Tenerife’s carnival dates back hundreds of years to the island’s earliest European settlement in the late 15th century. The Carnival of Santa Cruz is the second most popular of its kind in the world after the Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil.
The Spanish conquest in 1494 brought with it many things from South America, like animals, produce, traditions and of course, the carnival! Written accounts of this early carnival date back to visitors from the 18th century who reported seeing singers, dancers in the streets, musicians playing conga music from Cuba.
Alongside the Cuban music was murga, a type of musical theatre from Uruguay, and Rondall, a medieval Spanish acoustic music, also popular in Mexico. These connections to South America have remained strong and visitors can still see these exotic types of music performed at the carnival today.