a Santa Cruz in the US, so don't get the two confused. In Tenerife there is a Puerto Cruz which is located in the North West of the island and this isn't the place you want either. 

*More to come about things to do!
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