The Carnival of Santa Cruz in Tenerife
If colourful costumes and breath-taking parades tickle your fancy, The Carnival of Santa Cruz will truly amaze you. From February 27 to March 10, the Canary Island of Tenerife bursts into life.
See the ‘Event Extras‘ for the trip info
The streets and
The Carnival of Santa Cruz in Tenerife
Squares are filled with parades and a myriad of entertainment from the Carnival of Santa Cruz . Practically every town and village gets involved in the carnival on some level. It is truly an island-wide event that the citizens of Tenerife are proud to be a part of
What can you expect from the Carnival of Santa Cruz?
Those attending the Carnival of Santa Cruz can expect a magnificent spectacle. This fortnight-long affair provides a welcomed break before the Christian period of Lent. Furthermore the carnival serves as a celebration of the performing arts, personal expression and most importantly, dance.
You’re planning a Caribbean vacation in February? You might want to consider the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival.
Each year the carnival has a specific theme. Some past themes have included flower power (2012), the roaring 20’s (2002), and even space (1991). In 2018, the theme voted for by the public of Tenerife is “La Fantasia” or “Fantasy” so you can expect some truly dazzling displays full of weird and wonderful creatures.
In terms of actual organised affairs, three particular events stand out and have become a tradition each year for the Carnival of Santa Cruz. These are three of the most popular events and a must-see for anyone attending the festivities:
Election of the Carnival Queen
- February 27
This gala includes a variety of wondrous parades, but most importantly a parade of the carnival queen candidates. The queens are dressed in fantastic costumes usually decorated with elaborate feathered designs.
The public votes for their queen together with a jury panel and the winner is chosen! This is an honoured position and the whole election day is just a truly amazing spectacle. This event is usually held on the 7th of February and is broadcast live to the country and also on select TV stations abroad.
- February 22
Typically held on the first Friday of the carnival, this is the first and most extensive parade that flows through much of the centre of Santa Cruz.
The announcement parade celebrates the opening of the carnival. It expresses to the world and citizens of Tenerife that the festivities have started, and that its time to party! It is also the first major chance for private sponsors of the parade to promote themselves.
Starting at Parque de La Granja, the parade winds through various streets including the Ramblas, Plaza Wyler, Avenida Islas Canarias, and concluding at the epic Plaza de Espana. Lasting for four or more hours, this parade is an unbelievable spectacle – expect beautiful and vibrant floats, costumes, decorations, music, dancing and more!
Burial of the Sardine
- March 6th
This event might not be to everyone’s tastes but it is an annual tradition and one of the main spectacles of the carnival. On March the 6th, the streets of Santa Cruz are decorated with mourning drapes. During the day, a parade is held through the streets and the central float is a giant Papier Mache sardine.
Followers dress as widowers and members of the Catholic Church and a funeral procession of sorts is held. You may not understand what is going on, but the spectacle, fish and the parade are like nothing else you will experience.
Other carnival themes
Throughout the two week period, there is a myriad of other events, parades, shows and concerts mainly centred on Santa Cruz.
Be sure to check out the Grand Finale which usually happens on the last day of the carnival.It includes an immense parade along the main avenues in Santa Cruz and a pyrotechnic display. We have listed some of the other major events together with their location from the 2018 carnival:
Rondallas Festival & Costume Contest – 24/02
- Musical festivities and costume display
- Location: Tenerife Auditorium
Festival of La Zarzuela – 28/02
- Epic musical theatre
- Location: Guimera Theater
Carnival of the Day – 9/03
- Fantastic carnival celebrations
- Location: Plaza de Espana, Principe and Candelaria
Classic car display – 10/03
- Old car show and closing firework display
- Location: Plaza del Principe
This is just a small snippet of the festivities and activities you can attend and there is so much more to discover. We wholeheartedly advise attending as many of the events listed above as possible as they will give you a great introduction to the carnival.
For those stopping in Santa Cruz, we would also advise simply heading out of your hotel and wandering through the streets to see what you can find .there are numerous events happening in every corner of the city and sometimes the best days are those that aren’t planned.
Most of the main events take place in the three main squares of the city; Plaza de Espana, Plaza de la Candelaria and Plaza del Principe. Consider exploring these areas in particular and the surrounding streets and avenues.
The Carnival of Santa Cruz – immerse yourself in this iconic event
There is no other event like this in the world. The usually quiet and laid back island of Tenerife comes alive for the carnival. Every city, town and village becomes awash with vibrant decorations, fantastic parades and a contagious party atmosphere.
Year in year out, the carnival organisers and comities surpass themselves and provide the locals of Tenerife and the waves of visitors with a true spectacle and a fortnight of frolics and fun!
If the Carnival of Santa Cruz has grabbed your attention, we highly recommend travelling to the Canaries largest island, dressing up in a dazzling face mask and carnival attire, and letting your inhibitions take over!
This will be a once in a lifetime experience and you will be swept away by the whole colourful affair!