Tenerife Carnival - The Biggest Party in the Canary Islands

Tenerife + Carnival = A Spectacle of Superlatives

2018 starts wild! It’s that time again when the Canary Carnival breaks loose!  Tenerife is, of course, right at the forefront of this celebration with its many parades, shows, the Queen’s election and, of course, endless parties.

For two weeks, you will have the chance to get into a costume of your choice, and hit the streets with Tenerife’s locals. One thing is certain: Whether young or old, whether party animal or couch potato, the carnival can barely be escaped in cities like Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz.

People in mascara

Tenerife goes wild!

On Friday, January 12th, Tenerife’s Carnival 2018 commences. It’s hard to believe, but Tenerife hosts the second largest carnival party, next to Rio de Janeiro, though it takes place on a small island!

With their love for “fiestas”, the residents have even ensured their place in the Guinness Book of Records, in 1987, and have managed to hold on to the title ever since! The Carnival of Tenerife continues to get bigger, more colorful and even more spectacular with every passing year!

As is done every year, the celebration is heralded by the presentation of contenders for the post of the Carnival Queen. A colorful spectacle with very unusual costumes! Afterwards, the competition of the “Murgas,” Spanish carnival groups, begins. Murga is a popular music and theater form that is performed during the carnival season, and Murgas are satire artists who perform critical songs about last year’s political and public events.

There are adults as well as children groups who compete against their peers, in an effort to convince the audience with their eloquence.
As soon as the winners are chosen, the election of the Carnival Queen follows.

Carnival queen

Did you know that preparations for the queen’s costumes begin right after the last Carnival? And they have gotten so vast that the potential queens cannot take them on or off, on their own, anymore.

The theme of 2018: Fantasy!

After the coronation, the party begins and all of Tenerife romps, costumed throughout the busy streets. The motto of Tenerife’s towns are redefined every year – no two carnivals are equal.

So what to wear to this year? Well, that depends in which city you are celebrating in!

Each year’s theme is selected from public voting by the residents of the island. From over 12000 votes, around 25% voted for the theme of fantasy. So bring your craziest ideas to life and enjoy the Tenerife Carnival to the fullest!

Carnival mask

The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife at a Glance

* Main events are marked in red.

But there is way too much to list. Check the official website here. 

Kids at procession

Tenerife will not let anyone down when it comes to the word: Diversity! Many bigger towns and cities are also celebrating their own carnival, often at the same time as Santa Cruz.

Carnival in Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the island and the northern headquarter of FU International Academy.

Its carnival theme for 2018 is Greek Mythology. 

Dig into the world of gods and goddesses, dress up as legendary creatures and don’t forget your toga at home!

  • Thursday: February 8th – Puerto de la Cruz elects its Carnival Queen which is one the most important dates to remember.

  • Wednesday: February 14th – Entierro de la Sarina – Burial of the sardine. This is one of the oldest rooting rituals here. The carnival people form a funeral procession, as they dress up as widows and mourners for the farewell of the carnival. Then they the sardine – “chicharro”, on fire as a goodbye.

  • Friday: February 16th – Maraton Masculino Mascarita Ponte Tacon. The day when men become legend. A race that runs along the main streets of Puerto, where competitors must wear high heeled shoes, no less than 10cm in height.

Kids in costumes

Leave your car at home!

In Tenerife’s seventh season, leaving your car in the garage is a very reasonable idea. There are three bus lines that can take you (without transfers) from Puerto de la Cruz to Santa Cruz and back:

101 – Puerto de la Cruz -> Santa Cruz
102 – Puerto de la Cruz -> Aeropuerto -> Santa Cruz
103 – Puerto de la Cruz -> Santa Cruz (Express)

Since buses are the most popular means of transportation, during the times of Tenerife’s Carnival, they drive more frequently than usual to cater to the needs of the public.

Despite this, in order to ensure your place, we recommend that you be really early at the station because the rush is enormous.

You will find all bus lines and departure times on the official TITSA website.

Carnival lady

The show will go on!

After dark, of course, the party does not stop at the carnival! Get yourself a drink with your friends at the so-called “chiringuitos” (stalls), which you can find all over Santa Cruz at carnival time.

Or grab your friends and mingle with the crowd on the streets. Here, you will always have an opportunity to celebrate – especially for Carnival!

Tenerife: 2018 starts wild!

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