Located in the extreme northeast of Tenerife, the small town of Punta de Hidalgo looks out over the Atlantic, and is curiously popular with both locals and tourists.
La Orotava is located midway up the valley, overlooking the coastal town of Puerto de la Cruz. Because it's not right on the ocean, it manages to largely avoid tourism -- Europeans visit Tenerife for the beach, and not much else. The elevated position also provides the town with an amazing view, and abundant access to water. There are gardens everywhere in Orotava; in yards, parks, plazas… even the weeds blossom with exuberance.
Any exploration of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is likely to begin in the Plaza de España, an expansive open square near the ocean. At least, that's the first place we headed. We spent a wonderful Saturday morning hanging out in the plaza, and getting a feel for the capital city, which is in turns beautiful, garish, charming, and strange… and definitely has an atmosphere all its own.
The historic capital of the Canary Islands, San Cristóbal de La Laguna (more commonly shortened to La Laguna) is still considered to be the archipelago's cultural heart. We'd be spending a lot of time here during our 91 days on Tenerife, since our home village of Las Mercedes is just up the road, about five minutes by car.