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Puerto de la Cruz (which in English translates as and was formerly known as “Crossport”, although nowadays it is usually known in all languages by its Spanish name) is a city and municipality located in Spain, on the north coast of Tenerife island, in the Orotava Valley. It is located 4 km (2 mi) west of La Orotava, and 37 km (23 mi) W of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and 25 km (16 mi) from Tenerife North Airport both on the TF5 Motorway. In Spanish the inhabitants are known as portuenses. The municipality is the smallest in area in Tenerife.
The population is 31,830 (ISTAC, 2003), its density is 3,646.05/km² and the area is 8.73 km2 (3 sq mi). The elevation is 9 m (30 ft) MSL. The lowest point is the coastal Atlantic zone, the highest is Las Arenas, a volcanic cone with an elevation of 249 m (817 ft). Farmland is tucked into the valley areas and within the Atlantic coastal zone; urbanisation covers much of the area and the terrain rises rapidly to the south.
Prior to the development of hotels and buildings, much of the area consisted of agricultural land. Considerable fiscal pressure led to the land being developed and the population shifted from rural to urban and tourism. The population is mainly urban today.
- Martiánez Pools (Lago Martiánez) completed and designed by the famous canary architect César Manrique.
- Jardín Beach in Puerto de la Cruz is a famous beach filled with palm trees, and hotels.
- Plaza del Charco in the town centre is worth a visit.
- Loro Parque, a famous park and zoo located on the outskirts of the city.
- Ermita de San Amaro, dedicated to the semi-legendary Saint Amaro.
- Archaeological Museum of Puerto de la Cruz: with important pieces of prehistory of the island, which also houses the idol Guanche, called “El Guatimac”.
- Anglican Church of Puerto de la Cruz is located within the Taoro Park, was built by British residents in the city. In Puerto de la Cruz is the oldest Anglican cemetery in the Canary Islands.
- Church of Nuestra Señora de la Peña de Francia located in the town centre.
- Botanical Garden in the El Botánico district is very recommended visit.
- Castillo San Felipe: as small stone castle next to Playa Jardín
- La Ranilla: fisherman’s neighborhood recently renovated
The Tenerife Airshow (Festival de Aeromodelismo) (Spanish for ‘Aeromodelling festival’) is held every year in near the harbour, usually in Europa Square. The airshow celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006.
El Carnaval, held every year. Ash Wednesday is in the middle of Carnival. “La Embarcacion de la Virgen del Carmen” (The Sea-setting of the Virgin Carmen), is held July 16. It has become in latter years “la Fiesta del Agua” (The water party), where copious amounts of water are thrown at the festivities.
It is preceded by “La Sardinada” (The Sardine Festival), where sardines are fried and sold the night before at San Telmo.
Hundreds of people congregate in Charco Square and its fishing port, where festival goers participate in games (like the popular run-along-the grease-pole, where people have to run along a greased pole and catch a flag to win the game, very humorous).
Because of the normally mild weather, people go in T-shirt and shorts, or just bathing suits, and enjoy a quick dip in the waters of the port to help cool down in the usually good July weather. The event starts around 12-1 o’clock in the afternoon and lasts till around 10-12 o’clock at night.
At the height of “La Sardinada”, a large papier mache sardine is wheeled through the streets, brought to the waterfront, “blessed” with “holy water” (normally petrol or lighter fluid) by a man dressed as a Bishop. The sardine is then set alight, to huge applause. After this, a huge firework display ensues. The event is known as the “Burial of the Sardine”.
Amongst the crowd at this event, “professional mourners” will be found. These are invariably men in drag, wailing, for comic effect.
Although the Burial of the Sardine rarely starts on time, the event always attracts crowds, and it is advised to arrive early at the harbour
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The Canary Islands Holiday Specialist
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