Puerto de la Cruz is one of the oldest holiday resorts on the island and was popular with wealthy British people recovering from illness to take a period of convalescence here many years ago. On the northern coast, this is a quieter resort, but still popular despite its lack of beaches for swimming. A beautiful swimming area, Lago Martiánez Lido, was designed by the architect César Manrique that offers sea water swimming that is safe.
La Orotava is a small town near to Puerto de la Cruz that still maintains an historic centre that offer tourists a chance to see traditional Canarian buildings.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital of the island and an important ferry port linking all the islands and the mainland of Spain and Portugal. Despite having no natural beach nearby, the island imported sand from the Sahara and built an offshore artificial reef to prevent its erosion and created Las Teresitas beach, to the north of the town. This remains the only white sandy beach, as most other beaches have the darker, volcanic sand that is natural to the island.
In 1998, six step pyramids were discovered near Guimar, on the eastern shore of Tenerife. They have a noticeable similarity to the pyramids built by the Maya and Aztecs in Mexico and are still a mystery to archaeologists.
In 1991, a Norwegian researcher, Thor Heyerdahl, believed that these pyramids may be remains from pre-European voyagers who sailed the Atlantic in ancient times, and may have possibly forged a link with the pre-Columbian civilisations of the Americas. These were neither terraces nor random piles of stone, but were painstakingly built step-pyramids, constructed according to similar principles as those of Mexico, Peru, and ancient Mesopotamia.