Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria

We found ourselves in Las Palmas for carnival time! The Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria is world famous. Our first hint at what we might be in for was when we visited a display of carnival costumes at the local Science Museum. The display was there at the time we visited for our daughter’s 6th birthday. She loved the enormous pink and purple, sparkly butterfly costume!

Lily and Carnival costume

Carnival Month

Carnival is a serious event in Las Palmas with almost a month of activities from 10th February to 5th March in 2017. You can see the full schedule and details by visiting the official Las Palmas carnival website. Many of the events take place in Santa Catalina park which we can hear from our apartment. We don’t fair so well in crowds and with extremely loud noises. So, with my husband away for most of the month we didn’t venture out too far.

Many of the shops in the area decorated their windows in the Peace & Love theme showcasing their products. Vibrant, loud and colourful costumes and wigs were for sale in many shops. Our local department store has an ever changing display at their entrance. Maybe they sponsor the Drag Queen event? Their display was a dressing room, it was very clever.

El Cortes Ingles Drag Queen display 2017

Anyone need a carnival costume?

A local toy store put on a colourful display for the Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria.

Toy store display for Las Palmas Carnival 2017

What about a colourful, bright wig?

The local wig shop put on a very colourful display for the Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria. They also had purple, green, silver and a fabulous witchy black and white number in their other window along with the regular coloured wigs. If you didn’t want a whole wig you could buy colourful clip in hair.

Colourful wigs in window for Las Palmas Carnival

Investigating the Loud Music!

Often we are alerted to events out on the streets by hearing them from our balcony!

red carpet treatment Las Palmas Carnival

Hearing music and commentary I took my daughter with me to investigate. We saw crowds of people gathered around barriers, a red carpet, large screens and TV cameras. How exciting!

red carpet treatment Las Palmas Carnival

Las Palmas Drag Queen – we think!

Seems we had happened upon a ceremony for the Las Palmas drag Queen outside of the local department store El Cortes Ingles. Everything was in Spanish, lots of people were watching the big screens and not the stage. We waited to see who would walk down the red carpet. Our view and photography opportunities were blocked by TV cameras and other peoples cameras! Lily was given a great view when a lady at the front let her in to the barrier. Butterfly wings and all!

Las Palmas Carnival drag queen 2015

Las Palmas Drag Queen 2015

We weren’t really sure who was going to walk down the red carpet. There were TV cameras and professional photographers. It was really hard to get a photo as there were so many people putting their cameras in the way. A few of the contestants stopped and posed for a while so I managed to get this image of the drag queen winner from 2015. At least according to the sash they were wearing! They must practice for hours to walk in those heels without breaking their necks or ankles!

Las Palmas Carnival drag queen 2015

The Main Carnival Parade was a Saturday night!

Not entirely sure if the main parade would be passing close to us as the Three Kings Parade did but we got lucky again. We saw the bright yellow barriers go up so knew something was about to happen. Checking the view from our balcony we could also hear loud music. So, we went to investigate without the stroller.

Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria 2017

Accommodation for Las Palmas Carnival month?

We were lucky because we had a long term rental over carnival period. There is a lot of pressure on accommodation during the months of February and into early March for the Las Palmas carnival Gran Canaria.

Large public events with 4 children can be stressful!

Paul was away so I decided to be super brave and take the children down by myself. Remembering that the last time I did this Jack spent the whole time with his hands over his ears, Lily ran around dancing like a crazy woman, Tom sulked and George kept trying to run away! The next picture sums up my experience. Jack was bouncing to a beat (not sure it was the music one though), Lily was knocking people over with her wings, Tom refused to even tap a foot and George ran at me yelling, “It’s too loud!”. I try and take photos but spend most of the time making sure I don’t lose a child!


Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria 2017

If you look carefully at the above photo you will spot the aging drag queen in the rather large purple head dress. Thankfully, Tom protects you from the sparkly g-string number! The children were not phased at all about seeing men dressed up in such a fashion. The crowd was three people deep with adults so I persuaded the children to push through and sit in the street. I handed Jack a camera and he captured a few of the following images. Many were blurry – he was shaking so much with the noise! To get any closer they would have had to be walking down the street.

Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria 2017
Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria 2017
Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria 2017

I love this shot that Jack took. Captures one woman dressed as a cat and the blur of the dancers, costumes and lights around her. Just pure luck with the camera, no shutter speed changes, no filters, just how it came out because of all the movement. I wish we could identify her and get this image to her. I think she would love it as a memory of her carnival experience.

Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria 2017

Las Palmas Peace Love Party Bus

The party bus was in the parade. Wasn’t half as loud as it seems as it drives past our apartment every 30 minutes from around 9pm to midnight every Friday and Saturday night. To enlarge images click on them and same to play video – be warned it’s loud (video is from a Saturday night not carnival night). Having issues uploading video – sorry – very annoying as no problem uploading it to my facebook page.  We saw posts on facebook of people trying to sell their tickets for 60 euros just 90 minutes before the parade started. Dress up and get drunk dancing the night away seemed to be the order of the evening and not falling off the buses. First 30 floats or so were good but after that it was party buses – very loud, so we didn’t stay long.

Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria Peace Love bus 2017

Is the Las Palmas Carnival a family affair?

Noisy, fun and only really a family affair to start with. There were many young children being pushed in strollers in the parade with their parents all dressed up. Despite the parade continuing for a further 2 hours after we left there were not many families watching. Sadly, the evening then deteriorated with many drunk antics. People were vomiting in the flower beds and all over the kids playground Some were trying in earnest to test the weight limits of the kids swing and springy balance surfboard thing. Plus I had the misfortune to witness one woman relieve her bladder on at least two of the benches where parents sit to watch their children play 🙁 Yuck, the ugly side of partying I guess, although the first time we have had that happen right outside our building.

Generally, the revellers we witnessed were in good spirits and behaved respectfully. The month we stayed in La Isleta, now that was a different experience entirely and for another post!

There were lots of people dressed up and out to have a good time, we saw lots of fairies, Minnie Mouse and even a few astronauts. A lot of effort clearly goes in to the costumes for the parades. We thought it was all over on the Saturday night but there was another short parade on the Sunday. There was just one float with the category winners (we think?) and the Las Palmas Peace Love Party bus. There were hundreds of people dressed up following the two floats as they headed for the final fireworks and party in Santa Catalina park.

All in all our experience of the Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria was a positive one and it certainly looked like most people were having fun!

Las Palmas Carnival Gran Canaria Parade