We hired a private tour guide, Nacho, who picked us up at the ship in our own mini van. We went to the oldest community - La Laguna. It is 600m above sea level and flat so it was easy to defend. It is a university city and a UNESCO site. Tenerife is larger and more spread out than Madeira. It's also Spanish not Portuguese.
We saw some sights on our way up to Mt Teide National Park. It was a fascinating drive up 2300 m above sea level. The dense forest gave way to barren craters the higher we went. The crater is amazing and surreal. It's like being on the moon or Mars. Many movies have been filmed in this unique area (westerns, Clash of the Titans, Space Odyssey...) it is also where they test robots for Mars.
After our tour Nacho dropped us off downtown Santa Cruz. I love it here. We spent a lot of time walking around, looking at the sights, people watching and shopping. The Christmas lights are beautiful and it seems that people of all ages gather in the streets to chat, have coffee, and just be with each other. We were docked until midnight so we could spend a lot of time wandering in the warm evening air.