If I told you that Tenerife has a big secret do you think you could guess what it was? What if I told you that Tenerife held the world’s second largest carnival after Rio? You probably wouldn’t believe me, would you? I mean if it was the world’s second largest carnival then surely you would’ve heard of it. Right?

Yeah that was my reaction when Thomas Cook invited me to a Tenerife Carnival Fiesta at Barrio East in Shroeditch. It sounded like great fun but I didn’t quite get the link between Tenerife and Carnival festivities.

That was until I walked into Barrio East flushed from the cold outside and stepped through the doors into a carnival fiesta of epic proprtions.

It was here I was let it on the secret that Tenerife has been hiding from us for so long.

That of it’s February carnival fiesta.

Tenerife Carnival

If my experience of the Tenerife Carnival (albeit on English soil) is anything to go by, I have a feeling Tenerife’s best kept secret won’t be a secret for much longer…

When I was growing up, Tenerife was lumped alongside Lanzarote as one of those places everyone went to. All I knew about Lanzarote was that it had something to do with Volcanoes and, to be honest, the stories of people who’d been to Tenerife didn’t do anything to convince me I should visit either. They’d come back with pink skin rabbiting on about the buffet breakfast and the hotel and it’s several pools.

What about the actual destination? What was Lanzarote itself like? They couldn’t give me answers to that.

So, to be honest, I’ve never really thought of Tenerife as a place I’d like to visit. There just didn’t seem to be a lot going on.

But a carnival? That got me interested.

If my experience of the Tenerife Carnival (albeit on English soil) is anything to go by, I have a feeling Tenerife’s best kept secret won’t be a secret for much longer…

The Tenerife carnival, or to give it its real name Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is held in February each year with visitors from all over the world. It’s even got record breaking credentials. In 1987 the Tenerife Carnival broke the record for the largest gathering of people in an outdoor plaza to attend a concert.

The Tenerife Carnival starts on a Friday and is kicked off by 1,000s of people in fancy dress dancing through the night. This continues until Wednesday evening with samba, costumes and bright colours galore.

Although the Wednesday evening is officially the end, the carnival starts up again the following weekend; known as the “weekend of the piñata” (I’ll leave you to guess why…).

pinata Tenerife Carnival

My taste of the Tenerife Carnival with Thomas Cook saw us learning how to make our own mojitos and margaritas, apply glitter and makeup to make a carnival queen proud, wear our own handmade headdress creations and, of course, learn some sexy samba moves. Fortunately, the dancing came after the cocktails – the alochol definitely helped to loosen up my limbs.

Tenerife Carnival

Our brilliant samba teachers had welcomed us all to the eveining by demonstrating their skills; a speedy dance full of twists, turns and hip wiggles. My dancing was not quite so speedy, twst, turning or wiglgy. I had fun though and in the end that’s what counts and it’s most definitely the chance to give the samba another go (whilst hidden amongst the pros) that gets me excited about visiting the Tenerife carnival one year.

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Tenerife CarnivalTenerife Carnival

Much like the carnival our final hoorah was when the piñata was brought out. Piñata weekend? Bring it on!

Tenerife Carnival Tenerife Carnival

At a time when summer is a distant memory, who wouldn’t want to jump on a plane to Tenerife for a week of partying, bright colours and dance? Especially when Thomas Cook now sell meals created by celebrity chef James Martin! They’re bound to beat a reheated, rip-off sandwich or that Boots meal deal you hastily bought before boarding.

If visiting the Rio Carnival is on your bucket list but your budget won’t quite stretch to Brazilian flights, then why not check out Thomas Cook’s deals for next February’s carnival fiesta? And, who knows maybe I’ll get to visit next year’s carnival and chance my perceptions of Tenerife for good!

[*Next years carnival is from February 3rd 2016 to February 14th]