Santa Cruz is the largest city on the island of Tenerife and shares the distinction of being the capital of the Canary Islands with Las Palmas, which is situated on Gran Canaria.
The island of Tenerife is located about 200 kilometres (120 miles from the mainland of Africa and enjoys a sub-tropical climate, giving hot dry summers and warm winters. Sun lovers can look forward to an average of ten hours of sunshine per day during July and August.
Visitors might be surprised to find that most of the beaches at Santa Cruz have black sand. This is because the islands are volcanic in origin and the sand is from the natural eroded volcanic rock. The main beach, Playa de las Teresitas, which is about seven kilometres from the city, might look more natural as it has soft, white sand which was imported from the Sahara Desert.
Santa Cruz has many souvenir type shops and markets. The Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África is one of the major markets selling all kinds of goods and foodstuffs. It has been declared an Artistic Historical Monument as it has an arched entrance and clock tower. Most of the shops can be accessed via the streets radiating away from the Plaza de Espana. Perfumes and toiletries are said to be a good buy.
One of the most visited attractions in Santa Cruz is the Auditorio de Tenerife building. The auditorium is a modern building which plays host to music concerts and cultural programmes of all types. The outstanding feature, however, is the external construction which resembles a huge crashing wave.
If you plan to visit Santa Cruz towards the end of February then you will be able to take part in the world famous carnival. The carnival extends over a 15 day period and has been likened to the Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil. The city is very busy at this time and hotel rooms are in short supply so it pays to book early.
Santa Cruz offers a Spanish holiday with a difference. Away from the beaches there is the tranquillity of García Sanabria Park. This 70,000 acre park has been likened to New York’s Central Park, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.