The Great Tenerife Ice Rink Stink

Okay, so it was the little guy’s birthday yesterday. Instead of throwing Sami a birthday party we decided to take him ice-skating at the temporary rink in Santa Cruz. Him and his sister were thrilled at the idea so after opening pressies and having some breakfast birthday cake, we set off on the bus to Santa Cruz.

(Just as an aside, I want to remind visitors to Tenerife that there are discount tickets available for the TITSA bus service called Bono Cards. If you are going to be getting around by guagua, pick one up (€12 or €30) from the main bus stations or tour office near your hotel. With the Bono card discount we were charged €4.70 per person for a single journey (a child is charged as an adult after the age of 4) so there and back we were be looking at almost €40 already.

On arriving at Santa Cruz we walked from the bus station to the Plaza de España where a shabby white tent and a couple of beat- up looking offices told us we had found the ice rink. The price for a shot on the rink is very good indeed; €5 per adult per hour and €4 per child per hour. I would be happy to pay that for half the time (especially as I am the accompanying adult and I suspect the thrill of freezing my tail off going round in circles in the Pista de Hielo will begin to pale after about, oh, ten minutes or so).

So we queued along with the other families. The birthday boy was hopping from foot to foot in excitement saying, “I can’t believe I’m going ice-skating. On ice!” Then the other families began to step out of the queue looking a bit disgruntled. I figured there was no space at that moment but decided I’d go ahead and book us in for later in the day. Unfortunately, when I reached the caja the girl inside shrugged and said the rink was fully booked for the whole day.

What? It was only about 11.20 am by that time. “But we’ve come all the way up from the South on the bus…” I wanted to say, “It’s his birthday!” As if that was going to make any difference. In the end I booked us in for Sunday and we just took the kids for a Happy Meal and a wander round Santa Cruz.

So there you go. If you fancy hopping on the bus to go ice-skating in Santa Cruz – don’t bother! Not unless you’ve got tickets booked for days in advance. For what it is worth ticket sales for the Pista De Hielo de Tenerife are by LetsGoTickets.es. They do have a website and it looks like you should be able to book online.

I’ve no doubt we’ll have a great time on Sunday and the kids start school again the next day so it is a nice way to finish off their holidays. The price per hour is very cheap indeed and ice-skating is such a novelty here that I can see why it would be so popular. It’s just such a shame that there was no public information about booking in advance or the ticketing website. That would have saved us a wasted journey and a my wee boy from a birthday disappointment.

Bus to Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Bus to Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The kids and I accompanied Gaga on the bus to Santa Cruz de Tenerife yesterday. She had a medical appointment at Candelaria and according to the TITSA (the Tenerife bus company) schedule we should have made it in bags of time.

Unfortunately the bus driver must have missed the memo because he  maintained a stately crawl the whole way. By the time we finally got off the bus, Gags was already 5 minutes late for her appointment and she still had to make it to Candelaria. She shot off to get a taxi and I herded the kids in the direction of the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa.

 

Señora de Africa Market, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
TITSA bus in Santa Cruz

I let them bore themselves silly in the little playground outside and then we took a turn around inside the market. Inside you’ll find flower stalls, fruit and veggies, herbs, spices, fresh meat, bread and pastries and garden plants. There is also a pharmacy which has some interesting odds and ends tucked away inside – ampoules of pure Retin A and various lotions and potions that promise to stem the march of time. This shop has a good little pet supplies locale attached.

Further round the market you’ll come across another pet shop except this one sells live animals. It is filthy inside. Grubby looking rabbits and guinea pigs huddle in dirty cages with various types of bird displayed above them. To a kid any rabbit is cute and I watched a Spanish man trying to drag his daughter away from this horrible place. Guaranteed that if he had given in and bought his daughter that conejo she’d be heartbroken over its dead body in a week.

Churros and Killing Time

By the time we’d wandered through the market and stuffed our faces with churros in a cafe outside I was hoping Gags would be all done with her business. But no… This is Tenerife after all and she was at least 15 minutes late for her appointment (despite bussing it all the way from the South).

She now had to wait for the second shift. So the kids and I walked on down towards the Plaza Iglesia and up again past the old houses and smart cafes to the General Serrador Bridge. There was no need for our detour other than killing time and normally we would just have gone straight across the bridge towards Calle de Castillo. The little side trip threw my daughter for six and she was convinced we would never find our way back to the main drag and retrieve poor Gaga again.

By the time we’d reached Calle de Castillo and were walking down to the Plaza, Gags was on the phone and we met up at last near the tower, yakking on the phone until we practically bumped into each other. Apparently while the poor soul had been waiting all that time, so was an obnoxious old man. He managed to upset everyone else present by hawking and spitting up phlegm on the floor and smoking in the waiting room.

My Mum who is usually quite shy to use her Spanish found herself in the bosom of a clutch of indignant Spanish grannies all ready and willing to lynch the nasty old bugger.

Sales are on now of course so its not a bad time to visit the shopping centre of Santa Cruz. As we passed Zara, I accidentally tripped and fell over the doorstep and came out 20 minutes later and €30 poorer with 10 t-shirts. 10 for €30! It’d be rude not to, don’t you think?

We wandered on, stopping here and there until we eventually made it back to the bridge. In a romantic little flurry, the city councillors called the bridge after General Ricardo Serrador whose wife is the Señora de Africa for whom the market is named. It’s fitting then that the bridge lead us back to the market from where we can carry on back to the Santa Cruz bus station.

Save Yourself the Stress of Road Roulette

I know a couple of expat drivers here that hate making the journey to Santa Cruz. Whether it is to get to the Carrefour or Alcampo malls or to the Candelaria hospital or their national embassy or for a business meeting, navigating through the spaghetti junction of roads as you get closer to the capital is a nightmare. The problem is made worse made by the constant diversions and roadworks so even if you made the trip without a hitch last week, this week you might zip along a familiar road only to find yourself turned around and headed off to places unknown.

On top of the stress of road roulette,  parking in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is no walk in the park. If you are aiming for Calle de Castillo, the underground car park nearby will do fine but try to visit anywhere a little further out and you would probably be easier to park there and get a taxi anyway.

Or forget the car altogether and jump on a bus. By the time you’ve read the paper and the kids are winding up for their first “Are we there yet?”, you are there already.

For those heading to Primark from the south of Tenerife, get ready to jump off the bus at the first stop after it dips through the little tunnel into Santa Cruz proper.  As it rises out of the dip, press the button to get off and Bob’s your uncle, you should be right in front of the Meridien Centre where you will find, Primark, Zara, Mango, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, and all the other usual suspects. On top of the centre, is a cinema and various places to grab a bite to eat including an all you can eat Asia buffet.

 

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Bus Terminus (Intercambiador de Santa Cruz de Tenerife)

If you choose to stay on the bus till the terminus, you can find taxis available right outside the bus station to take you further afield. If you are heading for Mercado Señora de Africa and the shopping centre based round Plaza de Candelaria a five/ten minute walk will get you there.

As you can see from the picture, the Santa Cruz Bus Terminus is much like any bus station anywhere. As long as you know what bus number you are looking for you can’t really go far wrong.

Hop on a Bus to Santa Cruz de Tenerife

The table below shows only the main stops on the routes to Santa Cruz listed. Some lines, like the 111 from Costa Adeje and Los Cristianos and the 107 from Buenavista del Norte, stitch along, stopping at every bump in the road. It can take ages to get there so if you are travelling with kids make sure they visit the loo before setting off.

Click through on the route numbers to get full details and timetables. Note that weekends and fiestas can be a much lighter service so check your return bus time so you don’t get caught out on the way back.

Costa Adeje (express) Costa Adeje, Magma, Los Cristianos, San Isidro, Santa Cruz 110  
From Costa Adeje (loooong)  Costa Adeje, Los Cristianos, Airport South, a gazillion stops along the way, Santa Cruz  111  
 To Costa Adeje (Night Bus)  Santa Cruz,  Autopista Sur TF-1, Caletillas, Candelaria, Güimar, Arico , Chimiche , San Isidro, Airport South, Guaza, Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje  711  
 Puerto de la Cruz  Puerto de la Cruz, La Matanza, Airport North, Laguna, University Hospital, Candelaria Hospital, Santa Cruz  102  
 Puerto de la Cruz (express)  Puerto de la Cruz, El Risco, Tucan, La Paz, Botanical Garden, Santa Cruz  103  
Buenavista Del Norte Buenavista del Norte, Los Silos, Garachico, Icod de Los Vinos, Las Arenas, La Oratava, Tacaronte, Airport North, La Laguna, Santa Cruz 107  
Icod de Los Vinos Icod de Los Vinos, Las Arenas, La Oratava, Tacaronte, Airport North, La Laguna, Santa Cruz 108