Arrecife Carnival’s Thousand Lives
A way of disappearing from the world and rediscovering it from the other side of a mask
During the Arrecife Carnival, a feeling of freedom takes hold of those who let themselves be rocked by the music of the comparsas and verbenas, as well as by the joy of the murgas and parades. February is the time to participate in this healthy mix of expressions in a party as spectacular, welcoming and safe as the island of Lanzarote itself: do you recognize anyone behind the masks?
Carnival at 20 degrees
Undoubtedly, the main advantage of the Arrecife Carnival is the spring-like weather that accompanies this winter festival par excellence. It is encouraging to know that outside on the street the temperature won’t drop below twenty degrees at any time of the day or night, which opens up almost infinite costume options. Banish the furry teddy bear suits and choose your outfit without fear of the cold. Just remember that at any moment you might want to take a dip in the urban beach of El Reducto.
Scenic and safe environment
The spectacular Arrecife marina frames the festivities between the Atlantic horizon and the city’s monuments. The participants in the street parties, the Entierro de la Sardina (Burial of the Sardine) or the Daytime Carnival share space with the Castillo de San Gabriel, the Puente de las Bolas and the Muelle de la Cebolla. Although these architectural gems blend into the festive landscape, don’t miss the opportunity to take a look at them up close.
The carnival celebrations come to revolutionise the peaceful daily life of the people of Lanzarote, whose DNA is packed with artistic creativity. The locals themselves are the protagonists of this immense spectacle on which costume designers, musicians, lyricists, dancers and stage designers work for months. The “murgas” competition and the Carnival Queen and Drag Queen galas are the best showcases for this facet of local culture.
Manrique’s El Almacén
The Lanzarote genius César Manrique has also left his mark on the carnival period as the driving force behind the El Almacén cultural centre, a cultural laboratory that since its creation in the 1970s has become the heart of the celebrations. If you want to experience carnival as we do in Lanzarote, it’s essential to drop by the centre’s legendary bar, housed in its cinema, which hosts a rogue cabaret show every year, or visit the “ventorrillos” (beach bars) in the adjoining square, next to one of the street stages.
Carnival – port, family and gastronomy
And if you’re travelling with children, the Arrecife carnival is perfect for enjoying the gentler side of the festival. The programme of events is packed with family events, such as the galas for choosing the children’s queen and, among the daytime events, the Carnaval Porteño. On Carnival Saturday, the Avenida Marítima, and in general the whole of the old town, is alive with masked people. The performances, with no shortage of Latin rhythms, go on all day long and there is also the Fiesta de la tapa, a gastronomic experience offering tapas at an unbeatable price, which will help to recharge your batteries.
The oldest in the Canary Islands
Arrecife’s Carnival is the oldest in the Canary Islands and it shows this by preserving centuries-old traditions. One of the most eagerly awaited each year is the parade of Los Buches, the seafaring groups that go through the streets with their timples, requintos and accordions, startling anyone who crosses their path with a blow from their buche (an inflated tanned fish bladder). The Buches, a vestige of the nineteenth-century port city version of Arrecife, are one of the unique identifying symbols of this carnival, today imbued with diverse international cultures.
An immersive and safe experience
We’re delighted to invite you to our carnival – original and proportionate to the size of the island’s capital, far from crowds and completely safe. Dare to put on a costume, anything will do, take to the streets, day or night, join in the party, dance until dawn to the comparsas and batucadas, experience the thousand lives of the oldest carnival in the Canary Islands and then go back to your daily life with a secret you won’t want to share: joining in as just another masked character in Arrecife.