Practical guide to enjoy the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

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Many people come every year to experience the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a party without limits where the only requirement is to have fun. It is Considered the second most popular and internationally known carnival in the world. In 1980, it was declared a Tourist Festival of International Interest.

Carnival is a festival that takes place just before Lent. The dates usually vary between February and March and, in its origins, it consisted of a parade with people dressed up and wearing masks and other types of accessories.

Over the years, its evolution has turned it into what it is now: a great party, with a huge following, and with different contests and events for all tastes and ages. If you want to have fun, you just need to go outside; but if you want to make the most of this long-waited celebration on the island, follow these recommendations.

Consider your costume or simply improvise

If you don’t want to feel left out, you will have no choice but to wear a bright coloured costume, a shiny wig or a mysterious mask. The greatest carnival lovers strive to wear the most original disguises and investigate, plan and organize their costumes during long sewing sessions. Others, who have less time to think about their outfit, prefer to improvise with some accessories but the result is no less colourful. It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on them, the important thing is to feel comfortable for dancing all day or all night long.

‘’Carnival by night or by day”

Carnival is celebrated on the streets and, this year, begins on the 1st of March with the Opening Parade and ends on the 10th of March with Piñata Sunday. The party consists of the celebration of dances and performances on the different stages that are distributed throughout the city. People of all ages, and even whole families, enjoy a huge party filled with dance and costumes. In addition to live performances, kiosks and decorated floats offer a wide variety of music to suits all tastes. This makes it possible to bring together a large part of the population of Tenerife, as well as carnival lovers from other islands, the rest of the country or the world, at some of the most iconic meeting points such as El Corinto or El Águila. You just need to enjoy yourself and have fun!

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Find the famous personalities of the Santa Cruz Carnival

Some of the characters taking part in the Santa Cruz carnival are people who go out onto the streets with the aim of making people smile and to offer some additional entertainment where humour is the only thing that counts. They are neighbours of Santa Cruz, with names and surnames, characterizing their favourite personality with the appropriate costume, to add more joy and laughter to the party in Tenerife’s capital. The most well-known are Doña Croqueta and Don Ciruelo, Chiquito de la Calzada, Miss Peggy, Cantinflas, Fidel Castro, Harpo, the Caballero de la Palmatoria, JR, the Sheriff and many others, who have helped to popularize the Carnival of Tenerife beyond our borders.

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Follow the crowd and don’t worry if you don’t know how to dance

If you are interested in seeing the Santa Cruz carnival from another point of view, why not learn about its history and customs.  Make the most of it by being in the company of the local people and let yourself be guided by them. It is very easy to meet a “Chicharrero” willing to teach you how to dance and, even if you think that you can’t keep to the rhythm of the music, just keep moving and have fun. Nobody will judge you and it’s also the best way to learn.

Stay the course

A week of partying almost non-stop can be hard to beat. If you want to enjoy the carnival until the last day, you will need some essential information.

  • The parties on the street are quite intense and, although you may not realize it, you will walk a lot during the Carnival days, so don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes.
  • Take the weather into consideration, adapt your costume to the expected temperature or use warm or waterproof accessories to protect you against possible rain.
  • Don’t forget this basic rule: “keep an eye on your belongings at all times”. Take with you only the necessary things such as money, documents and telephone. If you don’t have a zip pocket, get an inside wallet to carry your things close to your body.
  • And finally, use public transport. During Carnival, services are extended. It is the best way to get close to Santa Cruz without worrying about parking!

If you are carried along this far, you may still be dancing as dawn surprises you. Now you must continue with the traditions by eating tasty churros with chocolate to give you the energy to make your way back home.

We are ready to enjoy the event of the year. Let the fun begin!

WAIT! The carnival doesn’t end in Santa Cruz

If you are a true carnival lover, a week is a short time. If you don’t want it to end so soon, you can travel around the Island looking for more music, more costumes and more fun. You will find it easily, and this is because many municipalities celebrate their own carnival.

Puerto de la Cruz celebrates its carnival during the same week as Santa Cruz and, in addition, it is one of the most traditional and famous carnivals in Tenerife. Also declared of international tourist interest, among its most important events we have: costume’s dances, galas, parades, the grand coso (parade) and the burial of the sardine. In addition, you can also see the old car rally, the drag contest or the obstacle race ‘’Mascarita ponte el tacón’’, one of the most popular events of this carnival.

Los Cristianos, one of the most important tourist areas of the island, also celebrates its own carnival a week after the Santa Cruz de Tenerife one ends, so you will have little time to rest. The streets of the municipality include, as always, the election of the Carnival Queen and an attractive programme of carnival events.

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