Anything you do on a tropical island is fun and exciting even if you are doing nothing at all. Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a tropical island off the coast of Spain and part of the Canary Islands so you can enjoy yourself by just sitting and enjoying the view and the weather.
But it is also nice to enjoy some of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife attractions. While many of them charge a fee, you can find plenty of things to do that will not cost you a penny. Costa Adeje is another place on the island to enjoy. Or take a walk around the Auditorio de Tenerife, which is one of the most beautiful buildings on the island.
The Canary Islands are famous for their golden beaches, national parks, and magnificent cliffs. The Teide National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most visited national park in Europe. Loro Park is another great park in Tenerife south you can visit for free.
Some days you can also get into Jungle Park or Siam Park for free. Siam Park is a waterpark with amazing water slides and rides. You can often get into some of the Tenerife museums for free if you plan your Tenerife vacation right.
Take a walk through the old town or the fishing village of Los Cristianos, stroll along the pier, or check out some of the flora and fauna in one of the parks on Tenerife. But leave your backpacks, bags, or large items at a Tenerife luggage storage locker first. You don't want to drag them around with you!
Tenerife Walking Tour
Many of the walking tours on Santa Cruz de Tenerife are free. They are often hosted by locals who just want to show off their favorite parts of the island while sharing their knowledge of the history and interesting facts.
The two-hour Free Historical Tour of Tenerife includes the San Juan Castle, Guimera Theatre, and Tenerife Auditorium to name a few. Also taking two hours, the Tour of La Laguna features the Casa Salazar, Santo Domingo Church, and La Laguna Cathedral.
Just because you chose Tenerife as your Canary Island vacation spot, that does not mean you cannot visit the other Canary Islands. There are eight main islands in the Canaries: La Graciosa, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro.
The most popular besides Tenerife is Gran Canaria, which is also the second most populated and second-largest and is considered the best for hiking. Lanzarote is the third largest and is best for families. Fuerteventura has the best beaches. And La Palma is best for snorkeling. La Gomera Island has the best views though.
Playa de Las Americas Beaches
Volcanic black sand beaches are everywhere in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and most of them are free. But some of these beautiful beaches in Puerto de Santiago are filled with golden sand as well. Black sand is pretty but it can be painful on the feet or any other part of you that touches it.
There are six beaches at Playa de Las Americas, each with its own unique features. If you want nice calm waters with golden sand, El Camison and Troya are both perfect for this. Tierra Negra and El Bobo also have gold sand but the water is better for surfing and other water fun. For a black sand beach, go to Las Vistas or Los Cristianos.
Puerto de la Cruz
The port of Santa Cruz, or Puerto de la Cruz, is a popular spot on Tenerife Island. It is one of the three major ports for cruise traffic and watching those giant ships is a free activity you cannot beat. Besides just hanging out and watching the boat traffic, you can also find a variety of small shops, markets, and vendors as well as some great seafood restaurants to enjoy.
Some of the great places to visit in Santa Cruz include Loro park, the coastal town of Garachico, La Orotava and its stunning architecture, and the Lago Martianez saltwater pools. The Bateria de Santa Barbara from the 1700s is also a spectacular sight.
Teide National Park
The most popular park in Tenerife, Teide National Park has a vast array of free things to do like exploring the hiking trails, walking barefoot through the natural pools, and climbing Mount Teide, Spain's highest peak at 12,198 feet. Mount Teide is free to climb but it costs if you want to take the cable car.
The park is right in the middle of south Tenerife and spreads almost 47 thousand acres of special green space. Here you can go swimming with the sea turtles and you may even spot some sea lions. The entrance fee is zero but you may end up spending a bit on some of the amenities like an ATV tour, sailing tour, or a boat ride.
Teno National Park
Do you like museums? This National Park is like an outdoor lesson from the past. If you want to learn more about the island's history, visit Teno National Park where you can visit the historic village to learn about pirates and see the dragon trees. There are very few of these ancient trees left on the planet but here you can see several, some that are thought to be 1,000 years old in Icod de Los Vinos.
Known to the locals as Rural de Teno Park, this is one of the most beautiful places on the island with close to 20 thousand acres filled with everything from rocky cliffs to sandy beaches. The Los Pedregales Visitors Centre is where to learn about the eight million years of history of Tenerife.
Anaga Rural Park
Why not explore Anaga Rural Park while you are in the Canary Islands? There are more than 35 thousand acres of mostly forest land, although you can find tiny villages and settlements that will amaze you. Many find it almost impossible to believe that people still live here in such unspoiled villages in the wild.
Go on the Trail of the Senses which starts at Cruz del Carmen and you will also find remote beaches, scenic trails, and mountains full of laurels and other flora. The lush greenery here is due to it being the wettest area on the island with the most rain and the least people to ruin it. Don't miss the Enchanted Forest. It is free but you will need to get a permit in advance.
A coastal town of southwestern Tenerife, Costa Adeje is full of beaches to explore as well. Some of these include Playa San Juan, Ajabo, La Pinta, and Torviscas and well as Playa del Duque and Fanabe. Torviscas is one of the largest and is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying an adult beverage along the Atlantic ocean.
Hang out until late and you can enjoy the starry sky on the calm black sand beach of Ajabo. It is filled with gardens, lounges, and refreshments to enjoy. For a calm spot to take the kids, San Juan is a favorite of the locals being sheltered from the waves and wind. Or you can spend a few bucks and float down the lazy river at Aqualand.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna
On the northwestern tip of the island, Tenerife's capital and the city also known simply as La Laguna is a UNESCO world heritage site. With over 155 thousand residents, it is one of the most populated towns in Tenerife. The Plaza del Adelantado is the perfect place to start with a variety of shops, eateries, and artwork.
Explore at your own pace for free or you can take a guided tour. Be sure to stop by the Cathedral and see its stunning neoclassical facade from 1819 and the first parish built on the island, Iglesia de la Concepcion. This is a great day trip because you can spend the entire day here without spending anything unless you want to.
The coastal town of Los Cristianos is a sensational place to spend the day and it will not cost you a penny. The village is known for its quaint atmosphere and local restaurants and it is a smart place to try the local cuisine. You can spend a whole day here just walking around sightseeing.
The main beach, Playa de Los Tarajales, is filled with smooth pebbles rather than sand and has a promenade to explore. You can also visit the market where the locals sell their handmade items that make excellent souvenirs.
Playa de las Teresitas
If palm trees and scuba diving are on your to-do list, head to Playa de las Teresitas, the mile-long stretch of yellow sand. Although many of the areas on the strip of the beach are owned by beach clubs selling chairs, refreshments, and other beach items, you can enjoy the beach for free.
Located in San Andres, you can be surrounded by palm trees, calm turquoise waters, and a variety of amenities. If you want to do some diving, this is the best spot because of the breakwaters built for this purpose. Stand-up paddleboarding and snorkeling are also popular here.
This resort town on the west coast is named for its huge rock formations and is the perfect day trip. These formations were caused by volcanic eruptions many years ago and are some of the most popular tourist spots on Tenerife Island.
From the Acantilados de Los Gigantes, you can see for miles out over the Atlantic Sea. The towering cliffs make it easy to see everything you love about Tenerife. Looking for an evening activity in Tenerife? Stay out late and enjoy the night sky and all the stars you cannot see from town.
You don't have to take an expensive whale watching tour or boat trip to see some whales. You can go whale watching from the coast just about anywhere. In fact, there are many different species of whales all around the island. An organized tour may get you more information but if you just want to see them, you can do it on your own.
According to the experts, there are pilot whales, sperm whales, false killer whales, and Bryde's whales as well as Risso's dolphins and rough-toothed dolphins. The best time to go whale watching is during the winter from November until February. However, you can almost always spot some pilot whales and dolphins.
Enjoy the free things to do in Tenerife
Some of the main places not to miss are the Los Gigantes cliffs, La Orotava, and the oldest Dragon Tree in existence. You can also get a sensational view of a romantic sunset from anywhere on the island or stroll through the pine trees of Tenerife south.
If you have a rented car, you can go just about anywhere on the island for free. Also, if you don't mind spending a little, get a Pyramids of Güímar admission premium ticket for Jungle Park. It is worth every penny.