Carnaval in Tenerife 2013

Update 2 April: Saida Prieto, the carnaval queen contestant who was badly burnt when her gown caught fire is coming back to Tenerife this Friday. She has been in the burns unit of the Hospital Virgen del Rocío de Sevilla since 7 February, where she is said to have made considerable improvement in her recovery over the last week. On her return, she will be admitted to the University Hospital to continue her treatment.

Update 13 February: Saida is now fully conscious, is aware of what happened to her, knows where she is, and is eating solid food. She also knows that she has a “critical prognosis”, and the hospital is being extremely cautious and attempting to avoid creating over-optimism. Medics say that her second-degree burns are deep, and that these, together with the third-degree burns she suffered, mean that she will remain for the time being in the Burns Unit in “critical condition”, with a projected recovery of several months.

Update 11 February: There is still such a long way to go, but there is excellent news this morning that Saida has been able to leave the intensive care unit in Seville to go to a ward in the burns unit. Yesterday, she could breathe unaided. Today she’s on the ward. A long way to go, but little steps …

Update 10 February: Although Saida remains gravely ill and in intensive care, the hospital has been able to remove her from the life support which was enabling her to breath mechanically. There will be a fuller medical bulletin from the hospital tomorrow, but this seems like some very much hoped for good news.

Update 9 February: The hospital has said that Saida Prieto remains in critical condition and on life support, but is stable, and in a situation that allows her parents to be slightly calmer and more hopeful. They can visit Saida twice a day, for 45 minutes a time, at 8.15am and 6.30pm. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz Ayuntamiento, represented by Mayor Bermúdez in person, has taken a three-month let on an apartment in Seville for the family’s immediate use. Saida’s recovery, however, is said to be likely to be a very slow process.

Update 11pm: The Ayuntamiento has announced that official carnaval events for tomorrow, Saturday, will take place as planned. The decision has been taken after consultation with, and the blessing of, Saida’s family.

Update 8 February: Better news this morning. Saida has been evaluated and undergone an hour and a half’s operation in the Hospital Virgen del Rocío de Sevilla and is in a critical but stable condition. Doctors at the hospital say that she is well hydrated and responsive, though her prognosis is reserved while she is observed over the next few days. Seville has calculated that the burns cover 40% of her body, as initially estimated at HUC, but although less than later estimates, these are unfortunately more severe, being third degree burns. None the less, this morning’s news looks more positive than we could have hoped by the end of yesterday.

Update 7pm: Saida’s burns now confirmed as 1st and 2nd degree on 65% of her body. It is far more serious than we even feared. Tomorrow’s parade has been cancelled, along with all planned dances. The following days’ events will be decided tomorrow.

Update 5pm: Interview HERE (sorry in Spanish only) with the presenter of the carnival queen gala … who was told to string it out, carry on as normal, and just say there was a technical problem with one candidate.

Update 4pm: Saida has begun her transfer to Seville, with hospital sources saying that she has actually suffered burns to more than 50% of her body. Doctor José Luis Iribarren, transplant coordinator in HUC is organizing the transfer along with 112/emergency services.  At present, Saida’s ambulance has just arrived at TFN and she is expected to arrive in Seville between 6 and 7pm. As expected, the ambulance covered the distance between the hospital and TFN at full speed with a police escort. Our thoughts and very best wishes go with her.

Update 2pm: Saida is indeed being transferred to the specialist burns unit of the Hospital Virgen del Rocío in Seville. Santa Cruz  mayor Bermúdez abandoned a press conference earlier and appears to be intending to travel with her. A police escort has been arranged for the ambulance convoy. The transfer is expected to take place within a couple of hours. This is, sadly, looking very serious. Carnaval has been suspended for today, and tomorrow’s parade is said to be uncertain.

Update 1pm: Above is an horrendous image of Saida’s costume as it was burning. This is what she was engulfed and trapped in when someone decided the show must go on.

Update 7 February: There was nearly a tragedy in the Santa Cruz carnaval last evening when one of the elaborate dresses, called fantasies, caught fire. It appears to have been connected with the following fantasy’s use of either of a flare, or a dry ice mechanism, either way intended to create a smoky atmosphere. Saida Prieto, who was wearing the costume, was rushed to HUC where she needed an emergency three hour operation for her injuries.

Subsequent reports from the hospital suggest that her injuries were even worse than at first thought, that she has suffered burns to 40% of her body, and that at least at one point she could not breathe unaided. She is now said, mercifully, to be out of danger, though is being kept in for observation for 48 hours and it is still possible that she will need to be transferred to a burns unit in Seville. Apparently the two designers of her costume, evidently on hand for final adjustments, were also injured.

There is some degree of outcry today over the use, and authorization for use,  of flares and the like in such proximity to the vast quantities of inflammable fabric and materials routinely used in the creations of these gowns. There is also some criticism that the organizers decided to continue with the gala given the severity of Sra Prieto’s injuries; ultimately, anyway, Soraya Rodríguez Castro was selected as Reina del Carnaval de Santa Cruz de Tenerife 2013. She was wearing the fantasy Volare.

Update 6 February: Titsa has published a list of all its special carnaval bus services, perhaps all the more important this year given the threatened tram strike. The list is above, please click HERE for a full size pdf version.

The Santa Cruz carnaval is upon us again, and this year the theme is Bollywood. Tenerife’s capital’s carnival isn’t just the largest in Tenerife, it is widely considered to be the second largest in the world, with only the world-famous Rio de Janeiro Carnaval bigger. Although the most famous elements of the festival are the carnival queen and the fancy dress parades, events actually take place over a month, and it all starts today with the murgas competitions: see my post from last year HERE to get a taste of what it’s like. The official carnaval site is HERE, and the programme of events is HERE.

The two other Carnavals of great local interest are in Los Cristianos and Puerto de la Cruz. This year, the Los Cristianos Carnaval is between 1 and 11 March (details and programme on Arona’s website HERE), and the Puerto de la Cruz one is between 3 and 24 February (see HERE). There is more information on these and other Carnaval events throughout the Canaries from the official Canary Islands Tourism site HERE.



  1. Quisiera saber mas acerca del carnaval en tenerifes. Espero ir este ano.

  2. Janet, are this week´s Carnaval parades going to be affected by any bus strikes ?
    I can find very little information on effect on Transport from PDLA to Santa Cruz during this week´s activities?

  3. Author

    It’s all up in the air, John, as far as I can see, but Titsa is saying buses will be running and that there’ll be a full service … and taking up the slack too from the tram strike, which I understand is still on. You spurred me to check out the Titsa website again, and there is now a full services leaflet, which I’ve posted above.

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