Already from a far distance, one recognizes the biggest of the Canarian Islands, Tenerife, at the emblem of the island, the Pico del Teide. But the island has much more to offer than only this impressive volcano. While around the mountain, there is a varied vegetation, the coasts inspire with beautiful beaches and blue water. No matter if hiking, strolling, swimming, diving or surfing, during a cruise excursion on one’s own in Tenerife there is something for everybody.
Highlights for Tenerife on your own
El Teide is with 12,198 ft the highest mountain of Spain and therewith also the third highest island volcano in the world. The region around it has been designated a national park thanks to its diverse flora and fauna and has been a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site since 2007.
From the harbor you can reach the park within 2 hours by bus or car. From there you can admire the unique vegetation and the landscape shaped by volcanic stone. The cable car takes you up to 11,483 ft above sea level and, with prior reservation, you can walk the remaining 656 ft and climb to the top of the volcano.
If you suffer from cardiovascular problems or are pregnant, the extreme altitude can cause health problems. Therefore, you should think about this carefully before you go.
Playa de las Teresitas
In the east of Santa Cruz there is the “Playa de las Teresitas“. This former pebble beach was filled up with the finest Sahara sand and since then it shines in a dazzling golden yellow. Along the 0.6 mile long beach you can go swimming or visit the adjacent cafés.
You can reach the beach easily by bus line 910 or by taxi.
Small tip: During the week the beach is very quiet and only few tourists find their way here. So you will find a great place.
Puerto de la Cruz
Puerto de la Cruz can be reached within 30 minutes by car. The small city is considered as a touristical center in the north of the island. Either the generous promenade as also the historical Plaza del Charco invite with its numerous cafés, restaurants and small shops to a visit.
There are also numerous attractions in the immediate vicinity, such as the Lago Martiánez outdoor pool or the Loro Parque animal park.
The outdoor pool, designed in the 1970s, is a bathing landscape of over 19,3750 square foot, built directly into the sea and supplemented with palm trees and other plants. The swimming pool is open all year round and the entrance fee is affordable for adults at around 6.5 dollars.
On the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz is the Loro Parque animal park. The park shows land animals such as gorillas and tigers as well as sea creatures such as sharks and features the largest dolphin show in Europe. The park also has the largest collection of penguins in the world.
It is best to buy the tickets online in advance – this way you save yourself the ticket counter and the associated waiting time.
Things to know before your trip to Tenerife
Cruise lines and routes
Tenerife is served by most of the major cruise lines. The big international cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, also moor here. The island is a fixed point of call for almost every Canary Islands cruise, but is sometimes also included in transfer cruises, i.e. crossings to the Caribbean or South America.
Entry and visa
Tenerife belongs to Spain and is therefore part of the European Union and the Schengen area. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Spain for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay.
Therefore, in case of doubt, please inform yourself about the entry requirements with your cruise line.
In the Canarian Islands, there are pleasantly warm temperatures during the whole year. But in the summer time, it can also be hotter and drier. Then there is also the main season in the islands. But also in the winter months there is a lot going on.
Therefore, the optimal time for travelling to the Canarian Islands is in the months April/May as also September/October, as then, on one hand, the climate is mild and on the other hand, there is less traffic and thus, the prices are often cheaper.
Transfer to the cruise ship port terminal
- Aeropuerto de Tenerife Sur Reina Sofia (TFS): Bus line 111 from the airport to the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The trip costs about 11 dollars.
- Aeropuerto de Tenerife Nord (TFM): Bus line 102 runs twice an hour to the port – the price is 3.5 dollars.
How do I get to the city center?
Both the cruise port terminal Muelle Sur and Muelle Ribera are very close to the city. You can therefore easily walk.
Cruise port shuttle bus
Free shuttle buses run between the moorings at the long Muelle Sur pier and the berth at the new Cruise Terminal Muelle Ribera to take you into town. Buses from the cruise lines often cost extra.
By tram to the city
Alternatively you can take the tram to get to the beautiful old town. To do so, first go to Plaza de Espana square, turn left into the street and after about 656 ft you will reach the Fundacion stop. Only the tram line 1 in the direction of La Laguna runs here.
After the arrival of your cruise ship there are usually enough taxis available at the quay. The official taxis are painted white with a blue stripe and have an additional plate under the number plates that reads “SP”. If you drive according to the taximeter, this costs about 3.5 dollars for the service. For each kilometre driven, 0.55 euros are added. Remember that on Sundays and public holidays and for night drives after 10 p.m. there is a surcharge.
As already mentioned, you can also easily walk to the centre of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Depending on the berth you will need 15 to 20 minutes. There is a blue line on the ground that marks the way to the city center.
Locomotion on Tenerife
To see much of the island, there are several possibilities.
In general, the public transport network in Tenerife is well developed: There is a network of different bus lines and two tram lines. Public transport is operated by Titsa (Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife SA). The green painted buses are very modern and are called “guaguas” by the locals. The tram runs on two lines – line 1, for example, connects Santa Cruz de Tenerife with La Laguna. The buses and trams go to different places all over the island – a good way to explore them.
Tickets can be purchased directly on the bus/tram. If you are going to use public transport intensively, we recommend the Ten+ ticket (formerly: Bonobus). This is a plastic ticket which you can buy once for 2.3 dollars and works according to the prepaid system. The ticket can be topped up with a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 113 dollars. The advantage of this card is that for distances of less than 12.4 miles. 30 percent and for distances of more than 12.4 miles 50 percent discount on the price of the ticket. When boarding the bus, hold your card in front of the reader and again when getting off so that the correct amount of the fare is debited. If your card runs out of credit, you can easily pay the difference in cash.
To get from the port to the city, you can also use the hop-on hop-off buses from the bus station Avenida Tres Mayo. These are also a great way to explore Santa Cruz de Tenerife on your own. A trip takes about 90 minutes and includes 13 stops. A small tip: With the line 910, the entrance to the Palmetum, Parque Marítimo César Manrique and the trip to Playa de las Teresitas are included. A ticket costs approximately 25 dollars and is valid for 24 hours.
Shore excursion on your own
Under our category “On Your Own” you will find at “My Cruise Excursion” among other things also means of transport like Hop On Hop Off buses and many other tools to explore Tenerife or other destinations individually.
To get to know Tenerife, you can also take a full day tour by taxi. For this you negotiate a price in advance and the sights and places you want to see. For a day tour of approximately 8 to 9 hours, you pay 160 to 170 dollars.
Due to the diverse vegetation and flora of Tenerife, it is a wonderful experience to explore the island on foot. There are many signposted footpaths, which are divided according to duration and degree of difficulty. But also in Santa Cruz itself you can stroll through the alleys, discover shops, cafés and traditional restaurants.
Of course you can also rent a car and drive around the island. This way you are completely independent and simply drive to the places you want to see and stay there as long as time allows. There is a Cicar car hire service right on the large car park at the harbor. You will find another one in the old harbor building “Puerto-Ciudad”, next to which the free shuttle bus also stops. We recommend that you make a reservation before your cruise, as on some days there are 4 or more cruise ships in the port. At the car rental Cicar you will receive a city map with the sights of Tenerife as well as an audio guide (CD), which gives short explanations of the respective sights.
Website port operator and tourism organisation
Alternatives to excursions on your own
You won’t leave anything to chance? Then take a guided shore excursion with “My Cruise Excursion”. Here you will be picked up directly at the ship and thanks to small groups, a familiar atmosphere is created. Your tour guide is well informed and can tell you a lot of interesting information about the country, its people and history.
On Tenerife, “My Cruise Excursion” offers various cruise excursions, so there is something for everyone. In addition, you are covered by the punctual return to ship guarantee and the accident insurance. Experience Tenerife in a very special way: