It amazes me, but some visitors to Puerto de la Cruz never ever make it to what we consider one of the best areas of town; La Ranilla, also known as the fishermen’s district.
Fishermen have made their homes in La Ranilla since the days when Puerto de la Cruz was known as the Port of Orotava. Where wealthy merchants lived in grand houses around Plaza del Charco, the poorer fishermen and families lived in modest cottages in the narrow streets to the west of the plaza.
Many old cottages are still to be found there and the area continues to feel like a working class Portuense stronghold, but over recent years it’s become one with a distinctly artistic side. It’s always been an interesting area to explore on foot, but the pedestrianisation of Calle Mequinez made it even better.
Ranilla for foodies
La Ranilla is the area where you’ll find some of the best restaurants in town. At the time of writing, ten out of the twenty best restaurants in Puerto de la Cruz, according to Tripadviser reviewers, were located in Ranilla. Considering there are over 300 restaurants in Puerto, to boast 50% of the top twenty in such a small area is quite an achievement. I don’t always agree with Tripadvisor reviews which sometimes favour the most frequented rather than the best. However, in this case they do represent a diverse mix of excellent restaurants. These range from what was once the golden boy of every guidebook, El Regulo, and the traditional northern Spanish cuisine at Bodega Julian to the delicious contemporary Canarian creations of El Taller Seve Diaz and Tasca Ihuey as well as stylish vegetarian El Maná. Clearly, given the area’s name, it’s a good place to sample fresh fish and seafood. The vieja (parrot fish) at La Tasquita de Min remains one of the best fish dishes I’ve eaten. Interestingly La Tasquita doesn’t figure highly on Tripadvisor reviews, yet you’ll struggle to grab a table there on a Sunday as the restaurant is packed with well to do locals.
When we eat out in Puerto, the chances are it would be at a restaurant in Ranilla. The choice is exceptional and there are plenty more better than average restaurants which haven’t made it into the top 20.
Ranilla for shopping
Ranilla is also the place we stock up on chestnut honey, at the local products shop on Calle Mequinez, or browse for unique gifts for family and friends. La Ranillo Espacio Artesano showcases crafts from local artisans and also organizes exhibitions and themed events. Craft stalls now regularly line Calle Mequinez and it’s here where the Christmas market is held.
Ranilla for art
Ranilla is somewhat of an open air art gallery. Some of it is obvious, like the huge murals adorning gable ends, a legacy of a past MUECA, the quirky art in the street festival held each May. Saying they’re obvious isn’t exactly accurate. Some paintings, despite their size, aren’t easy to spot at all. It’s worth a visit to Ranilla just to play a game of tracking down all fifteen (it may be more by now) works in this urban art gallery. The inspiration for these is found on the side of a building overlooking Plaza del Charco where a mosaic from the 1960s was the forerunner of today’s vibrant street art.
Other examples of an artistic bent are less obvious. Some cottages feature decorative touches which look as though they’ve always been there, but which are paintings and stencils by Juliano Serrano which reflect the nicknames of some of the people who lived in Ranilla, a name itself which is thought to have come from a seafaring resident. These are also a legacy of MUECA.
If I was going to list all of Ranilla’s attractive qualities, I could go on and on and on and include all sorts from historic curios and quirky little bars to plazas with dressed trees and rooftop pigeon fanciers.
It’s a small area with a big personality and part of the fun of exploring it is in discovering some of its many charms for yourself.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+