Exploring Tenerife by Bus: TITSA Buses Made Easy

TITSA bus in Tenerife

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.

Tenerife buses called guaguas by Canarian people (pronounced ‘wah-wahs’). I love this name!

 

Tourist routes

Take a look at this map from TITSA, summarising the major tourist bus routes on Tenerife.

tourist-bus-routes-in-tenerife
Tourist bus routes in Tenerife (TITSA)

 

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 you have three main options:

1. SINGLE TICKET

This is bought from the driver and the price depends on the route.

 

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%.

Bonus tip!

When asking the driver for a return ticker the Spanish phrase to use is ida y vuelta (pronounced ‘eeda ee vuelta’) –the literal translation is ‘going and returning’

 

3. TRAVEL CARD

The Tenmas or ten+ card is by far the easiest way of paying for your bus fares in Tenerife. It is also the most affordable option.

 

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.

tenmas-card-used-for-bus-travel-in-tenerife
Tenmas or Ten+ card: Your golden ticket to bus travel in Tenerife

Recharge the ten+ card with credit when necessary at the bus/tram, station or at one of the self-service machines.

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.

titsa-bus-tenmas-card-reader
Tenmas card reader at the exit door of bus

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.

 

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.

 

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 (Jan 2020)  for popular routes:

  • 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.

 

Bonus tip!

If you are unsure, write down the destination name to show to the driver. Sometimes, the Spanish pronunciation of place names can be tricky for those not familiar with the language.

 

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.

 

Bonus tip!

To identify an express bus, look out for the words sin paradas in addition to the name of the destination displayed at the front of the bus

 

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.

Feliz viaje!

 

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4 thoughts on “Exploring Tenerife by Bus: TITSA Buses Made Easy

    • Bridget says:

      Sorry. I can’t help you as I didn’t visit Los Cristianos. Hope that you manage to top up your card.

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