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The Guide & Schedule for Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020

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Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

This is not so well known but the capital of Tenerife, the biggest island in the whole Canaries, holds the second biggest carnival in the world. It is no surprise that Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a twinned city with Rio de Janeiro – the host of the biggest carnival in the world – Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. Throughout the years with the growing tourism, the popularity of the event only grew.

In 1987 more than 250,000 gathered for the performance of Celia Cruz during the Carnival and it was registered by World Guinness Book Records as the biggest people gathering in an outdoor plaza to date. Though it was not acknowledged the same institution, it is well recognized that more than 400,000 people gathered during Day Carnival in 2019.

Every Queen of Carnival is more beautiful than the others. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

A Brief History of Carnival in Spain

The celebration of the carnival been in Canary Islands since the arrival of Europeans. Though considered to be a Christian event, it could be a continuation of some kind of pagan tradition to celebrate the return of light.

Today it is the biggest annual event held in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but not everybody all the time liked the idea of carnival and wearing masks. Throughout history, there were several attempts to ban masks or the carnival itself. Despite all the attempts the celebrations persisted. Together with Cadiz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife continued to celebrate the carnival even during Franco regime when the event was banned, probably due to pagan origins. The resilience of people might be the reason why Santa Cruz de Tenerife hosts such a big carnival these days.

One thing is for sure – Spaniards know how to celebrate & party. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Where to stay?

I’ve been to Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife only for The Grand Parade day but from what I saw – it left me with the impression that the city is partying for the whole duration of the Carnival. So, it depends on what you are after for but if fun is the goal – the closer to the city center – the closer to the action. If you are interested only in the parade part of the carnival – anywhere would do. Just have in mind that you’ll have to get there somehow. TITSA transportation company will have an increased number of buses operating, depending on the crowds.

Recommended locations: Plaza de España, Plaza Principe de Asturias, Plaza de la Candelaria, Fountain Square Weyler or anywhere else in Santa Cruz de Tenerife for quieter nights.

Staying close to the city center will make you feel like a part of the carnival even when at home. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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Santa Cruz Carnival Details

Carnival Map

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2020 Schedule

In 2019 when I was visiting Santa Cruz de Tenerife for the event I found it quite difficult to find relevant information except in Spanish. The schedule and location information are taken from the official carnival website(find the reference at the end of the article) and translated to English. Also, I added Google Maps directions to all the locations the event is taking place. I hope you find this useful because it was exactly what I needed the last year.

Week 1

Friday Feb 21


Saturday Feb 22


Sunday Feb 23

Though it is hard to take a picture of orchestra performances, they are as much impressive as the Queens of Carnival. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Week 2

Monday Feb 24


Tuesday Feb 25

During the Grand Parade of the Carnival you can see all of the Queen of Carnival finalists. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Wednesday Feb 26


Thursday Feb 27


Friday Feb 28

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Saturday Feb 29


Sunday March 1

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the second biggest in the whole world. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

References & Useful Links

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