About the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the second largest carnival in the world after Rio de Janeiro, I heard long before I got to Tenerife. I knew that in February, for two weeks, the capital of the island was full of tourists and locals, music, parties and parades, and the period in which it unfolds has no fixed dates. This year, the carnival took place between February 7 and 18. So, if we go all the way to the Eternal Spring Island, let’s go to the carnival !!! From home I have a plan to get to Santa Cruz on the day of the parade, because all the madness on the streets is happening then.
How to get to Santa Cruz
To get to Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife Island, you have two airports: Tenerife South (Reina Sofia) and Tenerife Nord (Rodeos), the latter located close to the city of Santa Cruz. From Bucharest there is a direct flight operated by Wizzair, and the plane landed on Tenerife South Airport. From here you can rent a car to go to the capital of the island. If you do not opt for a direct or your flight is from another country, you can find flights to bring you directly to Santa Cruz.
We landed in Tenerife South the day before. After a splendid evening we spent in Guimar, which I wrote about here, we headed to the capital of Tenerife after midday. We had some preliminary calculations that if one million tourists from all over the world come to the carnival every year, plus the island’s inhabitants and associated cars, it will be quite difficult for us to travel through the city and it is very complicated to find a parking place. So, with wisdom, we entered the city and we roam around the tail for about two hours. We messed up other cars and we messed us up, we got on the tram line and we blocked it too, not just us, all those who tried to get to the area nearest to the port, the place where the parade would take place. We did not want to get right into the middle of the event, but what do you do if the hotel where you have to stay is fixed by the harbor? Streets closed, deviated traffic, a GPS that does not want to show us an alternative to all this madness and, to make it easier to carry, the streets are filled with colorful, joyful people, sausages, wigs in all colors on the ground, with bushy and colorful dresses, horns on the head or face masks.
It was a total show that we admired from the car trying to find a street that would take us closer to the Horizonte Hotel, just 5 minutes’ walk from the harbor. The more time I spent searching for a parking space, the narrow and small streets were getting louder. After many minutes of nerves stretched to the maximum, I found a rather small space and was beyond the line that delineates the parking area to the one where the parking is forbidden. Who cared if we were fined? In addition, we thought that the atmosphere in the city captivates everyone equally and no one will have time to check the limits of the parking lots 🙂
We almost ran with the luggage at the reception, because we did not want to lose time useless, we paid 73 euros, the price for one night, we dropped the luggage in the room, an eye on the window to see if the car was okay and in a few moments, we mingled with cartoon characters, phosphorescent masks and feathers.
How the Santa Cruz Carnival unfolds
Many years ago, the inhabitants celebrated the last day before the beginning of the lent with tables full of food, with their family and friends. Over time, the manifestation of their joy has passed the threshold of houses and has penetrated the streets, where more and more locals have gathered together, and now it has spread throughout the city and, in fact, in all the Canary Islands, where the same types of manifestations take place, but on a smaller scale. Nowadays, during the two weeks, there are several Carnaval events and, in general, slightly different themes: the official opening with a grand show, choreography competitions, music, the queen of the children and the queen of Carnival .
All these events take place on landscaped scenes, and you must buy a ticket to participate to them. Every year a new theme is chosen, this year the theme chosen by vote was Fantasy. The main events of this year’s Carnival were: the election of the Carnival Queen, the Sardine Funeral and Santa Cruz de Tenerife Parade.
How is the atmosphere during the Parade
The show was great, much more than I expected. For hours we have admired the joy of people coming from all over the world to enjoy with the Spanish people one of the most beautiful carnivals in the world.
Here I re-examined Latin music and I fell in love with it. The atmosphere was indescribable: whole families disguised in different characters in movies, cartoons, babies worn in trolleys or in parents’ arms and dressed in strong colors, young groups with strident makeup and wearing clothes that were weird and interesting, but alsothe people passed by their second youth, for which time seemed to stay in place.
Everyone was singing and dancing for a well-chosen choreography, or wearing up their clothes on the streets around the harbor, but especially on the main street where viewers’ chairs were placed. From time to time, the atmosphere was complemented by the gorgeous allegorics that passed through the crowd and, in the applause of those present, danced and greet the spectators.
Some of the parade participants stopped and sang in front of a group of people and did not go any further without taking dozens of photos with those who wanted it.
The end of the parade took place in great applauses, after which we started climbing to the promenade street, the place to which most of the people were heading. Waves of people came to us quickly, and soon we woke up in the middle of a concert that would last until late at night and where we spent in the most beautiful Latin spirit.
Friends, the Spanish people really know how to have fun and turn the fiesta into a manifestation of friendship, beyond age, sex or country of origin. In those hours of the concert, I had the feeling that all those present, many in number, felt Latin.
Where to eat during the Santa Cruz Carnival Parade
Wherever you see an arranged place and where food is served. Along the street where the parade passed, there were tantas of fast food, but also there were different traditional Spanish dishes. You could hardly find a free place, and if you managed to get close to one, you had to keep it with your teeth 🙂
Very entertaining music, beer that flowed through all the pores, some smells that reminded Amsterdam :-), people youcould not guess their age and who danced in modern rhythms and with appropriate moves, all of this kept us to the concert until late . We only had short breaks to fill the beer glasses and eat the best Hot Dog for 1.5 Euro at one of the many stalls serving such dishes.
We talked and hugged the people we saw for the first tim e, and from a group of Spanish peoples we received two Captain Morgan hats, and we were longing f them since we arrived in Santa Cruz. Thank youuuu!!! 🙂
Still walking around, we had a pleasant surprise to see near the sidewalk a very nice exhibition of paintings. When I looked more closely I saw the name on a tablet, and the author was a Romanian, Eduard Stoica, a sculptor and painter settled in Tenerife for a while. He had a few sensational works, congratulations Eduard Stoica!
The moment we had to go to the hotel, it collapsed all around me, and I could hardly get 10 minutes of dancing along with those beautiful “crazy people”. I would have stayed there until morning, and I am not a small hours party girl but at the first hour we had to board the ferry that was going to take us to another Canary island 🙂 I left almost weeping and I promised that I will come back. I really enjoyed being among those who attended some of the events dedicated to this carnival. If you are considering spending a few days in Tenerife, and these days are in February, my advice is to go to Carnival. It’s impressive, and the words are almost superfluous.
Until next time, when I will take you for a ride with the ferry and go to another magical island of Canary, I hug you and I leave you with more photos here.