The Best Fiestas, Festivals and Events on Tenerife in February 2013

February; the unpredictable month on Tenerife in so many ways. Carnival (carnaval here) dominates the northern scene and you never know what’s going to happen with that, plus the weather likes to keep the island on its toes. It’s often the coolest month of the year, most noticeably in the evening – although that doesn’t stop carnaval goers wearing costumes you could throw together with the material from a handkerchief. The chances are it’s going to rain at some point, the unpredictable part is how much and for how long? Plenty of carnaval events have been cancelled or postponed over the years because of stormy weather. If it’s just common or garden rain, people simply dance in the rain. On the other hand, like the start to February this year, it can be warm and dry with daytime temperatures in the low to mid 20s.

It’s one of the busiest months for visitors to Tenerife and a month when the differences between parts of the island can be at their greatest. In northern towns the soundtrack is provided by a thumping Latino beat as the biggest party of the year consumes all (even TV programmes and adverts get in on the action), whilst in the main resorts it can sometimes be a case of ‘carnival, what carnival?’

The best fiestas on Tenerife in February

Carnaval on Tenerife

There’s often some confusion about carnival on Tenerife with the outside world thinking that carnival on Tenerife just means Santa Cruz. It is the biggest by far but there are lots of other carnivals that would be considered flamboyant events by most people’s standards. Puerto de la Cruz comes second in the carnival stakes, attracting revellers from along the north coast. But all the decent sized towns on Tenerife hold their own carnavals. Once the north has had its fun, a couple of places in the south of Tenerife hold their versions. They’re not quite as all consuming or on the same scale, but good fun nonetheless.

The big carnavals tend to fall into two parts, the parades and the street parties. The street parties take place most nights with Monday being a particularly lively night whereas the parades are spread over carnaval week.

Carnival in Santa Cruz (Theme – Bollywood)
Election of Carnival Queen: 6 February, 9.30pm
Cabalgata (opening parade): 8 February, 8pm
Coso Apoteosis (closing parade): 12 February, 4pm
Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine): 13 February, 9pm

Although the carnaval closing parade is on Tuesday 8 February, it really continues until Sunday 17 February – it’s all to do with religion and tradition and there’s no point thinking about it, just throw logic to the wind and enjoy the party.

Carmen Gil González, Santa Cruz Carnival Queen 2012

Carnival in Puerto de la Cruz (Theme – Comics)
Not quite so overwhelming as Santa Cruz – if you can call 35,000 people and packed streets not overwhelming. Puerto’s carnival is a more compact affair, focussing around the harbour and Plaza del Charco area. Most of the ingredients are the same but it does hold at least one ace card in the shape of the High Heels Drag Marathon.

Election of Carnival Queen: 7 February, 9pm
Cabalgata (opening parade): 9 February, 7.30pm
Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine): 13 February, 9.30pm
Mascarita Ponte Tacon (Drag High Heels Marathon): 15 February, 10pm
Coso Apoteosis (closing parade): 16 February, 4pm

Carnival in San Cristobál de La Laguna (Theme – Magic)
Election of Carnival Queen: 10 February
Cabalgata (opening parade): 11February
Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine): 13 February

Carnival in La Orotava (Theme – Magic)
Coso Apoteosis (Grand Parade): 12 February, 4.30pm
Entierro y Quemo de Crispín (Funeral parade and burning of Crispín): 13 February, 9pm

Macaw Dancer at Cabalgata, Santa Cruz Carnaval Opening Parade

Carnival in Los Realejos (Theme – Tiempos de Viera)
Election of Carnival Queen: 8 February, 8.30pm
Entierro de Señor Rascayú (Burial of Señor Rascaayú): 13 February, 9.30pm
Coso de Carnaval (main parade): 11 February, 5pm

Carnival in Tacoronte (Piñata Chica)
Main Carnava Day: 8 February, 8.30pm
Coso Apoteosis (main parade): 24 February, 4pm
Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine): 25 February, 9pm

Carnival in Guímar
Las Burras de Güímar: 15 February, 9pm

Johnny Depp lookalike at Santa Cruz Carnival

Carnival in Los Gigantes (Theme – Cinema)
Election of Carnival Queen: 20 February
Live bands: 21 February
Fiesta Blanca: 23 February
Coso (main parade): 24 February
Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine): 25 February

Carnival in Los Cristianos (Theme – Brazil)
Cabalgata (opening parade): 2 March, 7.30pm
Election of Carnival Queen: 7 March, 9pm
Coso (main parade): 10 March, 5pm
Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine): 11 March, 8pm

There are other events on around Tenerife in February but with carnival involving exhibitions, live concerts (Latino, rock, DJ), parades, food stalls, all night street parties and all sorts of weird events from killing snakes (not real ones) to witches dancing naked around a town plaza (bet there are some people that will be Googling that one), they all play second fiddle to the best party of the year.

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