Some may think Maspalomas is the only beach resort where the entirety of the carnival is held, but that’s not exactly true. Still, there’s no better way to enjoy the sun, beaches and the wildest parties in a single place, plus the weather in the south of Gran Canaria is among the best in Europe… Simply put, this carnival is a match made in heaven.
The island is one of the most important tourist resorts in Spain, and it is precisely because of the famous Maspalomas Carnival. This event is one the most extravagant and unique of the many traditions of this destination in Gran Canaria, Spain.
Here we’ll get to know everything about this fantastic celebration, which is not only organized and supported by the locals, but has also garnered worldwide recognition as one of the most important carnivals in Spain.
When is the Maspalomas Carnival?
In 2021 Maspalomas Carnival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Where is the Maspalomas Carnival?
Maspalomas is located in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, specifically in the south of Gran Canaria, Spain. One of the highlights of going to the Maspalomas Carnival is its weather, welcoming visitors at a warm atmosphere of 22º C.
While much of Europe has a winter weather during these dates, Maspalomas has a very pleasant and perfect beach-like climate, making this Carnival an ideal option for those who prefer the warmth of summer with little to no rain.
What is the Maspalomas Carnival?
The Canary Islands are known for the many holidays and festivities that, during Carnival season, bring out everything that Maspalomas and its inhabitants have to offer. Maspalomas Carnival is actually the second most important festivity on the entire island, but its many and diverse activities are what make it unique.
Parties, dances, costumes, parades, music and the ever-present floats, are the main attractions that stand out in the Maspalomas Carnival. However, there is more behind this important celebration. Let’s find out how this carnival is celebrated in Maspalomas.
How is the Maspalomas Carnival celebrated?
Most of the Maspalomas Carnival celebration takes place in Playa del Inglés (“The Englishman’s Beach”), one of the most important tourist spots on the island. In the Yumbo Shopping Center, visitors can find many activities planned for the entire year, including the Drag Gala and the Carnival Queen Gala, among others.
- Drag Queen Gala: A large number of drag queens from all over the island perform wearing the most extravagant Carnival costumes, showcasing different choreographies to entertain the public in the much-awaited gala.
- Carnival by day: Every year, between the end of February and mid-March, Maspalomas Costa Canaria is covered in a thousand colors to celebrate the Carnival. For almost a week, rondallas (a strings ensemble), murgas (musical theatre performances) and troupes take streets of the town, leaving in their wake a unique party atmosphere.
- Parades: Float and costume contests are featured, where visitors get to see the effort each participant has put into their work, every single one prepared to reach the hearts of the public. This activity highlights the creativity of the artists involved and is one of the most iconic moments of the Carnival.
- The Rescue of the Sardine: This one is a humorous event that also involves acting. In it, a group of ‘doctors’ carry a dying sardine across the beach.
- The Burial of the Sardine: To honor the fallen Sardine, comedic readings are made about the Sardine’s will (testament), which is accompanied by different festivities on the last day of Carnival.
Origins of the Maspalomas Carnival
The Maspalomas Carnival is one of the oldest celebrations, bringing people together for more than four centuries and establishing itself over the years as a priceless tradition for the citizens of this island. In its beginnings, during the 11th century, the Carnival was a pagan festival, which later became part of the Catholic Church holidays.
Back then, the celebration was a way to prepare for the season of Lent and the Lenten sacrifice. This modification would lead to the introduction of galas to choose the Queen of the Carnival, as well as the Queen of the Children’s Carnival.
One of the most important events behind the Maspalomas Carnival occurred in the 1970s, when the death of Franco and his regime in 1975 put an end to 40 years of repression, so festivities could be held once again in the streets. In the 1980s, the celebration would grow spectacularly, laying the foundations for the Carnival we know today.
New traditions, such as the well-known mogollones (large improvised parties) were introduced, while the parade also became more elaborate. In 1986, the first Miss Travestikarnatival Election Gala would be held, known today as the famous Drag Gala.
The Maspalomas Carnival reached its peak in the 1990s, transforming into this modern and large celebration. Its main events –Parades, Mogollones, Galas– are recognized as traditions of great cultural importance in this town. In 2017, this celebration was declared a National Tourist Interest.
Maspalomas Carnival 2021 schedule
DUE TO THE PANDEMIC, THE SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND/OR CANCELLATION.
How to get to Maspalomas?
As home of one of the most important carnivals in the Canary Islands, there are three options to travel to Maspalomas for Carnival season:
- Flying to the island: keep in mind that this island can be reached by air or sea. One option is the Gran Canaria Airport, for which many airlines offer flights to the destination. There are no airports in Maspalomas, so the only air route to the island is through said airport.
- Traveling by sea: arriving by sea to the island is also possible, for which there are different sea transport options. Tourists visiting Maspalomas for the first time may want to make the most of this trip and take a ferry to enjoy the view.
- Traveling by road: Once in Gran Canaria, visitors can choose between many options to go to Maspalomas. At the Gran Canaria Airport, you can choose from more than 7 taxi and bus companies available and select the one more suited to your needs. Another option for traveling is to rent a car.
Book your Hotel and Flight for the Maspalomas Carnival
Where to stay in Maspalomas?
Maspalomas has a wide range of hotels available for all visitors, who will be able to enjoy this wonderful Carnival from beginning to end without having to worry about the stay.
With more than 100 hotels across the island, visitors can browse prices for all categories: from prestigious and luxurious hotels to budget-friendly accommodations that suit their needs and preferences. Some of the options that stand out are:
- Hotel Riu Palace Meloneras.
- SeaSide Sandy Beach.
- Occidental Margaritas.
- HD Parque Cristóbal Gran Canaria.
- Hotel Riu Papayas.
What to do and see in Maspalomas Carnival?
There are many events and festivities to enjoy during the Maspalomas Carnival, but you may also want to check some of the local activities that the island has to offer:
- Playa del Inglés: a beach where most of the Carnival events take place, but you can also enjoy an unforgettable paradisiacal experience, especially because of the Maspalomas weather, known for being warm in Carnival season.
- Music festivals: many concerts are held during the Maspalomas Carnival, both with local bands and international artists, including a great number of DJs who take part in planning these events.
- Ecumenical Temple: this is an architectural work of religious activities that opens its doors to the public at night, allowing visitors to discover the premises and respective rituals and ceremonies.
- Águila Roja Shopping Center: Here you can visit and shop in a variety of stores of Maspalomas. Different departments can be found in its levels, which include food areas, clothing, technology, etc.
Is it a safe city?
A welcoming experience awaits all visitors to this town, which has also been recognized for its safety ratings. Visiting this destination is completely safe for all travelers and there are no safety concerns to worry about.
What to eat in Maspalomas?
The culinary experiences that you can enjoy in Maspalomas are another great reason to visit this destination. Visitors will find an ample selection of both local and international options to try. Some of the typical dishes are:
- Grilled cheese with mojo: a semi-cured cheese slice cooked until a crust is formed and topped with a local green mojo (sauce) that you’ll enjoy from the first bite.
- Black pork: a dish that not only stands out for being made with this pig breed typical of the island, but also for its preparation, which involves traditional marinades that can only be found in traditional Canarian recipes.
- Lapas (limpets): a local dish that seafood lovers will certainly enjoy. Basically, lapas are snails grilled with green mojo, offering a juicy and tasty bite right from the start.