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Dancing in the street in Tenerife

The Canary Islands are fun at any time of year, but carnival brings to Santa Cruz de Tenerife its own special brand of festivity with spectacular costumed parades and the general chaotic excess and enjoyment typical of a full-blown Spanish fiesta.

The capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is justifiably proud of its annual carnival celebrations, which draw around a million revellers each year to this, the second largest of the Canary Islands. There are dances and parades, concerts and costume competitions, colour, light, music and mayhem. Not for nothing is the city twinned with Rio de Janeiro: with its fine weather and fiesta-loving locals, Santa Cruz offers the closest European equivalent to the Brazilian bacchanal.


Tenerife Carnival
On the Wednesday before carnival weekend, the Carnival Queen is chosen in a gala event broadcast across the country / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
Carnival brings to Santa Cruz de Tenerife its own special brand of festivity 

Tenerife Carnival
Thousands of people take to the street each day during the most important celebration in the Tenerife calendar / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
The Tenerife carnival is considered an international tourist event, and the islanders would like to see it added to the UNESCO lists / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
It's not just an adult celebration – here we see one of the hopefuls for the title of junior Carnival Queen / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
Just about everyone joins in, whether as part of a murga or one of the costumed carnival groups, or simply to cheer on everyone else and enjoy the party / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
One of the stars of the fiesta are the murgas – groups of singers with cardboard instruments who adapt popular songs to make political and social commentary / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
Dance and theatre groups add choreographic charm to the celebrations / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
During the gala when the Carnival Queen is chosen, aspirants to the crown parade on a stage set up in the Plaza de España / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
The enthusiastic participation by both locals and visitors combines with the renowned hospitality of the people of Tenerife – the Tinerfeños – to produce an unforgettable ambience / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
Wheels are needed on the costumes worn by aspirants to the title Queen of the Carnival, as they can weigh between 150 and 200 kilos / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
The Spanish know how to party, and the Chicharreros - another name for the Tenerife locals - are no exception / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
The Santa Cruz carnival is one of the world's top three; in 1987 a concert by Celia Cruz dre an audience of a quarter of a million, a fact that rated a Guinness World Record for the biggest outdoor concert attendance / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
All you need to join the party is a little imagination and the desire to have fun / © Turismo de Tenerife 

Tenerife Carnival
There are competitions for junior murgas, too, so no one is left out / © Turismo de Tenerife 

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