Santa Cruz de Tenerife: Island of Majestic Contrasts
The first glimpse of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is very striking. The city nestled into the angular brown volcanic landscape and set off against the bright blue sky and deep blue sea is spectacular.
The largest and probably most famous of the Canary Islands, Tenerife was the starting point for Columbus’s long journey across the Atlantic to search for a better route to India.
We always like to get the lay of the land when we visit a new location and selected a tour from our ship, the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, that would cover a lot of territory. Known for its beaches, we did see one, Playa del Teresitas. (Famous, but still, in my opinion, no comparison to our Florida beaches).
From the beach, we traveled north into the Anaga Mountains and the Mercedes Forest. This volcanic island is not as lush as Santa Cruz de las Palmas, but definitely gets props for dramatic vistas. It is also beautiful. Tenerife can claim the largest volcano in The Canaries, El Teide, more than 12,000’ high. We drove up to El Pico Del Ingles, at more than 3,200’ to get a good panoramic view and had some clouds roll in just at the moment we arrived. Actually, I thought the clouds rolling through enhanced the experience; you could still get a good idea about the majesty of this volcanic island.
Driving into the interior, we visited San Cristóbal de La Laguna, the original capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in 1496, it is a charming town with a nice emphasis on preservation. Walking from the Ayunmiento to the Plaza de la Concepción we enjoyed the town’s shops, cafes, plazas, historic buildings, and mansions. We even did a little shopping. We definitely could have spent more time here.
As we headed back to the port, we made a stop at an Aloe Museum. Aloe is obviously big business here and not unfamiliar to those of us who live in South Florida. The short visit was more than enough for us.
Santa Cruz, the capital, is a very contemporary city and its most famous landmark is the auditorium designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. What do you think it looks like?
I thought it resembled a conquistador’s helmet, but maybe my location inspired thoughts of those ancient explorers.