Welcome to Carnival!

Joy and colour flood the streets and you feel like the star in a great improvised show. There’s nothing to stop you from enjoying what you’ve been waiting for all year: Carnival, the island’s most emblematic festival that has been spreading smiles and filling Tenerife with rhythm, glitter and high spirits for centuries.

The time of year has come when one of the island’s most important festivals – Carnival – is celebrated all over the island, starting with the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival – one of the most famous carnivals in the world – which has been declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest.

With a varied programme in all the island’s municipalities, the festival will bring together visitors from all over the world, who will fill the city with life and joy, where tourists and locals come together to enjoy Carnival with parades, costume contests and musical performances.

Chicharrero* at heart: Carnival is here!

From 12 January to 18 February, Santa Cruz de Tenerife will be filled with a carnival atmosphere, which this year pays tribute to Television – the theme for 2024. The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is an event full of colour, music and fun, consisting of various contests and galas, such as the Adult Street Musicians [Murgas] contest, the Carnival Queen Gala, the Musical Group contest, the Troupe contest [Comparsas], the Classical Music contest [Rondallas], the choreographic festival and the Children’s Street Musicians contest, among others. There is something for everyone!

The Adult Murgas contest is held at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Trade Fair Centre and is divided into three phases, each with its corresponding final. This year a total of 20 groups are taking part, including some of the most popular and long-standing murgas, such as Los Bambones, Los Mamelucos, Los Chinchosos and Los Zeta Zetas. The children’s murgas contest is also held in the same location, with children’s murgas such as Los Redoblones, Distraídos, Retorciditos, Carricitos, Pita Pitos and Los Mamelones.

Nowadays, the public follows the elimination phases and the final of the murgas with great interest and enthusiasm. The sharpness of the lyrics, the open criticism and the puns ensure that the public is engaged and identifies with the murgueros. This, together with the originality and mischievousness of the participants and the colourful costumes, make the Murga contest one of the star events of the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife also chooses its Carnival Queen at the Gala to choose the Carnival Queen on 7 February at the Trade Fair Centre, and crowns a Junior Queen on 28 January and a Senior Queen on 31 January. These are events in which the sparkle of sequins, feathers, colours and textures will amaze you. The enormous structure that surrounds the contestants is impressive and every fantasy seems to come from a fairy tale. The beauty and gracefulness of all of them make it even more difficult to choose your favourite design. That is the aim of the contest, to choose the best representative of the joy and passion of the people of Tenerife for these festivities: the Carnival Queen.

The groups at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival have been growing and perfecting themselves at the same time as the festival. The rhythm and passion of the choreographic festival, the colourful comparsas; the murgas, with their satirical songs and their reed and cardboard instruments; and the rondallas – the oldest and most traditional of the festival – are the stars of Carnival. The Musical Group Contest, the Comparsas Contest and the Rondallas Contest are also held at the Trade Fair Centre, with a large number of participants, a great reflection of the deep musical passion of the people of Tenerife. They are always part of the parade, and are the masters of the street with the unquestionable quality of their live performances, which surprise any carnival-goer on these exciting nights.

In addition to the contests and galas, the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival also has a large number of street events and characters who are now part of the history of the festival. The Opening Parade is another event not to be missed. It is held on 9 February and is the starting signal for the festival in the streets of the capital of Tenerife, with the participation of all the elements of Carnival, from the Queens to the groups, just as happens in the Ritmo y Armonía and the Coso events, where the floats parade on Carnival Tuesday.

If you come to Tenerife, you won’t be able to avoid shedding some tears at the Burial of the Sardine, one of the most striking and well-known celebrations of Carnival, which takes place on Wednesday, 14 February, coinciding this year with Valentine’s Day. This is the carnival goer’s farewell to Don Carnal, where people dress up as widows, apparitions of all kinds and members of the Church to say their final farewell to the corpse of the festivities.

After dancing in the evening, the party continues on Carnival Day, one of the most popular activities held on 11 and 17 February. Many families in costumes visit the stages scattered around the city where music plays to the rhythm of the hordes of carnival-goers. And, of course, we can’t forget the street party. This starts on 9 February and doesn’t end until the 18th. Thousands of people arrive in Santa Cruz and, after enjoying the parade, the starting signal for the party in the streets of the capital of Tenerife, they set off to dance around the capital. There will be music and lots of fun on Friday 9, Saturday 10, Sunday 11, Monday 12, Wednesday 14, Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 February: these will be the days of partying and dancing in Santa Cruz!

If you’re planning to visit Santa Cruz de Tenerife during Carnival, be sure to check out the full Carnival agenda – don’t miss the chance to enjoy one of the most famous carnivals in the world!

Costumes all over the island

Discover Tenerife Carnival beyond Santa Cruz! The island has a large number of municipalities that celebrate their own versions of Carnival. Find out the dates of all the municipalities in our agenda. Here are just a few of them:

Güímar: This municipality in the south of the island also celebrates its own carnival with a very unique event: Las Burras. This tradition consists of a theatrical performance in which the participants dress up as donkeys and parade through the streets of the municipality.

Puerto de la Cruz: The typical Carnival events such as costumed street dances, galas, parades, the coso apoteosis and the burial of the sardine are also celebrated in Puerto de la Cruz. More original events are the vintage car rally, the drag gala, the election of the Carnival King or the Mascarita ponte tacón race.

Tacoronte: The Tacoronte Carnival, known as “Piñata Chica”, is held the weekend after Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival. Its main peculiarities are the events for children and the traditional vintage car parade through the streets of the municipality, located in the north of the island.

Candelaria: The municipality of Candelaria, located on the southern side of the island, has its own Carnival celebration. The festivities begin a week before Ash Wednesday and last until the following weekend. During Carnival, there are parades, costume contests and musical performances.

Los Gigantes: The town of Los Gigantes, located in Santiago del Teide, celebrates its own carnival a week after the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival. Most of the events take place in the Plaza de La Buganvilla, right in the centre of the town.

Los Cristianos: Playa de los Cristianos, one of the main tourist areas of the island, also celebrates its own carnival a week after the festivities in the capital of Tenerife. As usual, the streets of the municipality host the election of the Carnival Queen, the first event in a full and attractive Carnival programme.

*Person from Santa Cruz de Tenerife

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