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Puerto de la Cruz - Tenerife 2017

Introduction

In 2016 we had enjoyed an 11 day holiday in Puerto de la Cruz. This holiday to Puerto de la Cruz overlaps the holiday in 2016 but was for 14 days so that we were able to do more walking. The pictures are a mixture of the best of 2016 and new ones from 2017. Both holidays were to celebrate Pauline's birthday, and the destination was chosen because we spent many happy weeks there in the 1970s and recently have often taken the bus across from Santa Cruz to Puerto for lunch when visiting on a cruise.

Our hotel, the H10 Tenerife Playa is a pleasant 4 star hotel with a direct sea view onto the black sand beach of Playa Martianez, and overlooking the Lido Martianez which was designed by Cesar Manrique. Manrique (1919-1992) was a native of Lanzarote and a famous contemporary artist who did projects in all the islands. The Tenerife Playa Hotel was one of the first hotels in Puerto and has one of the best positions if not the best. When we stayed there in the late 1970s it was already well established and linked to its new sister hotel, the Gran Tinerfe in Playa de las Americas in the south. In those days the only airport was in the north, but following a disaster in 1980 a new airport in the south was constructed. The weather in the south is much drier and warmer and once the new airport was completed an increasing number of tourists demanded to go there. There has been an explosion in hotel-building between Los Christianos and Costa Adeje, including Playa de las Americas.

We flew with Jet2 from Birmingham into Tenerife South. Having expected to then take a slow bus to the hotel we were delighted to find that we were the only people on the flight who were going to the north, and so we had a little minibus to ourselves and arrived at the hotel just after dinner had finished at 2200. After a welcome glass of cava at reception we settled into our room. Many years ago we had stayed in the 5 storey part of the hotel, with a room looking out beyond the pedestrian road towards the ocean. Now these rooms do not generally have a sea view because of the growth of bushes and trees so we were pleased that we had again been allocated a room in the taller part, on the sixth floor, which had a balcony and a direct sea view of the Playa Martianez and towards the Semiramis Hotel. The rooms on the sixth and seventh floor had not changed from 2016 but those on the eighth and ninth floors were in the process of upgrading and it seemed that the rooms at lower levels had been upgraded, and are described as "Superior" Rooms and slightly more expensive. Some rooms on the other side have a view over the garden and pool, and can see Mount Teide when the weather is clear.

Breakfast was good and there is free vodka (for "bloody mary") and free cava (for mimosa). Lunch and dinner are self-service buffet, as seems to be normal in Spain. Dress code is informal and to our surprise many people wore shorts for dinner; in the past it had been suit or jacket-and-tie. Dinner was excellent, with different themes each evening, including Thursday which was Canarian specialities. We like the typical Canarian rabbit stew and the typical local wrinkled salted potatoes, as well as local cheeses and pastry deserts. There were always four icecream flavours to go with the puddings and fresh fruit, so our problem was how to enjoy the food without gaining too much weight. It would have been a disaster to have full board or go 'All Inclusive'. Because we had arrived late and had missed dinner we were offered a free lunch which we took on our last day before catching the bus to the airport at 1640. Lunch is also self-service and is very similar in content and variety to the dinner buffet. When we visit Puerto from a cruise we usually have lunch at the Hotel Marquesa where they have a good menu including local specialities. It is an old historic hotel, one of the first in Puerto de la Cruz, with some new rooms with balconies and sea view as well as old style balconies looking onto the Square and the Church of Nuestra Senora de la Pena de Francia.

The road outside the Hotel Tenerife Playa is pedestrianised and our end of Puerto was quiet of traffic and there were no noisy bars. During the daytime there was a lot of activity around the beach and most days there were flocks of single and double "parapents" many of which landed on the small beach just outside the hotel or even amongst the pedestrians on the wide pavement. As well as the standard double/twin rooms, mostly with balconies, there are also Suites. These are much larger, double or more the standard floor area, and with a proper separate living area. We guess that they were made by combining two standard rooms. Comparative prices were 110/154 euros when we visited and there are pictures of typical rooms on the Internet. September is low season and the hotel was not full, and room prices are cheaper. There is also a Privilege add-on option for the future which applies to rooms on floors 6 to 9. The corner suites including 618 are Privilege suites.

The first day started with mimosa and buffet breakfast then two hours lying in the sunshine in the hotel Solarium. There was plenty of time to look around Puerto de la Cruz and do basic shopping - cheese and ham for picnics which we kept in the minibar, and local Tenerife wine for tasting. We joined the H10 Club in 2016 and this already gives us benefits. As ClubH10 members we had free dressing gowns and slippers, use of our minibar as fridge and a voucher for two free cocktails in the bar, and on the birthday were given a cold bottle of cava to celebrate. The hotel offers mainly Spanish wines between 10 and 20 euros per bottle, with only the Vinatigo white (seco and afrutado) and Yoven red from Tenerife. Tenerife also produces cava and we found an excellent Brumos Dayosa Brut Nature 2015 from the Valle de Guimar at 12 euros. When we call at Tenerife by ship we will visit Guimar and buy more to take home. It was 22 euros at the airport - very expensive, in fact everything at the airport 'duty free' was much more than in the shops or at table in the hotel.

The next day was Pauline's Birthday, and having bought a bunch of Strelitzia flowers in the morning she decided she would like to go to the Botanical Gardens in the afternoon. There are interesting places to visit in Puerto de la Cruz, and we like to visit gardens and museums. The wide promenade, the Avenida Aguilar y Quesada, alongside the Hotel Felipe led to the steps up the cliff towards the Botanical Garden. There is a good Mercadona supermarket in the Centro Commercial on what was once rough parking ground. The steps go up from the Pasteleria de la Paz which sells cakes and icecreams. After climbing several flights of steps we reached the Mirador de la Paz, near the Church of San Amaro, with excellent views back to our hotel and the Lido and beach opposite. This is the first part of the Walk 1a from the Sunflower book "Landscapes of Tenerife" which we used for our walking in 2016.

The Botanical Gardens are a highlight of any trip to Tenerife. It is a pleasant walk up from the centre and only costs 3 euros. We always take too many photos of the trees and flowers.

Returning to the hotel there was plenty of time to enjoy our balcony view and drink the Tenerife cava before dinner. The hotel cava Roger de Flor Brut Nature went into the fridge for another day.

When the weather is good it is pleasant to start the day with a mimosa and late breakfast, lie in the sunshine in the Solarium (or beside the pool) until lunchtime and then wander around town in the afternoon. When it is cloudy it is pleasant to have a short walk because it is cooler. One minor disadvantage of the Hotel Tenerife Playa is that it is a good 20 minutes walk to the Titsa bus station to travel around the island. We planned some walks and it is a nuisance to hire a car because that 0nly works for circular walks. The BonoVia bus card is valid for one year and gives reduced price travel and also removes the need to have the correct cash. Cards cost 15 or 25 euros and we used three 15 euro cards in 2017 for our walking. Having puchased a new BonoVia card it was only a short stroll along the promenade to the Castillo de San Felipe and the Playa Jardin designed by Cesar Manrique. This area has been improved since our visits 35 years ago and there is now a nice beach of black sand with facilities and a bar selling scoop icecreams.

Back in the centre, after a short climb we reached the Taoro Park and its waterfalls. There is a cafe but the old Taoro Casino Hotel was not open. The gardens have been redesigned and include the Parque de la Sortija with gritty paths, a childrens play area and exercise machines. Just outside, the Anglican Church has a memorial rose garden of the air disaster of 25 April 1980. We then walked back down the hill passing the Hotel Marquesa for a refreshing glass of local Dorada beer

The story continues in part 2 with some initial walks accessible from Puerto and by bus

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Content revised: 10th October, 2017