Will Columbus Return to Puerto de la Cruz?

Wed, July 24th, 2013 - By Jack Montgomery

Ever since moving to Puerto de la Cruz nearly a decade ago, I’ve regularly heard people grumbling about the state of Playa Martiánez at the eastern end of the town.


Cafes at Playa Martiánez, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

This is the beach that is probably closest to the majority of hotels and it’s around this area on Paseo de Colón that the town developed as the main tourist resort in Tenerife in the late 1960s.

I like Playa Martiánez. The black sand beach has an un-manicured air about it. Benches behind the beach are artistically contemporary, looking out to the cliffs along the north coast. The sea is lively, making it a popular spot with surfers who subsequently lend the playa a laid back atmosphere. There’s an especially nice scene as the setting sun bathes the land with its golden hues. All in all it’s a relaxing spot to simply chill out.


Surfers at Playa Martiánez, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

But lots of local people, including many expats, don’t like it.

At the centre of their discontent is a café. For years there have been calls to pull down the two ‘modern’ cafés that sit behind the beach on the grounds that they are an eyesore. I can’t say that they ever made my eyes sore but there you go.

However, I didn’t know the iconic Café Columbus that existed before these modern ‘monstrosities’ ruined the place. The Columbus was an establishment which seems to exist behind a rosy, nostalgic glow and which sounds as though it was the centre of many a good time in Puerto de la Cruz.


Fountain and Benches at Playa Martiánez, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

I never knew this place and therefore have never grieved over its loss. Subsequently I’ve never quite seen what the fuss was over the cafés at Playa Martiánez, especially when there are bigger – much bigger –  real eyesores in the town.

Last week, after years of pressure, the local council started to demolish the cafés at a cost of €18,000. Soon there will be no modern constructions to obscure the views of the ocean… as long as you’re standing in front of the line of hotels behind the beach that is.

But what now?

Some folks still want to bring Columbus back to Playa Martiánez. With news of the demolition, there have been calls to implement the plans of a couple of local architects who for some time have wanted to renovate the area; creating a small park and building a café which looks suspiciously like the old Café Columbus. These plans were rejected a few years ago on the grounds that they were taking a step into the past.

Having seen pictures of the Café Columbus in its hey day I’ve got to agree. It looks like it belongs in the 70s. A new version would just look silly now.


Playa Martiánez at Sundown, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

With the economic crisis biting deep in Spain, the reality is that it’s unlikely anything will replace the controversial cafés for the time being.

So what exactly does the demolition mean for visitors to Puerto de la Cruz? The answer is not a lot.

The cafés have been shut for some time and anyway, La Coronela, backing onto Lago Martiánez, is a perfectly nice café restaurant just a few metres further along the rear of the beach.

That’s where I always take visiting friends and family for a cerveza with a view.

Posted : Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 at 9:24 am
Category : beaches
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2 Responses to “Will Columbus Return to Puerto de la Cruz?”

  1. Richard says:

    Hi, my family and I remember the Columbus well. We spent many days on the beach here eating lunch in the cafe. I remember it being always busy, with lots of other families enjoying the area.

    I accept this is before Playa Jardin was redeveloped, but it has never been as busy since Cafe Columbus was demolished. And what happened to the camels? I remember riding these as a child.

    If we want to stop this area of Puerto declining any further, this beach and surrounding area does need clearing of rocks, and turning into the local beach Puerto sea front needs if it to compete with the southern resorts.

    • A lot of people have told me about the good times they had at the Columbus. Funny, I was just reading about the camels along there. You have a really good point about turning Martiánez into a good, town beach. But the mayor isn’t saying much about any plans for that area. I think the development of the harbour area is where the council’s attention will be when, or if, they ever have the money to do anything.

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