After the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the second largest in the world, with its own culture and traditions.
Just like in Brazil, you can expect feathers, plumes, exotic dancers, and lively Latino music in Tenerife, with around 400,000 joyful revelers dancing through the streets of Santa Cruz.
Preparation & Carnival Theme
The preparation starts early. From April onwards, residents can vote online for the Carnival theme. This year, the theme 'La Televisión' (Television) has been chosen. Not only is the decoration in the city adjusted to the theme, but it also provides inspiration for Carnival costumes.
The election of the Murgas and Queen
Preceding the grand parade and street parties are the elections for the best Murga band and, of course, the Queen of the Carnival. Murgas are music bands that sing satirical songs in clown-like costumes.
During the election of the Reina de Carnaval, the most beautiful ladies of the island compete for the coveted crown. It's not just about beauty but also about the designs of the magnificent costumes. These costumes can weigh up to 200 kilograms and are usually equipped with hidden wheels underneath so that the candidates can glide elegantly across the stage.
The most important dates at a glance:
If you happen to be on Tenerife during the Carnival days, you really have to experience it at least once. Here are the most important dates:
- Friday, February 9, 2024, at 8:00 PM: the announcement parade. Here, the newly elected queen and her entourage are presented, and it's a grand celebration of glitter, feathers, and lively music. After the parade, the street party continues into the early hours.
- Saturday, February 10, 2024: 'From Dusk till Dawn'... dancing all night long. This is usually the busiest evening, alongside Monday.
- Sunday, February 11, 2024, from 1:00 PM: the Day Carnival.
- Monday, February 12, 2024: Like Saturday, this is also a party that goes on from sunset to sunrise.
- Tuesday, February 13, 2024, starting at 13:00: The Grand Parade. You must see it at least once in your life!
- Wednesday, February 14, 2024, starting at 10:00 PM: Entierro de la Sardina. A giant sardine is symbolically burned to mark the end of the celebration.
How should I imagine such a Carnival?
There are various stages spread throughout the city, so there's plenty of choice. Everywhere you go, there's music, street stalls where you can grab something to eat and drink, and non-stop dancing. It's just one big street party. Perhaps not unimportantly: there's no shortage of portable toilets either.
Guinness World Record
Santa Cruz de Tenerife holds the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people dancing outdoors, totaling 250,000. This record dates back to 1987, when the glorious Cuban singer Celia Cruz graced the stage.
In 2019, the capital broke its own record during the performance of the Dominican Juan Luis Guerra with a staggering 400,000 revelers.
What should I keep in mind if I want to participate in the Carnival?
- Blend in. You're coming to one of the largest Carnivals in the world, so being dressed up is the minimum requirement. In the 'Euro-Bazaars' on the island, you can buy a costume, wig, and quirky hats for a reasonable price. The crazier, the better.
- Stay alert. Although it's generally safe in the downtown area, it's advisable to remain vigilant. Bring only cash. Despite the massive crowds, most places are convivial and pleasant, but I recommend staying primarily in the city center. My personal favorite dance spots are Plaza de España and Plaza del Príncipe de Asturias. Plaza Weyler is usually enjoyable as well, but this year it's partially cordoned off due to construction work, so it might be a bit crowded there.
- Transportation. It's better to leave the car at home because parking can be difficult. Fortunately, the bus company Titsa has once again added extra bus services so you can travel to and from the capital day and night.
Carnival, Carnival, and more Carnival!
By the way, this isn't the only carnival on the island. Also very popular is the carnival of Puerto de la Cruz, Los Cristianos, and Los Gigantes. Click on the respective city for a link to the full program on-site.
Have a lot of fun and ¡Hasta Pronto!
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