Under the motto “Chicharrero chicharrero de corazón salta a la calle y dale al tambor que el Carnaval ya llegó…. Eo-eo…”, meaning “Chicharrero (the demonym of the inhabitants of Santa Cruz) Carnival has arrived, go outside and play the drum”, thousands of tinerfeños get together to celebrate the island’s most popular festivity of the year, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, officially declared Tourist Festival of International Interest in 1980.

What’s the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife? Who are the protagonists and when does the most anticipated event of the island take place?

According to historical written records, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a masks dance festivity originated in Spain and Portugal, which has been celebrated in Tenerife’s capital since the middle of the 16th century. Despite the ecclesiastical authority prohibitions and the restrictions during the Francoist Spain, where the event was known as Winter Festival, the Carnival has become the emblem of the city of Santa Cruz and one of the world’s most popular carnival, the second after the one held in Rio de Janeiro. 

The most appealing part of the Carnival is, no doubt, its protagonists. On the one hand, there is the official Carnival, consisting of more than a hundred groups, including murgas, comparsas, fancy dress groups, rondallas and other groups. And on the other hand, there are thousands of people, who go out into the street day after day for more than a week. They go out to dance and enjoy the atmosphere and the spirit of festivity.

It’s so much so that in 1987, the performance of the famous Celia Cruz, attended by more than 250,000 people, was registered in the Guiness Book of Records as the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza to attend a concert. This record remains unbeaten till today.

tenerife carnival 2017

a unique carnival

What is the reason for the great success of the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife?

  • First of all, as we mentioned before, because of the massive attendance and the different and incredibly clever fancy dresses you get to see. No one goes out without a carnival wig or without glitter all over their face. Fantasy is itself the life of the party.
  • Also because you feel so safe. Carnival is a peaceful event, which is meant to be enjoyed by people all ages and where harmless jokes are respected by everyone.
  • And last but not least, because of the weather. Don’t forget that being outside on a t-shirt and shorts at this time of the year would be impossible somewhere else in Europe. Though it might rain, the temperature in Tenerife allows you to enjoy the Carnival outdoors into the wee hours.

So why don’t you join the party? Find below a short list of this year’s events at the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which you can either attend or watch on TV.


the must do’s at the carnival of santa cruz de tenerife 2017

Friday, 26th January 2018


Schedule: 20:30pm
Location: Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos (tickets sell out quickly)
Live on TV: it is generally broadcast live on Televisión Canaria 

Wednesday, 7th February 2018


Schedule: 20:30pm
Location: Centro Internacional de Ferias y Congresos (tickets sell out quickly)
Live on TV: it is generally broadcast live on Televión Canaria

The Murgas are popular groups of the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. They perform and sing lyrics with a lot of humor and criticism. The Murgas and their irony, satire and double meaning songs are generally the most expected event of the Carnival. Since 1961 they have their own contest.

The Carnival Queen Election is the kick start of the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The candidates walk down the catwalk wearing dresses that weigh over 26 stones until the winner is announced. The Carnival Queen becomes one of the most important celebrities of the season, as she is expected to attend all the official acts during the Carnival.

Friday, 9th February 2018


Schedule: 20:00pm
Location: The parade leaves from Avenida de Bélgica. The party itself takes place on the main streets and plazas of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

This night is very special for all the tinerfeños, who wait impatiently for the party to start. Carnival floats, music groups, unexpected participants and large groups of people wearing group fancy dresses parade to the beat of the music along the streets to escort the Carnival Queen. The party continues and thousands of the Parade spectators become the night protagonists. It’s the perfect time to go out and have fun wearing that fancy dress that caused so much trouble to make or which was drawn up on the fly. The most important thing is to have a good time and enjoy the carnival atmosphere. 

Saturday, 10th February 2018


Schedule: 22:00pm
Location: main streets and plazas of the city of Santa Cruz

Sunday, 11th February 2018


Schedule: 13:00pm
Location: main streets and plazas of the city of Santa Cruz

Monday, 12th February 2018


Schedule: 22:00pm
Location: main streets and plazas of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Carnival Monday is considered to be the strongest of all nights because of its massive attendance. Thousands of people go out and get together around the usual kiosks such as the Orche, Platillo Volante or Plaza Weyler. There are also stages and live music at Plaza de la Candelaria and Plaza del Príncipe. 

Tuesday, 13th February 2018

COSO: CARNIVAL APOTHEOSIS – The most important Carnival parade

Schedule: 11:00 am
Location: The parade leaves from Av. Francisco la Roche and continues along Av. Marítima

Wednesday, 14th February 2018


Schedule: 22:00pm
Location: From Calle Juan Pablo II to Plaza España

The Burial of the Sardine is the most irreverent event of all at Carnival. The “chicharreros” dressed as widows mourn for the sardine and they say good bye to the Carnival until the following year. After a slow but vibrant parade the Sardine arrives to the Avenida Marítima, where it is set ablaze and turned to ashes, taking away the excesses committed during the crazy Carnival. 

Friday, 16th February 2018


Schedule: 18:00pm
Location: García Sanabria Park

The children are the great protagonists of the day. Just as on Tuesday Carnival, thousands of groups and bands parade together with the Child Queen, her court of honor and child murgas, comparsas and other dance groups, which are involved in the Carnival.

Saturday, 17 February 2018


Schedule: from 13:00pm
Location: Main streets and plazas in Santa Cruz de Tenerife

All this and more will be waiting for you if you do decide to join the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We also recommend you not to miss the most original and 100% handcraft fancy dresses that you can see at an extra-official event called “Te lo curraste Mascarita”. For more information, or simply to steal some ideas check their official Facebook page.  

Photos: Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife official website