Puerto de la Cruz has always been one of the most active Municipalities in the Canaries as regards cultural activities. Indeed it is difficult to find a tourist resort so determined to offer cultural events. This characteristic no doubt has a lot to do with the commercial importance the town achieved in the XVIIIth Century, a small port which was in fact the channel through which the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment arriving from Europe were imported. It is said that several copies of the revolutionary French Encyclopedia made it here hidden in barrels, before it reached the Spanish Mainland.
The first newspapers appeared, discussion groups, society dances and concerts performed by musicians from London and Paris. Another high point of the Enlightenment was the setting up of the The Botanical and Acclimatisation Garden on the orders of King Carlos III. For a long period there was permanent contact with the best of European culture. Many foreign traders, wealthy and cultivated, ended up settling in the town. These influences gave rise to a cosmopolitan, urban, liberal atmosphere. The seeds sown so long ago germinated and bore fruit, and today Puerto de la Cruz is much more than sun and sand.
Another influence is the strategic position of the Canary Islands, right between three continents, which made Puerto de la Cruz a true “crossroads of cultures”, as Professor Antonio Galindo wrote: “Africa, with whom we have our ancestral history in common; Europe which gave us our most important cultural basis, not only because of the Conquest, but also because of the intense trading relations which were immediately established; and the Americas, which to begin with represented the continuation of Spain’s enthusiasm for discovery and conquest, in which the Islands played a significant role, probably as a result being so near to the European and American Continents. In later times the Americas represented a kind of Promised Land to which our countrymen emigrated en masse”.