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Do you want to see Tenerife without a car? No problem. Exploring Tenerife by bus is easy, comfortable and inexpensive. I did it for a week without any problems!
Here’s all you need to know to ace public transport in Tenerife.
The Tenerife bus service (TITSA buses Tenerife)
Every corner of the island of Tenerife is covered by the bus service managed by the cheekily named TITSA. This is an abbreviation for Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife, Sociedad Anónima, which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
TITSA operates a modern fleet of shiny, shamrock-green buses. Tenerife buses are clean and are equipped with the latest safety technology and air conditioning. Additionally, much of the TITSA fleet is wheelchair accessible.
In many respects, buses are of a higher standard than those found in the UK.
Tenerife bus services run more or less on time.
Take a look at this map from TITSA, summarising the major tourist bus routes on Tenerife.
And here are the popular tourist routes:
- TITSA 102 / 103 Puerto de la Cruz – Santa Cruz
- TITSA 108 Santa Cruz – Icod
- TITSA 110 Santa Cruz – Costa Adeje
- TITSA 111 Santa Cruz – Costa Adeje via Tenerife South Airport
- TITSA 325 Puerto de la Cruz – Los Gigantes
- TITSA 342 Costa Adeje – El Teide
- TITSA 343 Puerto de la Cruz – Los Cristainos via Tenerife North and Tenerife South Airports
- TITSA 348 Puerto de la Cruz – Teleférico Del Teide
- TITSA 473 Los Cristianos – Los Gigantes
- TITSA 477 Costa Adeje – Los Gigantes
- TITSA 711 Santa Cruz – Costa Adeje via Tenerife South Airport
Tenerife bus tickets
When it comes to paying your bus fare there is a dizzying array of options:
1. SINGLE TICKET
This is bought from the driver and the price depends on the route. The maximum value of note4s from which drivers can give change is 10 Euro.
2. ROUND-TRIP TICKET
Again, this is bought from the driver and is available for a same-day return journey covering a distance of at least 20 km. Buying a return ticket gives you a discount of 10%.
3. PAY-AS-YOU GO RECHARGEABLE PASS
Easier than buying individual tickets, load credit onto a contactless Tenmas or ten+ card and you’re good to go. This is the easiest way of paying for your bus fares in Tenerife and is also the most affordable option.
4. FIXED PERIOD BUS PASSES
Newly introduced, one-day and one-week bus passes are available, loaded onto a ten+ card or the ten+móvil app. These cost €10 and €50 respectively (October 2020).
5. FIXED VALUE BUS PASSES
Available on the ten+móvil app only, these are passes to the value of €15 and €25.
6. FIXED NUMBER OF JOURNEYS PASS
Also available on the ten+móvil app, a pass that is good for five journeys.
There are also passes available for those with disabilities, senior citizens (65+), children, young people and families.
Buying and using the Tenmas (ten+) card
You need to buy your ten+ card at the bus station, tram station or another authorised outlet. You won’t be able to buy this from the bus driver.
If you want to take the bus from Tenerife South Airport to your destination, you can buy a Tenmas card from the Lycramobile shop, located just beyond the baggage reclaim area.
The card itself costs €2 which you then load with credit in €5 increments from €5 to €100.
Recharge the ten+ card with credit at the bus/tram, station or at one of the self-service machines. You can also register and top-up your Tenmas card online.
You can use the ten+ card for travelling by bus and tram across Tenerife. However, it is not accepted on the bus services to Teide (TITSA 342 and 348).
A ten+ card can be used by more than one passenger. You can also change buses.
The balance on your Tenmas card is valid for one year from the date it was last topped up. The card itself is good for ten years.
Using a Tenmas card gives you a discounted fare, depending on the distance that you are travelling, typically 20% on journeys under 20 km, 30% on longer journeys.
To use the Tenmas card, tap it on the reader near the driver when you enter the bus. If more than one of you is using the card, just tell the driver before you present the card.
When you have reached your destination, tap the card again on the reader next to the exit door at the centre of the bus. The fare will be deducted from your credit balance, which will be displayed on the reader’s screen.
Getting and using the ten+móvil app
I chose not to use the app because I felt that the Tenmas card suited my purposes. Also, the app requires entry of passport number as part of the registration process, about which I felt a little uncomfortable.
Enter your registration details and add money to your account via a virtual wallet.
To pay for fares onboard the bus or tram, you need to read the QR code to validate the trip. This is usually located near the entry door.
Tenerife bus fares
Using buses on the island is very affordable.
To put this into context, exploring Tenerife by bus cost me €35, which included the return fare from Puerto de la Cruz to Tenerife South Airport. Not bad for a week’s travel.
It’s worth noting that although the one-week travel pass wasn’t available when I travelled to Tenerife, at €50 for the week, this would have cost me more money.
Fares for popular tourist routes with Tenmas card (2020 prices)
To give you a sense of how much it is likely to cost you to travel around Tenerife by bus, here are a few current fares (October 2020) for popular routes using a travel card:
- Puerto de la Cruz – Santa Cruz: €3.45
- Puerto de la Cruz – Tenerife South Airport: €9.55
- Puerto de la Cruz- La Orotava: €1.15
- Los Cristianos – Santa Cruz: €5.90
Check current fares for Tenerife buses here.
Essential tips for exploring Tenerife by bus
1. Buy a Tenmas (ten+) Card
In terms of affordability and convenience, a Tenmas card is unbeatable.
2. Get hold of a bus map and timetables
A Tenerife bus service map and set of timetables are indispensable in planning your routes around the island.
I was given these when I purchased my Tenmas card. Alternatively, download Tenerife bus schedules and map from the TITSA website or pick them up from one of the island’s Tourist Information Offices.
3. Check your destination carefully
TITSA buses display their three-digit number on the front, back and sides of the bus. The destination is displayed on the front of the bus.
If you want to double-check that you’re heading in the right direction, ask the driver. In my experience, most drivers are happy to help out visitors. And if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch, they are able to speak some English.
Once on the bus, the stops are not announced. However, you should be able to see them on a screen at the front of the bus (and sometimes on an additional screen near the exit doors).
If you need to get off at the next stop – la próxima parada in Spanish – you should let the driver know by pressing the red button.
4. Watch out for the express buses
There are some bus services that do not make any stops en route. Whilst these express buses are great if you want a speedy journey from A to B, they are not so great if you don’t want to travel all the way to the terminus.
I was caught out on day 1 when I intended to travel to La Laguna from Puerto de la Cruz but ended up in Santa Cruz sooner than I had wished. Don’t repeat my mistake.
5. If you are paying with cash, keep hold of your ticket
Don’t risk a €400 fine. Keep hold of your ticket until you leave the bus.
Supervisors do board the buses to check tickets (I came across them twice during my week in Tenerife).
6. On popular routes, board the bus at its starting point and get there early.
On more than one occasion, I witnessed queues of people trying to board popular buses at the bus station, and full buses driving past a sea of disappointed faces at bus stops further along the route.
Buses in Tenerife are also used heavily by residents and can get very busy. To avoid disappointment, catch your bus at its starting point if possible (usually the bus station) and arrive a good 15 minutes before its scheduled departure time.
Tenerife by bus: Final thoughts
Whilst hiring a car gives you greater freedom, getting around by bus in Tenerife is an easy and very affordable way of seeing the island.
Exploring Tenerife without a car frees you from the stress of driving and parking. In not adding to the traffic congestion on the island, in your own small way you are doing your bit towards preventing climate change.
Apart from the lack of flexibility, the only other disadvantages of exploring Tenerife by bus are the infrequency of some schedules and a lack of direct routes to some destinations, necessitating a change of bus. However, with a little forward planning, you can overcome these disadvantages.
Finally, we all like a friendly and polite traveller and bus drivers are no different. Greeting them with a smile and a cheery hola / buenos días / buenas tardes will go a long way to easing your journey.
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