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However, unlike the major resorts in the south of the island, despite the last 40 years of mass tourism, coupled with an almost insatiable demand for tourist beds in the town, Puerto de la Cruz has still to this day managed to retain a strong sense of its Canarian heritage, and over 35,000 of the islands resident population still choose to live here.
Geographically the resort lies at the mouth of the Orotava valley, on the rugged northern coast of Tenerife, which is the cooler side of the island, and as a consequence the transfer time for those visitors arriving at the Reina Sofia International Airport in the south of the island, may be a lengthy 1.1/2 - 1.3/4 hours from the time of leaving the airport grounds to the time of actually arriving at your chosen accommodation. Although the main TF-5 motorway takes you almost all of the way into the resort, the landscape of Tenerife does however dictates, that its route must follow within a few kilometres of the coast.
For independent travellers, or those visitors who do not wish to pay the additional costs for a tour operators coach transfer, it is possible to make the journey over to Puerto de la Cruz from the Reina Sofia airport by public transport.
Although if we are honest, public transport is never really the most practical option available as there are always large numbers of taxis waiting outside of the arrivals hall.
Although we've said this on many occasions, it is nevertheless worth repeating again here, as a very general rule taxis on Tenerife do not normally carry child seats, so therefore very small children will have to sit on their parents knees for the journey. If this is a cause for concern, we strongly recommend that you make arrangements for a pre-booked taxi to be waiting for you, and clearly specify at the time of booking that a child seat is needed for the journey. Pre-booked taxis are often a little more expensive, although as with all things in life, you only get what you pay for.
Although even the most cynical travel agent will tell you that it is cooler in the north of Tenerife, nevertheless many visitors to Puerto de la Cruz are still somewhat surprised on just how significant the difference in daytime temperatures is to the more familiar resorts along the south coast.
The giant Mount Teide volcano may give a spectacular background to your holiday photographs, but its close proximity to the resort does have a significant effect on the local climate. So be warned, don't expect brilliant blue skies every day of your holiday here! The two events may be totally unconnected, however, in recent years Puerto de la Cruz is becoming more popular with German visitors, whilst their British counterparts are now gradually migrating to the warmer south.
As with the resort of Los Cristianos in the south, Puerto de la Cruz was originally established as a small fishing village for the local inhabitants, and even today a small fleet of fishing boats are based in the harbour there.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, Puerto de la Cruz has made a very conscious effort to maintain its Canarian heritage, which means that few, if any, concessions are made to road vehicles. The streets of the old town are very narrow, and its one way system makes finding a convenient parking space almost impossible. For an inexperienced driver, this one way system will also punish any mistakes in finding your destination on the first time round with a further lengthy drive before granting the luxury of a second attempt.
The heart of the resort is undoubtedly the Plaza del Charco de los Camarones, which during the early evening, attracts both locals and tourist alike to sit and enjoy a quiet drink whilst watching the antics of the small numbers of street entertainers who also gather there.
East of the Plaza is what is referred to as being the "new town", and it is here that you will find the best selection of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants in the resort. You may now have already guessed, but west of the Plaza is the Puerto de la Cruz "old town" where you'll find many grand buildings over 200 years old, and one the "Casa de la Real Aduana" dating back almost 400 years to 1620.
Although actively marketed by the major tour operators as being "Puerto de la Cruz", many of the newer luxury hotels in the area are actually in either the La Paz or El Botanico suburbs, which are both perched high above the centre of the town.
Whilst the journey down the hill may be a pleasant stroll, the return journey is certainly not for the faint hearted, or for those with any form of mobility problems, and if it is your intention to venture beyond the hotels grounds, we strongly recommend that at the time of booking you also check the availability of a courtesy bus.
As with so many other of the resorts in Tenerife, beaches around Puerto de la Cruz are not one of the towns strong points. However, in recognition of this the municipal council commissioned the services of the Canarian artist Cesar Manrique to undertake the design of the fabulous 8 acre Lido Martianez.
In all fairness to the resort, and for those people who are prepared to travel a short distance away from the centre of town, there is a 1km stretch of coastline running from the San Felipe Castle through to the Punta Brava district, that has been developed into the Playa Jardin by the excavation of some 200,000 cubic metres of black volcanic sand from the sea bed. Although at first the sight of a volcanic beach may be somewhat off putting, it has nevertheless, been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag for both water quality and its facilities.
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