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Taxi Transfer Costs:
For the small minority of visitors who choose to holiday here, the journey north from the Reina Sofia International Airport is possibly one longest journeys on the island, and although the main TF-1 motorway takes you almost all of the way, the geographic nature of Tenerife dictates that its route must follow within a few kilometres of the coast, which results in a transfer time of around 1.1/4 hours from the time you actually leave the airport grounds.
As far as we are aware, Santa Cruz does not feature in any of the major tour operators brochures, and although it is possible to make the journey from the Reina Sofia airport by public transport, when there are a number of people travelling together, public transport just isn't really a practical option.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that anyone considering a holiday here must also make provision to either collect a hire car from the airport, or make the transfer into the city by one of the numerous taxis that will be waiting outside 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.
As you enter the city from either the TF-1 or TF-5 motorways your first impressions of Santa Cruz may not be very positive, and it will very quickly become apparent to you that Santa Cruz does not rely only on tourism for its primary source of income. The outskirts of the city are very industrialised, with a significant number of oil refineries and other heavy engineering installations dominating the landscape, particularly around the waterfront and the port area.
The Port of Santa Cruz practically takes up the whole of the city coastline, and not only is it the biggest port in Spain, its geographic location at the gateway between America, Africa and Europe, makes it one of the busiest commercial ports in the world.
However, in stark contrast to the harsh industrial suburbs of Santa Cruz, the centre of the city hosts a multitude of cultural attractions. For every bar in Playa de las Americas, Santa Cruz has either a monument, or sculpture, and for every tourist shop you'll find a museum or art gallery. A couple of museums certainly worth a mention are the Museo Militar Regional de Canarias, which as you may have guessed is a military museum, and the Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, which is the museum of man and natural history.
Santa Cruz has a very Spanish/Latin American feel to it. It's tree lined streets lead to numerous plazas and parks, the main one being the grand Parque Municipal García Sanabria which was laid out in the 1920's and is full of exotic plants, trees, flowers and fountains, where visitors can also admire permanent exhibitions of sculptures by some of the world's most famous artists such as Moore, and local artists such as José Abad.
If all of this culture is becoming too much for you, then Santa Cruz is also widely recognised as being the shopping capital of Tenerife. Being a duty free island, the prices of many electrical items and internationally recognised designer labels, are significantly lower than the prices you would expect to pay back home in the UK.
If you do buy, ensure that a UK guarantee is included, and is stamped by the shop keeper, and that where applicable instructions are in English. Don't be afraid to haggle, the shop keeper will often quote the price in Euros and then offer to "convert" the price for you into sterling.
Take your time, and ensure that you know the price of everything you are buying, otherwise you may find out that the batteries have just cost you almost as much as the product itself. Many electronics shops will also sell 32-1 cartridges for many of the popular hand held games consoles. These games are copies, often containing many duplicates, and always insist on seeing them work before you buy.
Many of the larger tour operators offer their guests the opportunity of a days shopping in Santa Cruz as part of their standard day trip itinerary, and you will often see large groups of tourists making their way up from the Plaza de Espana on the sea front inland to the Plaza de Candalaria.
One thing that Santa Cruz does really lack is a beach of any size. Although with the close proximity of the port, I seriously doubt that the water quality here would ever justify the award of the internationally recognised Blue Flag.
Although with the magnificent Playa de Las Teresitas less than 7km north of the city at the nearby fishing village of San Andrés, and the facilities of the lido "Parque Maritimo Cesar Manrique" in the city itself, I seriously doubt that there are too many complaints from those who wish enjoy the Canarian sun. Both the lido and Playa de Las Teresitas will however, be covered in greater detail on our Attractions and Amenities pages.
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