February has just begun, which means cities all over the world are celebrating carnival! Although Rio de Janeiro in Brazil lays claim to the biggest and best carnival in the world, the carnival in Santa Cruz, Tenerife in the Canary Islands proudly holds the title of the world’s second best carnival. But with three weeks of parties, events and activities going on during this lively celebration, you can easily get overwhelmed and wind up feeling exhausted after fitting one too many things in your schedule.
You can still experience most of what the Santa Cruz carnival has to offer and get a feel for the island’s party culture by seeing just the main events. If you’re up for a party unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, full of amazing costumes, incredible performances and a buzzing atmosphere, write these dates and events down on your calendar!
Here are Tenerife Carnival highlights worth witnessing!
Tenerife Carnival Highlights
Carnival Queen Election
Whether or not you’re into fashion, the carnival queen election is something you won’t want to miss out on. This event sees a handful of stunning local girls pose on a stage in dresses you will not believe exist. Adorned with glitter, sequins and feathers, these dresses can be up to three times taller than the women wearing them and often weigh up to 100kg, making them somewhat difficult to look airy and graceful in whilst wearing!
In 2016, the carnival queen election takes place at the Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos from 9.30pm on Wednesday, February 3rd.
This is the parade that most people think of when they imagine carnival and it’s just as spectacular as it looks in photos. For the main parade, thousands of people line the route throughout the streets of Santa Cruz whilst dance troupes, music groups, theatrical performers and schools march on by, all dressed from head-to-toe in brilliantly funny, astonishingly accurate or simply dazzling costumes. This parade goes on for hours and you won’t want to miss a minute of it, so it’s a good idea to take a fold-up chair with you!
In 2016, the main parade takes place throughout the streets of Santa Cruz, between Francisco La Roche Street and Plaza de España from 1pm on Tuesday, February 9th.
Burial of the Sardine
This is one of the weirder parades of the carnival, making it an absolute must-see. During this parade, a funeral is held throughout the streets of the city for a giant sardine, with male pallbearers dressed in drag, laying the tears and sadness on really thick for the death of the salty fish. The pallbearers are followed by hundreds of locals, all dressed in mourning attire and weeping just as exaggeratedly. In case you’re lost, the sardine is meant to represent the carnival and its death symbolises the end of the carnival for another year.
In 2016, the burial of the sardine takes place throughout the streets of Santa Cruz, between Ramón y Cajal Street and Plaza de España from 9pm on Wednesday, February 10th.
Want to experience the magic of the Santa Cruz carnival yourself? You’ve just got enough time to bag yourself a deal on late flights and last-minute accommodation in Tenerife!