By typing in Google, Tenerife Carnival 2021, you will see the message, CANCELED. This is not a big surprise considering the still present global pandemic. However, this does not mean that the Tenerife Carnival has been cancelled forever. This time I will tell you what it was like when I attended the Santa Cruz Tenerife Carnival, which is the second-most popular carnival in the world! It is possible, that after reading this post, you will jump into summer clothes, make a fancy cocktail and spin your hips to the rhythm of hot salsa! Vamos a Carnaval!
What does Tenerife look like in the winter? Well, it’s not much different than in summer, except for a slight temperature difference and much fewer tourists. Besides, it is still fabulously green, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping as if there was no tomorrow. There is something else that makes a winter trip to Tenerife a real adventure.
Every year, in February, the capital of Santa Cruz hosts the crazy event called Tenerife Carnival! In fact, it’s the biggest carnival in Europe and the second most popular after Rio de Janeiro, in the world! I have never been to Brazil, but what I saw in Santa Cruz exceeded my wildest expectations!
We go by car from el Sauzal to Santa Cruz. Then, we leave the car far on the outskirts of the city and walk to the centre. Considering the fact that more than 250,000 people are heading in the same direction, every day of the carnival, the only right choice is to go on foot. In the streets we pass cheerful, dressed up people, sipping drinks prepared earlier at home. It is the most economical way for lovers of stronger sensations.
Seeing thousands of people walking towards the city centre, one conclusion comes to mind. There’s no escaping Tenerife Carnival! It is that special time of the year when the whole city becomes liberated and all the brakes are released, of course, everything within reason. When it comes to security, based on my own experience, I can confidently say that there is nothing to be afraid of. During the three days of participating in the carnival, nothing disturbing caught my attention.
I forgot to mention the biggest plus of the Santa Cruz Carnival, admission to most of the events is free! The only exception is the entrance to the Carnival Queen competition or the spectacular opening and closing parade of the Tenerife Carnival. You would need a ticket for these events. It is possible to buy such a ticket on the Internet, but it has to be done well in advance. Paid shows are an official carnival, there is also a second, unofficial part, which takes place in the streets after dark. This is the part that I participate in.
Every day of celebration, the streets are filled with thousands of dressed up people. There is music flowing all over the city, both traditional Spanish and modern electronic, it depends where your legs take you. Different kinds of parades shimmer with colours. Various concerts can be heard from every corner, something different in each street! If you have run out of alcohol, you can buy a drink at the street kiosk. A glass of beer is between € 1 and € 2, a cocktail is around € 4. If you get hungry, there are tons of food kiosks, the most popular being hot dogs, burgers, crisps and sandwiches.
Besides street kiosks, some bars are also open, but who would want to go to a bar when double-decker buses, without roofs, run through the streets! Wild parties on wheels take place on busses. From the bus floor, there is a view of the sea, of amused and dancing people. Lights are blinking around, trees are adorned with glittering lamps, some people look like walking lasers. It’s like being on another planet full of princesses, ninja turtles and knights. A wonderful night full of joy and colour. The celebration seems to be endless because even at 4 am the streets are still teeming with life. There is a rule that it is not proper to come home earlier than 4. In that case, the only thing left to do is dance until you are out of breath!
Tenerife is an island that you can discover endlessly and every time, learn something different and fascinating. I did not mention here the culinary traditions, beautiful black beaches, dragon trees, hidden caves and many more, for which there will be time until the next one!