If you have never experienced the Tenerife Carnival before, it's easy to get muddled up with the dates and when is the best time to visit. Here are some important tips for you to bear in mind when preparing your Carnival plan.
Although the Carnival officially starts when the groups (murgas, comparsas and rondallas) begin their contests, the real show kicks off with the Queen's Election Gala. The event is always held on the Wednesday, before Carnival Friday two days later, which is when the fun really begins with the colourful and crazy Announcement Parade. By the time it starts, you really should be on the Island already.
From that night on, the streets in the centre of Santa Cruz come to life with music and costumes. We haven't got the official statistics, but you'll probably find that only one in a thousand – or maybe one person in ten thousand – isn't wearing a costume at the dance parades. So if you want to blend into the crowd, ironically the best thing to do is get yourself a costume, fast!
It's not at all unusual to cross groups of hairy men dressed as cheerleaders, or someone donning a spectacular outfit inspired by a fantasy film. In fact, there are practically as many different costumes as there are people wearing them, and we are talking hundreds of thousands... seriously! Santa Cruz broke the Guinness World Record for the most people dancing outdoors at the same time. It happened in 1987, when the Cuban star of salsa music Celia Cruz got more than 250,000 people shaking their booties in and around the central Plaza de España square.
For almost two weeks while the Carnival lasts, Santa Cruz is invaded by an enthralling mixture of madness and good vibes, which make the pleasant atmosphere at the Carnival one of its signature traits. And this is despite the huge mass of people who get together during nocturnal dance sessions and also at the Daytime Carnival, which you should know is a great time for sharing the fun with the whole family.
El Coso, La Sardina and La Piñata
On Carnival Tuesday, the Gran Coso procession on Avenida de Anaga is the peak of the festivities. This colossal parade attracts attendants in their thousands, including the paraders and the audience.
The night of Ash Wednesday is another key date. You'll find the Sardine Burial to be the most entertaining and jolly funeral ever. To round off this "mournful" event, it ends with an almighty dance parade around the streets of Santa Cruz that goes on until the early hours.
So what next? The following weekend, known as the Piñata weekend, once again transforms the city with the Daytime Carnival and more night-time dancing. However, everything that starts must come to an end, so on Sunday the curtains fall until next year... but only in the capital! The party has barely just begun in other municipalities on the Island, who celebrate their own special carnivals that are equally lively and fun.
Go with the flow and blend in with the crowd
Blending into the carnival atmosphere is easy. All it takes is a costume that you feel good in. You will find everything you need at an affordable price in the local specialised stores, which will be happy to provide you with whatever it takes to turn you into a superhero, a gladiator or a hot nurse, including wigs, accessories and all kinds of flashy make-up.
All you have to do is bring the compulsory dose of enthusiasm and prepare to have a good time. Get ready to put on a fun show by making the very most of the character your costume represents. The idea is to have a good laugh and get others laughing with your feather boa, your over-the-top false eyelashes or your shimmering glittery face. That's all it takes!