Four essential tips for getting into the swing of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival

Visitors can easily obtain the festival programme, find a suitable costume, get around by public transport and mix with the locals in restaurants

 
 
 
 

From 15th February to 10th March Las Palmas de Gran Canaria holds its largest popular festival: the Carnival, which in 2019 is dedicated to the theme A Night in Rio, as a tribute to the famous celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. Travellers who are in the city between those dates can enjoy the unique atmosphere of the festival in Vegueta and in the Parque de Santa Catalina and its surroundings, the prime places to experience the Carnival, and can even join in the festivities in an open, cosmopolitan city well used to visitors. How? Here are some basic suggestions for keeping informed about the Carnival.

How to find out the programme in detail

The first step is to find out how the festival unfolds. The official website of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival, wwww.lpacarnaval.com, provides up-to-date information on the events taking place and a programme which can be consulted in Spanish and English. All you need is a mobile device with an Internet connection to find out the key dates in the schedule.

The first weekend includes the opening speech (pregón), at 8.30 pm on Friday 15th February, with a Carnival musical parade (pasacalles) in the area around the Plaza de Santa Ana, in the old quarter of Vegueta, culminating in a concert. On Saturday 16th the events begin in the spectacular setting of the Parque de Santa Catalina, with the competition for children’s groups at 7.00 pm; entry is free. This is the focal point of the Carnival competitions. On Sunday 17th there is more family entertainment in Santa Catalina, with the festival of children’s costumes at 11.00 am, and the Grand Dame Gala, at 8.00 pm, where the first Carnival costume designs are displayed. It’s well worth seeing (entry is free).

How to join in: costumes

Every year the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival is dedicated to a specific theme. In 2019 it is A Night in Rio: Brazilian motifs, headdresses, hats and more elaborate costumes can be found in the city’s large department stores and shopping streets, from Mesa y López to Triana. Las Palmas throws itself wholeheartedly into the Carnival and there is no lack of places to find a costume or accessories. And this year, if they refer to the Rio Carnival, all the better.

How to get around

The city offers an extensive public transport network with the Guaguas Municipales bus company, which covers journeys between the two poles of the city, Vegueta and the Port (the area in which Santa Catalina is located), with routes that include 12, 17 and 1; visitors can pay the driver directly, at a fare of €1.40, or buy a bus pass (bono de guagua) at newsagents or at the Guaguas Municipales points of sale in the Parque de Santa Catalina and the Teatro Pérez Galdós area. You can also get around by bike, with the public bicycle hire service, Sitycleta. Or by taxi. In addition, visitors can take a tour on the City Sightseeing bus, with its main stop in Santa Catalina.

Where to eat

Both Vegueta and the Santa Catalina and Las Canteras area are full of eating places frequented by the locals. On festival nights the Carnival refreshment stands provide quicker solutions. Bear in mind that in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as an urban destination, there do not tend to be places specifically for tourists: the natives mix freely with visitors in bars and restaurants.