Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is situated at the eastern tip of the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Island chain. The municipal borough covers an area of 150.56 square kilometres and it is divided into two differentiated areas: the Anaga Massif and the southern ramp formed by the lava flows that run down from the Acentejo peak to the coast. The maximum altitude in the borough is 750 metres above sea level. Over half the municipal perimeter is shoreline. Population is 223,347 (2005).
Before the arrival of the Castilian conquerors, the territory where the city would be based, constituted zones of wild vegetation pertaining to the menceyato (kingdom) of Anaga, that governed the Mencey Beneharo. The pre-Hispanic history of the city is carried out by the legacy of 'guanches' (from Guan Chenech, meaning 'man from Tenerife') and several foreign expeditions which arrived at the coast. In 1494, in one of these trips, the Castilians arrived and established in Santa Cruz the camping bases for the conquest of the island, that extended until 1496, the year in which Tenerife was incorporated into Corona of Castile.
From the beginning, the economic nucleus of the city centred on the port. The first wharf, constructed in 1548, was located by the beach of Añazo, but it was later destroyed in a storm. The present port corresponds with four old points of dockage in the municipal coast: the port of Horses with the creek of Blacks, the creek of Blas Diaz, the High Step and the Bufadero. The bay of Santa Cruz was appreciated by navigators due to its natural advantages, that turned it into a food supply center for the ships that sailed for the New World.
At the end of the 15th century a heterogenous society began to form, composed of soldiers, native sailors, merchants and guanches. The first population establishments were located in the surroundings of the castle of San Cristóbal, a fortification that protected the small town. In the second half of the XVI century, one began to construct the first seat, located in front of to the castle, that would denominate seat of Pila and it corresponds with the present seat of the Candlemas. New defensive castles were constructed along the coastal areas because the people of Santa Cruz had to defend themselves from frequent attacks by privateers and berberiscos pirates, Gallic and English. Until the British Navy, with admiral Nelson to the front, it fell defeated the 25 of 1797 July. This episode, by its importance, will mark the history of the city.
Santa Cruz continued growing and soon she ran into the obstacle of the precipice of Saints that was saved with the construction of several bridges: bridge of the Cabo, Zurita bridge, bridge of the Asuncionistas, etc. Little by little an urban weave to both sides of the precipice made up of small streets and pack animal roads was forming.
In the eighteenth century the first expansion of Santa Cruz, derived from a series of factors took place, as the transfer of the residence of the commander-in-chief from the city from La Laguna to the castle of San Cristóbal. It trasvase of the capital status of the island originated a new administrative dimension. In addition, in 1803 Santa Cruz villa was considered free and the first city council was constituted. The city received importance and to it had also contributed the destruction of the port of Garachico, because of the volcanic eruption of 1706, because it brought with himself a displacement of the economic and commercial activity and the establishment of a bourgeoisie that it wanted to control the harbor businesses.
This increasing population is the one that soon demanded services and zones of leisure. The tree-lined avenue of the Duke, the seat of the Prince, the seat of Weyler and Recova welcomed the bustle and the transfer of the people of Santa Cruz. To the primitive nuclei, like the Toscal, they went adding to parcels of houses and parks that composed new districts. In the 20th century and with the arrival of modernity and the "demographic boom", the city extended its limits as far as possible, becoming the large city that is today and whose borders blur with the urban sprawls of the adjacent municipalities.
There are two different airports in Tenerife. The Tenerife South Reina Sofia International Airport  (IATA: TFS) (ICAO: GCTS) is located about 60km away from Santa Cruz, in the south of Tenerife. It's open the 24 hours of the day with almost 9 million passengers every year. The other airport Tenerife North Los Rodeos International Airport  (IATA: TFN) (ICAO: GCXO) closest to the capital, was limited only to island and nationals flights, but the recent opening of the new airport terminal and the entrance of international flights has allowed it to improve the connections with the rest of the country and abroad.
From Tenerife South International Airport to Santa Cruz is 60€.
The Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has become one of the main ports of the country in transit of passengers. You can arrive the city with a Ferry that connects Santa Cruz de Tenerife with Cadiz, in the Mainland, but the trip takes two days. The company that operates this route is Acciona Transmediterranea . You can also take a ship to travel between the islands. The main company is Fred Olsen .
By bus. Fairly cheap (especially if you have a Bono card from bus station and some tobacconists) and fairly regular. Driving is very fast or very slow with little inbetween. Streets can be very narrow. Parking is a problem in the centre.
The beaches are less crowded than in the south. The largest is Las Teresitas is made of imported yellow sand and a short 20 minute bus ride (number 910).
The quieter Las Gaviotas is the next bay over and features black sand and plenty of nudists. The infrequent bus 254 there gives impressive views of Las Teresitas.
A number of museums. A good history museum five minutes walk from the bus station, where the No. 14 bus stops. An art gallery in town and a small planetarium\science centre on the way to La Laguna (bus 14 passes it). A Bono bus card not only entitles you to cheap travel on TITSA buses but cut price museum entrance. Large Sunday market near the bus station.
There are two El Corte Ingles department stores selling pretty much everything, as well as various shopping complexes on the outskirts. The main market is well worth a visit, although it is not aimed at the tourists - great fruit, veg, flowers, etc. There is a flea market on a Sunday near the bus station, if you're short of fleas. Some electrical tourist tat near the main square, which are probably best avoided.
If you're on holiday though, there's more to life than shopping. Why not stroll around the beautiful park up by the Rambla instead?
Canaries food, Spanish food and inevitably, fast food. Most places are good value, but one or two tourist traps near the port. Plenty of good fish, although a dictionary may be helpful.
Whatever you want. Only a few bars, with a few local people in them.
There are a few reasonable hotels in the city, the best placed is the Hotel Principe Paz. However, parking can be a nightmare, so it's best to use one of the underground car parks at around 12 euros a day. Santa Cruz doesn't feel overly touristy (it doesn't really cater for them), so can be a pleasant change from the hot spots in the south.