San Cristobal de La Laguna, or simply La Laguna, is one of the most emblematic and most historic of the Canary Islands. In 1999 it was declared by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. An archetype of the so-called "city area", La Laguna was declared as such because it was the first example of unfortified colonial town (due to a "new" peaceful social organization of the XVI century) and its enviable condition.
According to the history, the first streets of the city were inspired in the geometry of a compass rose. The importance of this route is that it serves as an example for the organization of unfortified cities of the New American Continent. Located about 6 miles (10 km) from the center of Santa Cruz, both cities are now connected in a simple, fast and balanced line of tram.
The average temperature throughout the year is much lower than that of the nearby Santa Cruz, especially in winter, reason of which you will inevitably need warmer clothes. In terms of climate it is a city of contrasts, in the morning might be just around 13 ° C and after noon pass over 22 ° C. In the summer months the temperature is usually excellent and sometimes even very hot.
Not being a tourist destination “per se” the options of accommodation in San Cristobal de La Laguna are considerably lower than those found in other more touristic towns and villages of Tenerife. On the other hand, the advantage of this situation is that it makes many visitors feel part of San Cristobal de La Laguna community with greater intensity. Tenerife Travel Secrets left, though, a short list of hotels where you can enjoy unforgettable and relaxing holidays:
Hotel Laguna Nivaria
The Hotel Rural Nivaria is located in the heart of the historic center of La Laguna, just 3 kilometers from the Tenerife north airport - Los Rodeos. This building, from the late 17th century, was built to house the Spanish Royalty and served as a point departure for the conquest of the New World. Later, it became an 18th century manor house of the historic city center and the Plaza del Adelantado. It has now been converted into a hotel and has 62 studios spread over three floors. The price per room for two people can be found from 82 €.
Located in the central Calle Carrera, the building was built in 1760 and became a hotel in 1885, with 22 rooms and one suite. It has the basic services of a hotel, but with the charm of being housed in a building over three hundred years old and listed as one of the buildings within the Unesco World Heritage. The price per room for two people can be found from 75 €.
As we said, in San Cristobal de La Laguna there are not many hotels or hostels, so we mention few other accommodation options located a bit away from the village, but in the same municipality:
Oceano Vitality Hotel & Medical Spa
Hotel near Punta del Hidalgo. The apartments and the medical spa are on the sea front and in an environment surrounded by palms and gardens, with magnificent views of the ocean and Mount Teide. The price of apartments accommodating two people can be found from just over 90 €.
Hotel Rural Costa Salada
Rural hotel located in Tejina. It is a hotel located also on the beachfront with rooms and suites which have spectacular views of the sea and gardens. This Rural house is situated about 20 minutes from Los Rodeos (Tenerife North Airport). The price per room for two people can be found from just over 90 €.
As already mentioned, the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna is not a conventional tourist destination, so there are no beaches nearby, but of course, being La Laguna a “pueblo” of an island it is not very difficult to reach the coast and its municipal beaches. So if you chose to approach any of the beaches we recommend the following ones:
It is a small resort consisting of three semi-natural pools (one for children) located in an area almost always accompanied by very warm temperatures, with all necessary services (such as changing rooms) for a relaxing day with family, friends or partner.
Playa de Almáciga
It is a beach of black sand and small stones of easy access and bar services nearby. Just take extra care with the currents from the beach.
Playa de Taganana
It is in the neighborhood of Taganana, so you will find plentiful of bars and restaurants around. It is a beach with pebbles and black sand that can be reached by car.
Playa del Roque de Las Bodegas
Black sand beach (very noticeable in periods of low tide) located in the Parque Rural de Anaga (Rural Park of Anaga) and from which one can spot Roques de Anaga. Regardless of the quiet appearance of the beach, pay close attention to the ocean currents – characteristics of the area. It is a perfect beach for surfing and where you will find several bars and restaurants to taste delicious seafood.
Attractions and Activities
San Cristobal de La Laguna does not respond as a standard tourist city, but (and perfectly) with the descriptions of cultural and historic city. There are a wide variety of religious monuments and other historic mansions which can, after the morning rush hour, move the visitors to another era. Some of them, recommended by Tenerife Travel Secrets, are the following:
- Iglesia del Cristo (Christ Church);
- In Calle de San Agustín you will find the Palacio Lercaro (Palace), where you can visit the Museo de Historia de Canarias (Museum of History of Canary Islands); and Palacio Episcopal or "Casa Salazar", destroyed by fire in 2006, but that is now almost completely rebuilt and soon the visitors of this historic center of San Cristobal de La Laguna will be able to enjoy this great architectural monument;
- In the Plaza del Adelantado, you will find among other buildings Palacio de Navas and the Convento de Santa Catalina (Convent of Santa Catalina), where the incorrupted body of the nun Sor Maria de Jesus, “La Siervita de Dios”, is located since her death in 1731. The nun is currently in the process of being beatified. The body of the nun is on public display, in a glass coffin, every February 15 (the anniversary of her death);
- Buildings from the early 20th century in the Calle Consistorio. Next to them is located the Hotel Laguna Nivaria, that belonged to Marqués de la Quinta Roja (family Benitez de Lugo);
- Calle Carrera, from the Plaza del Adelantado to the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios (Cathedral), where you can take a walk and enjoy its many mansions;
- A very old Drago Tree. Located on Calle Santo Domingo, where you can also visit the Iglesia de Santo Domingo (Church), beautiful during Easter processions. In this church is located the buried body of the pirate Amaro Pargo.
San Cristobal de La Laguna, as well as historic, has also been characterized as an intellectual city and home to the University of San Fernando (Universidad de La Laguna) since the 17th century. Therefore it has many colleges, with a wide range of social and cultural activities:
- The University of San Fernando, was the only university in San Cristobal de La Laguna and in the whole Canary Islands, until the creation of its counterpart in the 90's in Gran Canaria. University means youth, thus it is not surprising that during the academic months the city has a great nightlife in the streets, bars, pubs and “tascas”, for their student population. The nightlife area is located between calle Héraclio Sánchez and calle Antonio González;
- Calle Herradores, pedestrian shopping street with many bars and terraces;
- Mercado Municipal de San Cristobal de La Laguna in Plaza del Cristo, where you will indulge your senses, as the products sold here are of excellent quality.
In addition to the leisure options offered by the city, it is essential to visit the following natural areas of the municipality:
- Camino Largo, is a great walking option in the city, surrounded by many trees and palms, perfect for a family or couple outing;
- Monte de las Mercedes, which is part of Parque Natural de Anaga (Anaga Natural Park), where you can enjoy nature in its pure state. In this area there are a few examples of vegetation from the Tertiary era, such as the wonderful bosque de Laurisilva (forest). Visit the Cruz del Carmen and Pico del Ingles;
- Parque Natural de Anaga, essential to see and visit Tanaga and the Macizo de Anaga (Anaga Mountains Massif), with great natural diversity and fragile ecosystems. Their white and black sand beaches are a must to visit. In addition, in the inexpensive and popular restaurants in the area you can taste delicious dishes of seafood, including fried octopus.
As you can see there is much to do, see and enjoy in San Cristobal de La Laguna and the surrounding area, and for that we are sure you will make the right choice when trying to visit it. So, you can reach the city in 10 mins from the Tenerife North Airport (Los Rodeos), using the public transport service of TITSA (bus).
If you decide to rent a car, you should take the Autopista (motorway) towards Santa Cruz de Tenerife.