Perhaps due to its popularity among both tourists and locals, this fact often goes unnoticed, but Puerto de la Cruz, located in Tenerife, is the smallest municipality in the Canary Islands. Surprisingly, despite its modest size of only 8.9 square kilometers, it boasts the largest swimming pool complex in the entire archipelago. Additionally, one out of every three national tourists visiting Tenerife chooses to stay in this charming town.
Puerto de la Cruz holds historical significance as the birthplace of tourism in both the Canary Islands and Spain. It all began when the first hotel in the city, known as the Orotava Grand Hotel or Sanatorium, opened its doors on September 1, 1886. This pioneering establishment played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s budding tourism industry.
A comprehensive guide titled “Puerto de la Cruz: historia, turismo y patrimonio,” authored by Nicolás González Lemus and published by Le Canarien, offers an in-depth exploration of the town’s allure during the golden age of tourism.
THE LARGEST SWIMMING POOL IN THE ISLANDS
One of the standout attractions in Puerto de la Cruz is Lago Martiánez, a leisure complex that offers breathtaking vistas of the sea and Mount Teide. This expansive facility features a sizable artificial lake surrounded by inviting emerald pools, meticulously landscaped gardens, inviting terraces, and delightful restaurants. The park’s design, dating back to the mid-1970s, is the brainchild of the renowned artist César Manrique from Lanzarote. Manrique expertly incorporated elements of traditional Canarian architecture and indigenous flora into the complex’s aesthetic.
Covering an impressive area of approximately 100,000 square meters, this complex comprises a central artificial lake, complemented by a variety of swimming pools and lush gardens. The entire design beautifully integrates volcanic stone, a nod to the island’s natural landscape.
César Manrique’s artistic vision for the park combines his distinctive artistic perspective with indigenous details like sentry boxes, palisades, and sweeping sea views. The park also houses a collection of sculptures created by the artist himself.
Locally, this site is affectionately known as “El Lago” and occupies the former Llanos de Martiánez, which historically served as a beach and pond area. These spaces were favored recreational spots for the early tourists who visited Puerto de la Cruz at the turn of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.