Carnivals in Fuerteventura

Carnival is one of the most popular events in Fuerteventura. It takes place between the months of February and March. Costumes are a fundamental part of the island’s carnival. The participants dress in colorful costumes, dance and celebrate these days in an effusive way before the penance of Lent.

What does Carnival mean and what is its origin? 

Researchers do not agree on the etymological origin of the word “carnival”. 

For some historians it comes from the Latin “carnelevarium”, which means “to remove the meat” or “dismiss the meat”. It refers to the custom of refraining from eating meat during the period of Lent in the Christian religion, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at Easter. 

However, other historians establish its origin in the offerings made by some Semitic peoples to the god Baal, to whom they offered animals, blood, etc. The word “Karn-a-Baal” arose from these rites, later becoming Carnival.

To this day, it is not known with certainty what were the origins of Carnival. Researchers place its beginnings in ancient Sumer and Egypt, more than 5,000 years ago. At that time, ceremonies similar to those that would take place centuries later in Classical Greece and the Roman Empire were performed. From Italy it spread throughout Europe. 

Of course, all the versions agree that it is a very old pagan festival, celebrated in winter, and related to the harvest.

The main characteristic of Carnival is joy, abundance and the fact that it was allowed to carry out all kinds of excesses, which contrasts with the subsequent period of Lent. Over time, carnival has become a holiday that is celebrated all over the world, regardless of religion. It is a good opportunity to enjoy music, dance and fun in a relaxed and happy atmosphere.

When did Carnival come to Fuerteventura? 

Carnival arrived in Fuerteventura in the 15th century, after the Franco-Norman conquest. For centuries it was celebrated in a humble way. The residents of the island dressed up and walked through the streets singing songs with sarcastic rhymes.

Singularities of the Carnival of Fuerteventura 

The Fuerteventura carnival is an event that attracts tourists from all over the world, who come to enjoy the festive atmosphere of the island. It has a wide variety of activities, including the election of the Carnival Queen, a costume contest for both people and pets, a murga contest, live music, dances, and of course, the mythical “cosos carnavaleros”. 

The “Coso Carnavalero” is a colorful and lively parade under the allegory of the year. Live music, children’s activities, and all kinds of attractions are a fundamental part of this day.


The day of the parade is one of the most anticipated by Carnival lovers. People gather to enjoy the animation and the festive atmosphere in the streets closed to traffic. The carnivals that are celebrated in Puerto del Rosario and Corralejo are some of the best known, unique, and the ones that attract the most public on the island. 

Two unique and fun events are held in the Majorera capital: the Arretrancos race and the Achipencos regatta, while in the town of Corralejo the carnival gymkhana and the Drag Queen contest are the acts that attract the most people.

The Arretrancos Race: The Arretrancos are brightly colored rolling contraptions. They are made by hand and compete against each other in a crazy race through the steepest streets of Puerto del Rosario. 

The achipencos regatta: it is another crazy race, this time by sea. Its origins date back to 1998. This regatta has become one of the hallmarks of the capital’s carnival. The achipencos cover the 1.5 kilometers that separates them from the finish line with laughter, masks and applause. The regatta goes from the commercial pier to Los Pozos beach.

 If you want to know more about the arretrancos and the achipencos, be sure to read the article that we dedicate to these carnival gadgets.

Each municipality celebrates its own carnivals and they usually last just over a week. 

In order to give the different groups and murgas of the island an opportunity to participate in the Carnivals of other municipalities, it was established, decades ago, that the carnivals of the capital were the ones that respected the specific dates of the Carnival. The dates of the other municipalities of Fuerteventura revolve around the days before and after the carnival in Puerto del Rosario. 

For example, in this year 2023 the Carnivals have been established as follows:

  • ANTIGUA: From February 9 to February 12 and from February 17 to 19 in Caleta de Fuste.
  • PUERTO DEL ROSARIO: From Thursday, February 16 to Sunday, February 26.
  • LA OLIVA: From March 2 to March 12.
  • TUINEJE: From March 2 to 12.
  • PÁJARA: From March 2 to March 18.
  • BETANCURIA: March 12. 

Fuerteventura’s carnivals are a vibrant and fun celebration that attract thousands of visitors each year. If you are on the island during carnival time, you should definitely join the party and experience one of the best carnivals in Spain.

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