The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the second most popular and internationally known carnival, after the one held in Rio de Janeiro. We had no idea how amazing and huge this event was… now we know, and we want to share it with you!
Just to give you an overall idea: 55 ACTS, 27 DAYS OF CARNIVAL, MORE THAN 500.000 PEOPLE PARTICIPATING IN THE CARNIVAL!
The carnival is so carefully designed, breathtakingly colourful and intense, it totally took us by surprise. This year’s theme is Atlantida, so we should expect a lot of underwater costumes and marine life references.
There are two sides to the Carnival of Tenerife:
- the official carnival, which has more than 100 groups with an average of 50 components each: murgas, comparsas, costume groups, rondallas and musical groups; and
- the street carnival, which is the participation of the ‘civilians themselves at the party.
The official carnival takes a lot of dancing, singing, effort and creativity to prepare. And this translates into many hours and days of colourful parading, enchanting rhythm and engaging atmosphere spreading around the entire capital and loading the streets with people. There are competitions and preselection for groups of professionals and amateurs, of all ages, to establish the line up for the following days. There are tons of glitter and imaginative designs, heavy costumes and amazing dance routines. For an entrance fee between one and ten euros, you can enter the Recinto Ferial (The Exhibition and Events Centre) and assist at some of the competitions and shows. This year, there are events starting with February 7. First acts are the competitions of the children murgas (band of street musicians), followed by a dance off competition during the choreography festival. Right after that, at the same venue, from February 11 to February 13, the adult murgas will be competing and on February 15th, the winner will be announced. Between February 16th and February 20th, you can also enjoy one of the singing competitions, when the music bands will show off their best lyrics (it’s traditional to come up with unique and funny lyrics) or let yourself enchanted by the thrills and innocence of the children competing in the Reina Infantil gala, before admiring the restless spirit of the seniors at the gala Reina de Las Mayores. The best costume competition is on February 24th, where all characters who caught our eyes in the streets will be displaying their incredible imagination. On March 1st, after the Queen of the Carnival gets her crown, the streets will be filled with all the groups and their routine parading throughout the main streets of Santa Cruz.
The street carnival includes free concerts in several plazas, food and beverages stands in parks and markets, workshops and game zones for children, and the wonderful parades. Needless to say, everyone in the street will be showing off creativity and humour with individual costumes or part of a ‘gang’.
One thing is sure, the carnival’s lait motif Baila la calle de noche, baila la calle de día makes total justice to what’s going on in the capital’s streets throughout the festivities. On the 1st of March, make sure you get a seat or stand in the first rows to enjoy the best of the parade starting at 8.00 pm on the route Plaza de la República Dominicana y recorre la avenida Asuncionistas, Ramón y Cajal, Galcerán, Plaza de Weyler, Méndez Núñez, El Pilar, Villalba Hervás and La Marina, to avenida Francisco La Roche. Locals usually ‘book’ a seat on the road hours before the parade starts, so make sure you choose a spot and stick to it as early as possible.
All in all, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2019 festivities start from Feb 7 and last until Mar 10. Here’s a link to the entire calendar https://www.facebook.com/pg/TenerifeByHost/posts/?ref=page_internal
To sum up the 52 pages programme, here’s what you shouldn’t miss!
The busiest and most important dates of the Carnival are:
- Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – the traditional Queen’s Gala, taking place at the Recinto Ferial in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This is an entrance fee-based event, about 10 Euros per person, a competition where all the candidates parade in their glamorous finery on a 1,200-metre square stage wearing the most fantastic costumes, which can weigh more than a hundred kilos. You can buy your tickets here: https://www.ticketea.com/entradas-gala-reina-adulta-carnaval-tenerife-2019/.
- Friday, March 1, 2019, from 8.00 pm – Cabalgada Anunciadora – street parties and parades on capital’s main streets, starting from Plaza de la República Dominicana and running through the streets Asuncionistas, Ramón y Cajal, Galcerán, Plaza de Weyler, Méndez Núñez, El Pilar, Villalba Hervás and La Marina, ending at avenida Francisco La Roche. Choose one, grab a stool and get ready for many hours of rhythm and color.
- Tuesday, March 5, starting with 11.00 am, Plaza del Principe, the Great Coso Apotheosis parade takes place. “El Coso” on Tuesday is the climax of the Carnival, displaying a spectacular parade which will amaze everyone who sees it;
- Wednesday, March 6, you’ll witness the traditional funeral procession of the Sardine, the the Burial of the Sardine marks the end of the festivities;
- Saturday, March 9, is the second Carnaval de Día, and the following Sunday is the final celebration weekend. The final ending is really the celebration of the “Piñata Chica” on the weekend 9 and 10 of March, with more shows, dancing and parades, and also include an antique cars competition.
The Carnival is great for kids, as well. Besides the parades and the day carnival, El Carnaval Infantile offers lots of fun days for all ages: during the weekends (March 2 and 3, and March 9 and 10), from 11 am to 2 pm, and from 5 pm to 8 pm, you will find all sorts of workshops and activities in the Plaza del Parque Bulevar. The “Coso Infantil” takes place on Friday, March 8 from 6 pm and starts from Parque García Sanabria through the streets of Calle del Pilar, Villalba Hervás and La Marina.
To get a feeling of what the Carnival is all about, check out our video from last year …… and pay a visit to the House of Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It opened recently and you can still benefit from a free entrance.