Carnival Time on Tenerife is a Dream

Mon, February 20th, 2012 - By Jack Montgomery

Carnival on Tenerife is THE biggest event of the year. Apart from being wild, wacky and wonderful, carnival also illustrates why Tenerife offers visitors with differing tastes an unbeatable range of  holiday experiences.

Although there are all sorts of competitions in the weeks leading up to carnival in Santa Cruz, it really starts in earnest with the Gala for the Election of the Carnival Queen. This year that took place on Wednesday 15th February. I went along to a sold-out Recinta Ferial where the mainly Canarian audience clapped and stamped and laughed through a show that lasted from 9.30pm till the Carnival Queen for 2012 was crowned at 1.30am.

 

 

Apart from it being a showcase for the most fantastical costumes worn by 12 carnival queen potentials, there are dance groups, pop stars and carnival bands. It’s a full blown variety show.

But what everyone really wants to see are the girls and their costumes and as always, the 2012 costumes had the audience oohing and aahing with their extravagant beauty. Ironically, whilst the girls stand in the centre of huge, house-sized costumes, their actual clothing can consist of a few strategically placed jewels). This year’s winner was the lovely Carmen Gil González in a costume inspired by Ancient Rome.

Two days later I was back in Santa Cruz for the carnival opening parade which is a sign for the party in the streets to begin. The roads leading into the town were gridlocked with cars as 100,000+ people converged for the start of the biggest party of the year and a procession of dance groups, murga bands, people in fancy dress, men in drag and carnival queens and dames including third age and infant queens. With a funfair lining the Santa Cruz promenade, streets decorated with carnival lights and every bar teeming with revellers wearing all sorts of odd outfits – it’s freaky to see Homer Simpson, Barbie and Jack Sparrow at the same table – the city had completely given itself over to the carnival gods.

 

 

The bizarre scenes around me were made all the freakier by the fact that a few hours earlier I had visited Playa de la Arena and Los Gigantes before walking in the hills above Santiago del Teide. Los Gigantes had been the perfect image of a holiday postcard; a stunning location beneath the cliffs, blue skies and everyone in T-shirts and shorts enjoying the warm, winter sunshine.
There wasn’t the slightest evidence that the scene at the other end of Tenerife was like a mix of Alice in Wonderland, Willie Wonka and Rio de Janeiro.

 

 

This is what you get with a holiday on Tenerife – a number of diverse destinations all located on one relatively small island. Carnival shows extremes of contrast at their widest. Moving from the tranquil holiday resort of Los Gigantes to the deliciously manic capital city Santa Cruz in the same day was like being in the movie Inception.

The question is though, which was the dream and which was reality?

Carnival in Santa Cruz continues until 26th February and after that the resorts of Los Gigantes and Los Cristianos get to have their slice of the carnival fun.

Posted : Monday, February 20th, 2012 at 10:18 am
Category : festivals & carnivals
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2 Responses to “Carnival Time on Tenerife is a Dream”

  1. […] Designers usually come up with the inspiration for the costume which is then agreed with the sponsors. Next comes the all-important selection of the candidates. These are the most hotly contested jobs on Tenerife and thousands upon thousands of girls apply every year for the chance to wear the costume and a shot at fulfilling their fairytale dream – to be Queen of the carnival on Tenerife. […]

  2. […] busy time in resorts even though in traditional towns residents are recovering from the excesses of carnival. Days are warm but nights are still cool, so don’t forget to pack a light […]

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